The Cherum Peak hike is a “warm-up” on my way from Las Vegas airport to the main attraction of my short stay in Arizona, the hike to Havasu Falls.
Turning off the Highway 93 just before the town of Chloride onto Big Wash Road, the view becomes increasingly scenic as the dirt road climbs up towards the Cheru, Peak trailhead in the Cerbat Mountains. While suitable for 2WD drive vehicles (the road has been described as “well-graded”), towards the end there are dozens of sharp, hair-pin turns and some pretty rough sections that require careful steering around the biggest rocks. Fortunately I was in a hire-car, and we all know that rental vehicles can go anywhere 🙂
I reach the clearly-marked trackhead (which is at 6000 feet / 1776m elevation) around 1pm, and follow the trail which dips a little at first and then ascends steadily upwards for just under 2 miles (2.8km) to the crest of the Cerbat Mountains. The very first part of the trail is through pine and juniper trees and in shade, but it soon changes to low scrub (“interior chaparral”) and there’s not much shade. Being February it’s warm but not too hot; I’d avoid walking in the middle of the day in summer.
Along the crest, the trail joins an old (disused) dirt road which is fairly flat for about half a mile (800m), before the turn-off to the trail to the summit. The last 1/3 mile (600m) is steep again with a few switch-backs. Some snow remains on the trail and the views getting better as you gain altitude.
I reach the 6,983 foot (2,128m) Cherum Peak summit after about 1:15min of walking, and admire the view. To the south-east lies Kingman and the Hualapai mountains. Directly south, and not so attractive, is Mineral Park, a large open pit copper mine that represents one of the largest copper reserves in the world [source: Wikipedia]. Red Lake and Mt Tipton is to the north east. To the west is the town of Chloride and the Sacramento Valley.
The hike back down takes me about an hour, and then it’s a relatively short drive to my accommodation at Peach Springs, before my big Havasu Falls hike the following day.
Getting to Cherum Peak
Drive 12.5 miles (20km) down Big Wash Road, which is off highway 93 about 22 miles (36km) northwest of Kingman, The trailhead is on Big Wash Road, which is an unsealed (gravel) road with some rough sections, but ok for 2WD