The Tucki Mountain summit is an enjoyable hike to the high point of the mountain block which towers over Stovepipe Wells, Mesquite Flat, and Cottonball Marsh and contains both far-reaching and obstructed views of the surrounding area. Difficulties encountered on the hike include having the proper 4WD vehicle to reach the ideal starting point at the top of the Tucki Mine Road spur and decent route-finding abilities to carry out the hike as it crosses four ridges. Google Earth maps of the hiking route (turned to the northeast for better viewing) can be found by clicking on the buttons above. GPS coordinates for the ideal parking area are 36° 27.833'N, 117° 6.247'W. GPS coordinates for the aim spot on top of the second ridge are 36° 28.565'N, 117° 6.449'W. GPS coordinates for the bottom of the third ridge are 36° 28.841'N, 117° 7.092'W. GPS coordinates for the aim spot on top of the third ridge are 36° 29.486'N, 117° 7.740'W.
The hike to the summit of Tucki Mountain was something that I had been planning for a long time. The only thing which held me back was not having the proper 4WD vehicle in order to drive all the way up to the crest of the Tucki Mine Road. From there, a left turn takes you up a short, rough spur road to the ideal starting point for the hike. Those without a 4WD vehicle are forced to start the hike near Skidoo, which doubles the total mileage of the hike from 7.5 miles to 15 miles and increases the total cumulative elevation gain from around 3,000 feet to over 4,300 feet. Some extreme adventurers have also hiked to the summit by way of Mosaic Canyon and other unnamed canyons along Hwy 190. But I was looking for the shortest and most direct route. When my May 2015 trip rolled around, I felt that Tucki Mountain was a hike which I really needed to get accomplished. Thus, I made plans with my friend Charlie from NPS to carry out the hike. It took us about an hour to drive up Tucki Mine Road from pavement to the starting point for the hike. The scenery through the canyon during the drive proved to be interesting. I always look forward to driving through places for the first time which I haven't seen before, especially when they are so close to central Death Valley. Tucki Mine Road contains several obstacles of medium difficulty which require 4WD and HC to get past, but Charlie made quick work of them with his vehicle. With temperatures hovering around 100F in Furnace Creek, we were a little bit concerned that we would be too hot during the hike. But as we got out of the vehicle, the opposite proved to be true. A cold wind was blowing through the area. During our hike up, the wind increased in force and the air temperature got colder. Fortunately, we had enough layers of clothing to stay relatively warm most of the way. One of the nice aspects of using the ideal starting point for the hike is that you can see the rounded summit of Tucki Mountain far in the distance, despite being three full ridge crossings away.
The hike started out by dropping from the 1st ridge where we parked down an old closed road which is very steep and rocky. This immediate, steep descent puts a little bit of pressure on the knees and lets you know right away that this will not be an easy hike. The old road drops into a valley which contains a junction labeled as Old Martin Crossing. Turning left at the junction leads on another old closed road to the Old Martin Cabin. The cabin was 1/2 mile out of the way, so we decided to leave it for the hike back, time permitting. Instead, we turned right and stayed on that fork of the old road for a while longer. Upon leaving the road, the climb from the valley up to the 2nd ridge gained about 650 feet in elevation. Once we were standing on the 2nd ridge, we could look back at the 1st ridge and clearly see where we had parked and beyond. Next, we had to drop down into another small valley, pass by a dry fall, and then begin the long climb up to the top of the 3rd ridge. This is the hardest part of the hike as it gains around 1,100 cumulative feet and begins with a very steep climbing portion. Once up on the 3rd ridge, there is another drop back down and then a final 350 feet to gain to reach the summit. The wash that is crossed during this part is actually the wash of the South Fork of Upper Trellis Canyon. It is not known whether there are major obstacles should a hiker choose to head down Upper Trellis Canyon from this spot. One of the highlights of our May hike up Tucki Mountain was seeing the vast amount of wildflowers along the way. You will get the chance to see some of them in our full set of pictures linked to down below. It made the terrain quite beautiful. And with so many nice views during all the climbing parts, this proved to be a really enjoyable hike. We spent close to an hour on the summit relaxing, logging in to the register, enjoying the views, and taking photographs. My favorite views included Telescope Peak, Wildrose Peak, Pinto Peak, the Cottonwoods, and the Grapevines (especially Thimble Peak). According to the summit register, we were the fifth group to reach the top in 2015. There was a bit of haze in the sky from the heat, so the views and photos were not as good as they can be during cooler months. On the way down, we descended from the 2nd ridge directly down to Old Martin Cabin and checked it out. It really doesn't seem to be in that great of shape and rodents seem to have taken it over. But it was interesting to check out. Our hike took place on May 11, 2015.
Many more photographs taken during our visit are available for viewing for this destination. To see all of them, choose one of the two options presented below. The two options are Slideshow viewing and Trip Report viewing. The Slideshow option allows for viewing larger images with an autoplay option and a full screen option (available on most browsers). This option works very well for large computer screens and tablets. The Trip Report option allows for viewing smaller pictures in a standard scroll-down format and enlarging of any panoramic photos taken during our visit. Click on the option of your choice to view all of our photos from this destination. The Slideshow format opens in a new browser window and the Trip Report format uses the same browser window for viewing.
TRIP REPORT FORMAT