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Bonanza Trail

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Distance: 15.8 miles


This is a 15 mile day hike in the Mount Charleston Wilderness area. The best way to do this hike is to get a friend to swap cars with you and hike from opposite ends of the trail.
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This 15-mile trail climbs up to and follows along the crest of the Spring Mountains, from Cold Creek to Lee Canyon, linking the Bonanza Peak Trail, Spring Mountain Divide trail and Bristlecone Trail. From the Bonanza Peak trail head at Camp Bonanza, the trail climbs west up many switchbacks (~2600’ elevation gain in 3.5 miles) to the crest (~10,200’), follows the ridge, drops down to Wood Spring passing west of McFarland Peak, and then climbs up to the crest again before dropping eastward to the junction with the Bristlecone trail. Continue on the Bristlecone trail to the trailhead at the ski area. Much of the trail is forested with ponderosa pine, white fir, and aspen at lower elevations, and bristlecone pine at higher elevations. From the crest, there are spectacular views north and south along the Spring Mountains crest, and views east to the Sheep Mountains and west toward the Sierra Nevadas and Death Valley. Water may be available at Wood Spring (close to the halfway point) during the spring and early summer, (there was a small amount of water flowing in October 2008). Plan to shuttle between the trailheads (40 miles or so by road) or hike in two groups from each end.  Meet at the turnoff to Lee Canyon on US95 and switch cars. The hike from Lee Canyon is a bit easier as the total elevation gain is about 1100’ less. This is a great day hike for the fit hiker, or an easy overnight.  Side trips to McFarland Peak (difficult) or Bonanza Peak (easy) would be great on an overnight. There are a few camp sites in the vicinity of Wood Spring, or (more exposed) along the ridge on either side of the spring.  Be aware of the weather as afternoon thunderstorms can brew up quickly and the ridges are pretty exposed.

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