Mollie's Nipple, Hurricane, Utah (4650 ft. altitude)
Though it is highly visible landmark and well known to locals like myself (I grew up in Hurricane, Utah), no one knows who Mollie was, whose name the hill bears. And this hill is not the only one so named. There are five separate geographic landmarks in the state of Utah sharing the name Mollie's Nipple, and two with the name Molly's Nipple, according to a quick search of the U.S. Geological Survey database as embodied in my map software.
The flat, black volcanic basalt rock that forms the cap of the hill is only about 50 feet from northern rim to the southern rim, and much narrower east-to-west, sloping off on the east side. Below the cap of stone, the hill has eroded in a circular pyramidal shape.
From the summit, an astounding 360 degree panoramic vista sweeps from Pine Valley Mountain to the north, eastward across the towering red cliffs of Kolob, to the variegated sandstone mountains and cliffs of Zion National Park to the northeast. Continuing eastward, the view travels across Gooseberry mesa, then southward across Little Creek mesa. Due south, the Hurricane Cliffs continue their relentless journey toward the Colorado River.
Below the mountain to the west lie the verdant irrigated fields south of Hurricane City proper, and the shifting sands of Sand Mountain. If you look closely, you will see the westernmost part of the north dam, one of two dams under construction that will form the Sand Hollow Reservoir. Almost due west, along the line of the Virgin River, past the slanted mesa of Shinob Kibe, is Washington, Utah, and St. George, Utah. Look closely and you'll spot the large, white "D" on St. George's Black Ridge.
Swinging from west to north, the panorama takes in the Red Mountain north of Ivins, Utah. Then the terrain begins to climb, as we return to where the view began, the ever majestic Pine Valley Mountain.
Quail Creek Reservoir is visible, a varying shade of blue reflecting the sky and weather above, with the Red Cliffs at Harrisburg, Utah rising behind the lake, several large sandstone arches visible inset in the cliffs. Closer at hand, immediately below to the north and west, is the deep canyon of Frog Hollow.
Because the summit is visited by various individuals and groups throughout the year, the cache is well hidden as near the summit as is possible while hidden just far enough away from the heavily traffic areas to avoid casual discovery. Read the hints section if you want more specific information about where on Mollie's Nipple the cache is hidden.
I found several web pages with pictures of Mollie's Nipple. One is a photo of Ranger Bart (Bart Anderson) and someone else (the photo apparently taken by Madaline Anderson) standing on the flat summit of Mollie's Nipple, looking northwest with Pine Valley Mountain in the background. Check it out at:
Another has several photos of the hill or mountain taken from below, available on Professor John C. Marshall's web page at:
In 2004, I took some snapshots of my own. They're visible online on my caching web log at:
I hope you enjoy your hike, short (if you begin at the base atop the Hurricane cliffs), medium (if you hike to the base along the road as my father and I did), or long (if you start in the valley below and hike the 1,200 vertical feet, a strenuous hike I haven't done since I was a youth). Remember, you're in the desert southwest, so take plenty of water.
As always, remember the Geocacher's credo: "Cache In, Trash Out"
How To Get There
To get to the base of Mollie's Nipple from atop the Hurricane Cliffs, take Highway 59 east out of Hurricane, Utah, up the Hurricane Hill. About 3.3 miles from the base of the hill in town, turn right on a well-graded dirt road.
Continue southeastward following the well-graded dirt road as it winds through a small hidden valley where what was once Branham's Ranch sits (now it's some sort of Youth Academy), then climbs up a hill on the other side. Keep following it as it dips down and crosses Gould Wash near Gould Spring (and remember, this is a desert, so even with a name like Gould Spring, don't expect water, necessarily). Where the road crosses the wash, the bottom of the wash is an exposed flat layer gray-to-black basalt rock, so if there was shallow water flowing, there wouldn't be any deep mud to worry about.
Once you cross the wash and climb back up out of the wash, there is another intersection, marked with a B.L.M. road sign, approximately 3.3 miles from Highway 59. Take the right fork.
Keep on the main, well-graded road for a little over a third of a mile. Look for a less traveled road on your right-hand side, a road that may be behind a closed barbed wire gate. You want to turn off the main road here. And be sure to close the gate behind you.
Follow this less-traveled road west-by-northwest for about 0.8 miles down into a basin, a usually-dry flood control reservoir. The road crosses this basin right at the bottom, or one can instead cross atop the earthen dike that creates the flood-control reservoir. (The reservoir drains into the Frog hollow wash.)
Once you cross the Frog Hollow Wash reservoir, the road gets bumpier. Stay on the road as it travels southwestward for about another 1.3 miles. Then look for another road to the right, one that heads west.
This is the road that will take you down through Workman Wash, then up again to the edge of the Hurricane Cliffs to the south of Mollie's Nipple. In a few spots, it gets quite rocky, and a few of the hills it climbs can be difficult to pass. If you're in a four-wheel-drive vehicle, you'll be okay, or if you're skilled in negotiating a high-clearance two-wheel-drive vehicle through difficult spots, you'll make it. Follow this road as far as you can. The worst hill, if it stops you, is about a mile from the base of Mollie's Nipple, an easy hike if you choose to park (I've done so myself). Be sure your vehicle has good tires, and you carry a full-size spare (or two). I've had flat tires twice from driving this rocky road, and was very glad I had my spare with me each time.
If you are in good shape, and want more of a physical challenge, there is trail that begins at the base of the Hurricane Cliffs not far from the Hurricane City Municiipal Airport. The trail climbs over 1,500 feet vertically over a short distance, from the valley floor, to the top of the peak.