Ed note: Sorry for dropping off after the Outdoor Retailer Show – I had to fly to Germany for business less than 18 hours after getting back from Salt Lake City and haven’t even unpacked my bags from the OR Show. I’ll be reviewing the Show and some gear here in the future, but in the meantime I thought I’d go back and cover a hike done on Christmas Day.
Scattered Bone and Jurassic Peaks make up the prominent ridge just east of Haiwee Reservoir (south of Olancha along 395). On maps, this is labeled as Haiwee Ridge but guidebooks and registers use the informal names that I’m using here.
We accessed the ridge from Cactus Flats to the east – there might be a west approach but I do not know it. The road to Cactus Flats starts off paved (from 395), then turns to graded dirt, and eventually narrow two-track with overhanging Joshua Trees (expect some pinstriping). The final ~1/2 mile to the ridge is steep and muddy (after a rain) and required 4WD. You can also park at the bottom and walk this last stretch – in fact, during wildflower season it’s probably better.
We drove to the saddle along the ridge and parked the Tundra (there is space to park and turn around a few cars at this saddle). To the south is an easy walk up Scattered Bone Peak, a nice leg stretch and warmup after bouncing along the dirt roads for a while. To the north is Jurassic Peak, a ridge of jumbled rocks that made for really fun scrambling. We hiked Scattered Bone then back to the Tundra where we snacked, then headed up Jurassic.
Scattered Bone is an easy walk up, Jurassic is a class 2 with a marginally class 3 summit block (class 3 for short legs like mine, anyways). Starting up Jurassic, we found it best to stick to the eastern side of the ridge, but after the first hump we moved to the west side. Just find the easiest line – it should never be worse that a fun class 2.
Although we hiked this on a cold and drizzly Christmas Day the views were still worth it – Haiwee Reservoir below, the snowy Sierra to the west, and the joshua tree forests to the east. It made for a great half day of desert hiking without the long drive into Death Valley.