Prospect Peak from US 50
Second peak of the day
After finishing our hike of Buck Mountain, which went nicely, we wanted to add one more prominence peak to our collection and was aware of one near Eureka Nevada, Prospect Peak which had 2257 feet of prominence. At 9573' feet high, it had more elevation than Buck Mountain as well as more prominence. Coming in at #126 on the Nevada prominence list
, it was certainly worth a visit.
Our research found that there were communication towers on top of this one and as a result it had a road to the top. We noted that the road was on the south side of the peak and made the incorrect assumption that the road was probably snow free at this time of the year and drivable. Now driving to the top of a peak isn't the proper form of getting to the top but we felt slightly justified since it would be the second peak of the day and not the main one. As things turned out, we hit a snow bank that stopped my vehicle from doing it the easy way and we ended up hiking up the road and gaining almost a thousand feet of elevation as part of the effort.
With the top of this mountain changed to accomodate the communication structures, much of the aesthetic aspect has been lost. Great views remain but this is one peak that did indeed pay a price to benefit those who utilize the communicative aspects. Still, since it had over 2000 feet of prominence, it made it worth our visit and we did get a hike out of our effort. We did find a witness bench mark but the central benchmark had obviously been bulldozed away.
How to get there
From Eureka, head south a mile or two to the Windfall Canyon road (lat/long 39.4859,-115.9478). Turn right (west) and follow this road as it winds its
way toward a mine about ten or eleven miles away. The road is broad for the most part and heavily traveled by trucks during the week so a weekend might be the best time to visit. Continue on the Windfall Canyon road and after ten miles or so (not exact since I didn't keep a mileage record), watch for the road that branches off to the north as it heads for Prospect Peak (lat/long 39.4168,-115.9980). This road is a bit rough in places and high clearance might be desirable but since snow stopped us around the 8400 foot level, it was a walk up from that point.
After making it to the summit, we did find a witness marker for this peak that had been creatively left alone but the central benchmark was obviously bulldozed away. Ken and I walked around the summit area, looking for a register (not found) and enjoying the views. My actual recommendation to those who might seek the top of this one is to do as we did, walk the road or find a cross country route up. This would be a good conditioner if you were looking for such a thing and be sure to spend some time exploring the town of Eureka
itself, there is a lot of history to be found there.
After hiking back down to my truck, we made the 90 mile drive back to Ely, where we had started the morning from on our quest to get both Buck Mtn and Prospect Peak. We had a great mexican dinner at Margarita's just outside of
Ely before heading towards Delta Utah where we found a spot to car camp just a bit off of US 50. We were going to climb Swasey Peak the next day and thus our Nevada effort ended with success on six peaks and lots of driving.