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World's Tallest Mojave Yucca
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Mojave National Preserve
Tallest Yucca

World's Tallest Yucca
Tallest yucca before it fell over (June 2006)

Overview

Unfortunately, the World's Tallest Mojave Yucca fell over during the summer of 2008, so it now holds the record of bring the World's Longest Yucca. Although the tallest is gone, it is worth the walk to see the remaining unusually tall Mojave Yucca in the area.

This easy route starts along Wild Horse Road near the Hole-in-the-Wall Visitor Center, runs north along the Barber Peak Loop Trail, drops into a broad wash, and follows the wash upstream for a total of 1 mile to the tall Mojave Yuccas. You can't miss them, but if you do, the wash runs up against cliffs and several high pour-overs just past the yuccas. For a somewhat longer hike, visit the tall yuccas as a detour from the Barber Peak Loop Trail or the Hole-in-the-Wall to Mid Hills Trail.

Link to map.

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ... this is a pretty safe hike, but watch for cactus and yuccas hiding along the route just waiting to surprise you. The route in the wash follows game trails, so be sure to watch for snakes in the bushes.

While hiking, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. Also, even though this is a short hike, be sure to bring what you need of the 10 Essentials.

Mojave Yucca (Yucca schidigera)
Tallest yucca before it fell over (June 2006)

Getting to the Trailhead

This hike is located in the Mojave National Preserve, about 2 hours south of Las Vegas.

From town, drive down to Mojave National Preserve and the Hole-in-the-Wall Visitor Center (Table 1, Site 0502), which is about 85 miles south of Las Vegas. From the Visitor Center Road, drive back out to Black Canyon Road (Site 0836), turn right and drive south for 0.25 miles to Wild Horse Road (Site 1267). Turn right onto the graded Wild Horse Road and drive west for almost 1.1 miles to the Wild Horse Trailhead parking area (Site 1268), which is on the north side of the road. Park here; this is the trailhead.

Tallest YuccaWorld's Tallest Yucca (view S)

The Hike

From the trailhead (Table 2, Waypoint 01), the trail runs northwest and up the gentle bajada heading for what appears to be a pass on the horizon. Vegetation on the flats is low-growing Mojave Desert Scrub with lots of tall Mojave Yucca, Buckhorn Cholla, and Silver Cholla. A fire burned the entire mountain across the wash to the west, which makes for an interesting comparison with this side.

The trail runs north for 0.30 miles to a trail junction (Wpt. 02) where the trail meets the Barber Peak Loop Trail at a T-intersection. For details of the hike to this point, see the Wild Horse Spur Trail.

From the trail junction, the Barber Peak Loop Trail runs north on a bench overlooking a broad sandy wash to the west. However, a few paces beyond the trail sign, there is a carsonite trail marker with a nature trail symbol sign and the number five. At this point, the Tall Yuccas Route turns left and heads over the edge of the hill following a cow trail, contouring across the hillside into the wash (Wpt. 03).

Mojave Yucca (Yucca schidigera)
Tallest yucca after it fell over (left of hiker)

In the wash, the route runs upstream following cow trails and open sandy areas. When the canyon forks, look for the tall yuccas (Wpt. 04) against the hillside on the right side of the right fork.

I have no idea why these specimens grew so tall. I've seen plenty of Mojave Yucca growing to about 15 feet tall, but these are extraordinary. Even the short yuccas here are extremely tall - they just look short in comparison to the taller specimens. The World's Tallest, ... well World's Longest, lies on the ground next to its comrades.

For hikers continuing north on the Barber Peak Loop Trail, hike up the canyon to a high pour-over (Wpt. 05), then turn uphill and hike up the steep hillside to the east until reaching the Loop Trail (Wpt. 06). Otherwise, hikers should follow their footprints in the sand back to the trailhead.

World's Tallest Yucca
Wild Horse Trailhead signs (view N)
World's Tallest Yucca
Arriving at Barber Peak Loop Trail (view N)
World's Tallest Yucca
Route departs Barber Peak Loop just past intersection (view NW)
World's Tallest Yucca
Route departs Barber Peak Loop at this sign (view NW)
World's Tallest Yucca
Route starts over edge towards wash (view NW)
World's Tallest Yucca
Route drops into wash (view NW)
World's Tallest Yucca World's Tallest Yucca
World's Tallest Yucca
Route follows cow trails (view NW)
World's Tallest Yucca
Route follows cow trails (view NW)
World's Tallest Yucca World's Tallest Yucca
World's Tallest Yucca
Route follows cow trails (view NW)
World's Tallest Yucca
Tall yuccas are in side canyon on right (view N)
World's Tallest Yucca
Approaching tall yuccas (view NE)
World's Tallest Yucca
Approaching tall yuccas (view NE)
World's Tallest Yucca
Tall yuccas (view NE)
World's Tallest Yucca
Tall yuccas (view up)
World's Tallest Yucca
Longest yucca lies on the ground
World's Tallest Yucca
Longest yucca lies on the ground
World's Tallest Yucca
Longest yucca lies on the ground
World's Tallest Yucca
Longest yucca lies on the ground
World's Tallest Yucca
Tall yuccas (view NE)
World's Tallest Yucca
Tall yuccas (view S)
World's Tallest Yucca
Neighbors of the Tall yuccas (view NE)
World's Tallest Yucca
Neighbors of the Tall yuccas (view S)
World's Tallest Yucca
Hefty trunks of the Neighbors (view SE)
World's Tallest Yucca
The neighbors are trying to keep up (view S)

Tallest Yucca. Reconnecting with Barber Loop Trail Northbound

World's Tallest Yucca
Tall yuccas (view S from atop a crag in the wash)
World's Tallest Yucca
Approaching narrows (view NE; note exit route on hillside)
World's Tallest Yucca
Hillside above narrows (view down; it isn't as bad as it looks)
World's Tallest Yucca
Hillside above narrows (view up; it isn't as bad as it looks)

World's Tallest Yucca

World's Tallest Yucca
Tallest Yucca (2006)
World's Tallest Yucca
Tallest Yucca (2006)
World's Tallest Yucca
Longest and very tall Yuccas (2013)
World's Tallest Yucca
Remaining very tall Yuccas (2013)
World's Tallest Yucca
Neighbor vying for the tallest title (view S)
World's Tallest Yucca
Neighbor vying for the tallest title (view up)

Tallest Yucca. Returning to the Barber Loop Trail Southbound

World's Tallest Yucca
Cow trail begins to angle up across hillside (view SE)
World's Tallest Yucca
Cow trail contours up across hillside (view SE)
World's Tallest Yucca
Cow trail arrives at Barber Loop Trail by Marker #5 (view SE)
more to come ...

Table 1. Highway Coordinates Based on GPS Data (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download Highway GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Site Location UTM Easting UTM Northing Latitude (N) Longitude (W) Elevation (ft) Verified
0502 Hole-in-the-Wall Visitor Center 646403 3878704 35.04221 115.39490 4,260 Yes
0836 Black Cyn Rd at Hole-Wall Rd 646860 3878671 35.04184 115.38989 4,213 Yes
1267 Black Cyn Rd at Wild Horse Rd 646945 3878305 35.03853 115.38903 4,153 Yes
1268 Wild Horse Trailhead 645313 3878094 35.03687 115.40695 4,216 Yes

Table 2. Hiking Coordinates Based on GPS Data (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download Hiking GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Wpt. Location UTM Easting UTM Northing Elevation (ft) Point-to-Point Distance (mi) Cumulative Distance (mi) Verified
01 Wild Horse Trailhead 645309 3878101 4,199 0.00 0.00 GPS
02 Barber Trail Junction 645032 3878461 4,270 0.30 0.30 GPS
03 Base of Hillside 644915 3878563 4,274 0.10 0.40 GPS
04 Tall Yuccas 644300 3879256 4,367 0.63 1.03 GPS
05 Base of Hillside - northbound 644268 3879421 4,415 . . GPS
06 Join Barber Trail - northbound 644330 3879441 4,514 . . GPS
01 Wild Horse Trailhead 645309 3878101 4,199 1.03 2.06 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
© 2014 Jim Boone; Last updated 130605

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