McCann Creek Mountain

Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Lat/Lon: 41.35437°N / 116.31272°W
County: Elko
Activities: Trad Climbing
Elevation: 8602 ft / 2622 m


McCann Creek MountainMcCann Creek Mtn from the access road.

McCann Creek Mountain is located in the Tuscarora Mountains of remote northeastern Nevada about 45 north-northwest of Elko. With a prominence of 2,222 feet, it ranks #132 of Nevada’s 172 prominence peaks.

The naming of the peak and the creek that flows from its south slope as snowmelt traces back to 1867, when an exploration party of seven men set out for the Tuscarora area from Eureka, Nevada after a Shoshone Indian's claim of gold in the area was confirmed. Upon the party’s arrival, as the others unpacked their horses, Hamilton McCan grabbed a pan, went down to a small creek, and panned out the first gold. The creek was subsequently named after him. Although his name was spelled with only one “n”, a second “n” worked its way in at the end (probably a mapmaker’s error) in the geographical spelling. McCan, who later took to ranching, became Tuscarora’s first murder victim in 1873 when he was gunned down by Thomas Jones, a farmer, who was gathering horses that had trespassed on McCan’s property.

With the network of dirt roads throughout this area, this can be a very easy summit. The roads are in good condition, with the exception of several areas where you’ll have to exercise extra caution. Please see the Getting There section for details. McCann Creek Mountain is located on private lands, however, access is not an issue. Just keep your vehicle on the roads, close the gates after passing through, and leave no trace.

The summit affords a great vantage of the Tuscarora Mountains and also of the Independence Mountains, about 18 miles to the east. The benchmark on the summit is stamped “BURNS” – I’m not sure of the origin of it. Like many other prominence peaks in this area, a register has been placed on McCann’s summit by none other than Gordon MacLeod and Barbara Lilley of Simi Valley, California. The register, placed here in July 2004, has two entries for 2004, two for 2006 (one is John Vitz, whose name I’ve seen a lot of lately), and three for 2009 so far (including my daughter and me).
McCann Creek Mountain summit viewMcCann’s summit.
McCann Creek Mountain benchmarkBenchmark stamped “BURNS.”
McCann Creek Mountain summit viewSummit view to NE.

McCann Creek Mountain summit viewSummit view to E.
McCann Creek Mountain summit viewSummit view to W.
McCann Creek Mountain summit viewSummit view to NW.

Getting There

From NV-226 35 miles north of Elko and 39 miles south of Mountain City, turn left onto County Highway 723 and head west for about 5.6 miles. Continue past the Tuscarora intersection, where CH-723 curves left (south) and becomes NV-789. Take NV-789 south for about 0.7 miles and leave the hardpack road, turning right (west) onto the dirt road. After about 1.9 miles, you’ll come upon a ranch followed by two gates, after which the road curves right and takes you in a northerly direction along McCann Creek. The road crosses the creek in several places. When I drove through in early September, the creek was nearly dry. You’ll drive a total of about 11 miles on gravel/dirt roads (from the NV-789 turnoff) and that should put you at the northeast slope of McCann Creek Mountain. Find the gate and fenceline, and park to the side of the road. Although the dirt roads leading to McCann are in good condition, there are a couple of steeper areas where you’ll probably want to use 4WD to get better traction. You will also want high clearance to negotiate some areas where there are dips in the road. The total driving distance from the NV-226/CH-723 junction is about 16 miles.

Note: There are five gates that you’ll pass through on this route. Please ensure that you securely close these gates. Additionally, this is open range country – drive accordingly and watch for livestock.

Route: From the parking area, McCann’s summit is a short and simple quarter-mile jaunt up the northeast slope with 270 feet of elevation gain. Stay to the right of the fenceline and the rock outcroppings near the top of the slope.

Route Maps:

The road to TuscaroraNV-226/CH-723 junction.
CH-723 view to TuscaroraCH-723.
One of many gatesOne of five gates.

Tuscarora Mountains access roadAccess road view.
McCann Creek access roadSteeper section.
McCann Creek  MountainTwo-track road.

McCann Creek MountainEnd of driving route.
McCann Creek Mountain route viewRoute view.
McCann Creek Mountain summitSummit in view.

Red Tape

Route involves crossing private land and public (BLM) land. Access is not an issue at this time. Please respect the land, keep your vehicle on the road and remember to close the gates! BLM regulations apply on federal lands.


There are no developed campgrounds in the immediate area. Dispersed camping on BLM land is permitted at no cost for a maximum of 14 days at the same location. The closest campground is the USFS-managed Jack Creek Campground. To get there, drive north about 15 miles past the NV-226/CH-723 junction, turn right onto CH-732, and head east for about two miles. The campground, comprised of six primitive sites, is situated along Jack Creek at an elevation of about 6,500 feet.

Food & Lodging

Elko, 35 miles to the south, and Mountain City, 39 miles to the north from the NV-226/CH-732 junction, are the closest communities offering food, lodging, and gas. I’m not too familiar with the Mountain City area, but Elko has numerous choices. Just to the south of the NV-226/CH-723 junction is the Taylor Canyon Resort, where you can get a cold beer and a meal. Further south, at the NV-225/NV-226 junction, is the Lone Mountain Station, where you can get the same, along with billiards and shuffleboard. I don’t know the operating hours of either place.