The best way to see just how vast and amazing Mojave National Preserve is? By bagging a peak, of course. From Teutonia Peak, you get a great perspective on the world’s largest and densest forest of Joshua trees, and the amazingly symmetrical landform known as Cima Dome. A quick but challenging 3-mile (round-trip) out-and-back on Teutonia Peak Trail gets you there.
The approach drive on Cima Road and the beginning leg of the hike puts you in the midst of that amazing forest of Joshua trees at ground level. As you head toward the rocky peak, keep your eyes open for lizards, blacktailed jackrabbits, thrashers, and red-tailed hawks.
After about a mile of gradual incline, you’ll cross a dirt road that leads to nearby silver mines in both directions. While these abandoned mines are sealed and strictly off-limits, you can explore their entrances before you begin the steep ascent to the 5,755-foot peak. You’ll navigate a series of switchbacks as you rapidly gain altitude, where Joshua trees give way to pinyon, juniper, sage, and prickly pear.
Finally, after a bit of easy bouldering to reach the true peak, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning 360-degree view. Now you can see the perfectly symmetrical shape of Cima Dome, which rose out of the ground somewhere between 180 and 80 million years ago due to shifting tectonic plates beneath the earth’s surface. Congratulate yourself—this is a perspective that landlubbers never get!
The trailhead is on the west side of Cima Rd., 12 miles south of I-15 and 1.7 miles north of Kessler Springs Ranch. The nearest camping is 22 miles southeast at Mid Hills Campground ($12). Bring your own water. Dog-friendly!