Keystone Canyon to New York Peak

Baker, California

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This rigorous but rewarding day hike leads you from a well-vegetated desert canyon to a remote granite crag in the New York Mountains.The peak features far-ranging vistas and supports a small grove of white fir trees, very rare in the Mojave Desert. The scramble to New York Peak is not only a rewarding hike to vast panoramas on a mountain “island” in a desert “sea,” it is also a trip into the past, where relict plant species survive from a time when the eastern Mojave Desert enjoyed a cooler and wetter climate. Surrounded by vast lowlands, desert ranges such as the New Yorks rise high enough to capture substantial moisture from passing Pacific storms. In summer, as tropical moisture invades the region from Mexico and rises on updrafts created by the mountain masses, thunderstorms are generated. Although the climate of the Mojave Desert has become considerably drier since the last Ice Age (approximately 10,000 years ago), the moisture those ranges are able to milk from passing storms is enough to nurture plant species that have long since retreated to more favorable climes, such as the high ranges of southern California.

Keystone Canyon to New York Peak Professional Review and Guide

"This rigorous but rewarding day hike leads you from a well-vegetated desert canyon to a remote granite crag in the New York Mountains.The peak features far-ranging vistas and supports a small grove of white fir trees, very rare in the Mojave Desert. The scramble to New York Peak is not only a rewarding hike to vast panoramas on a mountain “island” in a desert “sea,” it is also a trip into the past, where relict plant species survive from a time when the eastern Mojave Desert enjoyed a cooler and wetter climate. Surrounded by vast lowlands, desert ranges such as the New Yorks rise high enough to capture substantial moisture from passing Pacific storms. In summer, as tropical moisture invades the region from Mexico and rises on updrafts created by the mountain masses, thunderstorms are generated. Although the climate of the Mojave Desert has become considerably drier since the last Ice Age (approximately 10,000 years ago), the moisture those ranges are able to milk from passing storms is enough to nurture plant species that have long since retreated to more favorable climes, such as the high ranges of southern California."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Baker
Distance: 4.5
Elevation Gain: 2,013 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: 3 hours
Season: Best mid-April through mid-December
Trailhead Elevation: 5,450 feet
Top Elevation: 7,463 feet
Local Contacts: Mojave National Preserve
Local Maps: USGS Ivanpah

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Jun 2018