|Callville Ridge (western view)|
|View from Break Spot of Ejection Seat Ridge and Murphy Peak|
|Callville Bay Marina from Break Spot|
|Hiking up Ridge|
It has been many years since most of us have hiked Callville Ridge to the plane crash that happened in 1950. Web research has produced nothing else on the crash but it happened! There is sufficient parts and metal lying about the site to be proof of that. Seven hikers started from the Callville Bay Road Trailhead not far from Northshore Road mile marker 11. We crossed the road and the tortoise fence and started climbing the end of Callville Ridge (aka Callville Mesa) to the right. About halfway up, we connected with a game trail that helped us get to the top. Right away, the omnipresence of medium sized rocks became apparent. This hike could also be called Rocks, Rocks and More Rocks. Or, Lots of Rocks. Or, just Rocks Trail! (You get the drift.)
|Panorama from beginning of Ridge (Trailhead - Left)|
|Chuck taking in the View|
|Lake Mead from Callville Ridge|
|Hiking Ridge to black rocky Peak (Onyx II)|
These rocks are late Miocene Age (10 to 8 myo) and are called the volcanic rocks of Callville Mesa. This area is known as the Callville Bay Quadrangle by scientists. And, as is most of the Lake Mead NRA and surrounding areas, its geology is quite complex. The larger area of the Callville Bay Quadrangle stretching from the River Mountains east to the Bowl of Fire and Bitterspring Valley is called the Mississippian Callville Formation. After much volcanic activity, stretching of earth and slipping of faults, the last of the magma covered the land and eventually broke apart to leave the mesas covered with these black igneous rocks ... everywhere! The imagination runs wild and our heads explode! 🤯 Fascinating.
|Climbing Onyx II Peak|
|Charlie leads the way on the Game Trail|
|Posing with Plane Crash Pieces|
|Callville Bay & Marina|
We hiked from our cars along the ridge up to a black rock peak we called Onyx II Peak. (Onyx Peak is in the Spring Mountains.) From there, the route heads downhill and around to the next rise on a trail of sorts. On the next hill, we started up an old dirt road that was built in 1950 to service the plane crash. Reaching the point where the road was crossed perpendicularly by another bit of dirt road, we began seeing parts of the plane crash. (Somehow, I missed the major part of the crash site on our first trip out here in 2013.) We posed with a few of the old pieces of junk then continued up the hill to sit with the big cairn and have our break. From here, the views continued to be extraordinary. West End Wash flowed by us 600' below.
|Seven on Break at Ridge Terminus Cairn|
|Rough Terrain in Lava Rock Canyon flowing into West End Wash below Ridge|
|Onyx II Peak from Below|
|Treacherous possible Down Climb from Overlook|
The original route required hikers to return down the dirt service road and descend into the canyon that cuts the ridge into two pieces. I'll call it Lava Rock Canyon. However, this group of hikers are no strangers to exploration so we headed down the rocky hill in front of us. We approached the rim of the lower portion of Lava Rock Canyon and found the wash to be still another 200' down. The rocky slope to the bottom was steep and possibly treacherous. However, it was a good overlook with the canyon's black color and deep size. We opted to climb the rim up to the right and found a somewhat less steep slope to descend down to Lava Rock Canyon. We landed just above some really nice dry falls to scramble down. The canyon zigzagged down until we came to a fork where another canyon flowed in from the right. We turned into this canyon and found that the lava rock was interspersed with limestone.
|Overlook onto Canyon Wash Fork (Bottom)|
|Max Down Climbs the Slope to Lava Rock Canyon|
|Dealing with Interesting Dry Falls|
|Lava Rock Canyon|
This canyon also had a couple of nice dry fall scrambles up. We climbed the canyon and dodged the rocks on a continuous basis until the canyon finally began flattening out. The original route took a right into a wash that headed toward Callville Ridge to our right. At this point, we decided to parallel the ridge on our level. The choice is to climb up to the ridge and return to the cars the same way we came in the beginning, or stay down with the wash climbing over a small saddle and dropping down to the road. Since we were exploring, I chose to do the latter. I knew what the other way would entail. Climbing over the saddle at the end of the wash, we faced a long downhill and a couple of gulleys to cross. Then we had to walk the road for a quarter mile.
|Chuck on an Up & Around|
|Another Dry Fall|
|Starting up the Limestone / Lava Rock Canyon from Fork|
|A few nice Dry Falls on Ascent|
In the future, I believe the better way would be to climb to the ridge when my trail got the closest to the top. But, either way, there are no problems. In the long run, both the original route and the adventurous route we took today are fun and beautiful. The views from the ridge are, indeed, extraordinary! What a fun group! And, oh my, the rocks!
Stats: 5.3 miles; 1300' gain; 4.25 hours
|Canyon Wash flattens Out|
|Hiking above the Wash back to Trailhead|