Prospector Bob Travel Guide
Prospecting for precious history, exploring unique geology, and mining for memories, Pahrump’s own Prospector Bob brings us day hikes and other adventures in our area.
DAY TRIP OF THE MONTH : Amargosa River Waterfall, China Ranch Date Farm, California
This hike starts at the China Ranch Date Farm parking area South and East of Tecopa CA. I want to state right off that this waterfall is nothing like Niagara Falls, it’s just a tiny, tiny little waterfall that is on the Amargosa River. But water in the desert is a blessing no matter what the volume. That being said, it’s fascinating to see this little waterfall in the middle of the Mojave Desert. This hike is about a mile and a half long (one way) from the Date Farm parking area.
NOTE: The Amargosa River is a very small river as measured by its volume of water. The river is 185 miles long and starts just north of Beatty, Nevada and ends in Badwater, Death Valley CA. This is a very unique river because it doesn’t flow to the ocean. The water either evaporates on its course or sinks into the ground at Badwater. This river also flows underground for most of its journey. The name of the river is Spanish and means “Bitter Water” because the water is alkaline.
On the hike to the waterfall you will pass a number of trail junctions that lead to different hikes and one of them will take you on a little side trip to a slot canyon; it’s only a few hundred feet long but it’s still an interesting place to see and experience if you've never been in a slot canyon before. Click here for a virtual tour and further description.
There are over a dozen trails that start at the China Ranch Date farm ranging from easy to strenuous, and from a few hundred yards long to a couple miles long. Some of the other hikes in that area are “Badlands Trail,” “Ranch View Trail,” “Mesa Trail,” and “Cliffs Trail” to name just a few. I have hiked all of them numerous times in the past and they are all very interesting. I would suggest that you purchase the little hiking trails guide book that they sell at the China Ranch Gift shop for a description and map of the hikes that are in this area. October through April are the best months to visit in order to avoid the intense summer heat and those pesky black and yellow horse flies (and they do bite) that are there in the summer months but go somewhere else when it’s a little cooler. Some of the trails wander through lush riparian strips of vegetation that are excellent habitats for birding, while others take you through narrow rock canyons, winding arroyo badlands, mining and railroad ruins, as well as Paleo-Indian campsites.
NOTE: "Paleo-Indians" is a term given to the first inhabitants that entered, and subsequently inhabited the Americas during the last glacial period, roughly from 13,000 B.C. to 6000 B.C. "Riparian" - relating to or situated on the banks of a river.
While you are at the China Ranch Date Farm you should visit the Gift shop which has very unique items for sale if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind item. Also don’t forget to try their date/walnut milk shakes, for which they are famous--and they are DELICIOUS--along with their fresh-picked dates and freshly baked date muffins and date bread. When they are baking their homemade goods the aroma in that little store is something to experience.