CLIMB BLACK ROCK
What else can you do after you watch all those rockets fly up into the sky. One thing has been right
in front of you the whole time. Black Rock Mountain, actually called Black Rock Point, is not the
biggest mountain that surrounds the playa but with it's dark black color it stands out as a major
land mark for the whole lake bed to see.
Front Side Black Rock
After looking at it you might want to consider getting up closer, its
a lot farther away than you think. The first thing to do is to read
before traveling around the the Black Rock area. This is one of the
times that you do not want to head out directly to a point on the lake
bed without being prepared. If you do this heading for Black Rock you
may just end up stuck in the mud.
Heading directly to the point you may just run into the Quinn River sink, the area where the river
dumps into the dry lake bed and its the last place that dries out each year. Its best, when you
head north for the launch site, to stay on the roads that cross the lake bed. So from the launch
site you want to head due west, parallel to the Black Rock, until you meet up with the main road,
then turn right. Drive north. When the road branches off bear right and head just to the left of
Black Rock. As you get close to the "shore" make sure you stay on the road, since the
area around the approaching springs is full of gullies that flow out on the lake bed that can be
three to four feet deep in places. Remember that you want the road that heads just left of Black
After leaving the lake bed, and about a 1/4 mile into the shore, you
will come up to a cross road. To your left is the Black Rock hot springs
and the dirt road that crosses here is the Applegate
Larsen Emigrant trail, which is where wagon trains traveled when
heading west in the mid 1800's.
To your right is the front face of Black Rock Point, you don't even want to try to climb the front
face due to the fact it is mostly made up of rugged jagged rocks and vertical cliffs. Its better
to continue north on the dirt road and past the west side of Black Rock.
Side View Of Black Rock
The photo to the left shows a side view of the Black Rock. You can see how rugged and steep the front
face is on the right of the photo. You can also see the smoother back side of Black Rock on the left
of the photo.
To get to the back side continue to head north on the dirt road and once you past the backside of
the rock you will see a seldom used dirt road that turns off to your right. Traveling up this road/path
is an adventure in itself since the road travels up a small dirt ridge that drops steeply off on
both sides of the road. And there are short sections of this road that the only thing you see out
your windows is open sky as you climb up to a valley behind the rock. Once you get on top there
is a nice little parking area were you can safely park your car and start your hike.
The first part of the hike is a nice level area as you get to the foot of the climb. Once
you get to the area where the color changes from brown dirt to black rocks, you are actually starting
your climb up to the top. The climb itself is about 1,000 foot seemingly vertical climb of steep loose
rocks. The back slope as shown in the last photo doesn't look steep but once your on it, it will seem
vertical. There are stacks of rocks marking the path to the top and, if you take your time, you will
reach the top and be rewarded with the best view ever of the whole Black Rock playa.
From the height
of the peak you can see all the way back to Gerlach. The view from the back side of the
Point is very impressive as well. With their browns, reds, purples and more, the rocks that make up
the mountains and valleys that hide behind the Black Rock Point are truly spectacular. You can also
see the two smaller dry lakes that hide between the east and west branch of the Black Rock playa.
Parking Area On The Back Side of Black Rock
The Climb Up The Backside is Deceiving
View From The Top
Once you get to the top you will be happy that you went up the back side of the mountain because you
will now be looking down the vertical cliffs that make up the front side. Positive proof you'd never
make it! To your right you will see the small green area that makes up Black Rock hot springs.
At the top you will find an interesting surprise "built" into the peak. We'll leave that to adventuresome
explorers who make the trek.
One final item of note is the rock color on the top of Black Rock. The rocks on top of the peak are
red in color and not the black rocks that make up the rest of the mountain. If your a rock hound
you will love the climb to the top. If you're just an average person looking for an adventure you
will long remember the trip to the top.