Today’s afternoon trek would be a long one starting at the far southern entrance at Cottonwood Springs. Parts of the road & trail were closed due to flood damage but you could access the trail via the Cottonwood Campground.
The trail starts by winding through a sandy hike through the lower lying fingers and has signs along the way describing the natural features.
At the first wash there is a destroyed structure labeled as the Winona Mill Site. These buildings were used for nearby mining operations in the early 1900s.
What’s this – wildflowers? Didn’t expect to find these here but the entire park is full of surprises.
The trail turns and follows the wash bottoms for what feels like eternity. It’s slow moving here with sand & pebbles but not unpleasant.
About 1 mile in the trail climbs out from the wash & begins to gain elevation quickly.
For your workout you are rewarded with amazing panoramic views across the mountains. Even on a partial overcast day like today, you can view the shining Salton Sea in the distance.
At the peak’s base is Mastodon Mine which was operated in the 1930s. According to the signs the main vein was severed by fault / tectonic activity and could not be relocated.
Fast forward a few minutes and I was able to scramble atop Mastodon Peak. Not going to lie this had one or two moderately scary moments. If you can get past your fear of heights the views are definitely worth it.
Looking northeast you can see Eagle Mountain in the distance – elevation difference of about 2,000 feet.
I had the peak to myself for a short time and was joined by a couple having lunch. They didn’t mind me taking pictures, and since I don’t like to be in front of the lens they provided a nice human element.
Here’s a panoramic shot taken with my iPhone. Big country out here that is desolate and beautiful. (Don’t forget to click photos to view in full-screen, so much more detail to see!)
And here’s a view of Mastodon Peak from below. If you make it all the way here and are physically able be sure to make the climb.
This was only the first part of today’s hike. Stay tuned for my next post as I continue onward to the remote Lost Palms Oasis!Lat = 33.7342148 , Long = -115.7991333 -- Show at Google Maps