Southwest Ridge (Normal Route)

Southwest Ridge (Normal Route)

Page Type: Route
Lat/Lon: 39.58500°N / 115.819°W
Route Type: Scramble
Time Required: Half a day
Difficulty: Class 2


While there are multiple options to cross-country your way to the top, the most popular route involves the south-west ridge. Depending on vehicle capability and conditions, it is possible to follow a relay-station access road to 8700' or so. The easiest way is to start from Eureka and drive east on US 50 for about 14.5 miles until you come to a junction with highway 892. You turn north up Newark Valley on 892 and drive for 7.9 miles when you come to a dirt turnoff to the left (west) just opposite a small, isolated hill sticking out into the valley. Follow this dirt road as is climbs up a canyon to the north-west to Newark Summit --- somewhere in this section is where high-clearance can be an issue. If you make it to Newark Summit (where another dirt road comes up a canyon to the west), you've traveled about 4.3 miles on a dirt road. If you proceed north, you have another 2.2 miles of this dirt track left. At this point, 4-wheel drive can be an asset as the final stretch of road is quite steep. If you actually make it to the saddle between the south-west ridge of the peak and Alpha Peak (where the radio tower is), then get out and start walking, as you may go no further north. Most readers will notice after looking at the map that pushing your 4x4 to the last bit of road is not really necessary due to the proximity of the summit! Its only 2.8 miles from the very end of the road to the summit, and so walking the last 2.2 miles of road from Newark Summit (7450') is better for you, your car, and the guys who have to check on the antenna every so often!

UPDATE: Here is another set of driving directions, posted on a County Highpoints website by Ken Jones ---
"At the north end of Eureka, there is a paved road branching off US 50 with a sign indicating "dump." Turn onto this paved road and reset your odometer. At 1.3 miles, turn right (still paved), again following landfill signs. At 1.7 miles the landfill is a right turn, but you will continue straight ahead onto a gravel road. At 3.7 miles, bear right, staying on the main road. At 4.6 miles keep left - the right fork (which is a better road) heads onto Baumann's Ranch. At 5.3 miles keep left at a minor junction. At 8.9 miles, just before the main road reaches its highest point, turn left onto a high clearance, 4WD road. At 10.7 miles from US 50 bear left at a minor fork and gate toward and past Poison Spring. Follow this road up over a saddle and down, then up, to the stock tank at 11.0 miles from US 50."

Dean says:
Dennis P. and myself did the western approach as described by Ken Jones. Simple, easy and direct. Good road (dirt) until Newberg Summit where the jeep road goes north and the road connects with the road coming from the east as described in the normal route report. Coming in from this direction saves a lot of miles.

Route Description

Assuming that the hiker starts at Newark Summit, the road is followed north for about 2.2 miles. There are a couple steep ups and downs, with the final section of road topping out on a nice flat saddle about 2 miles from the summit as the crow files. Cross-country travel is not recommended unless heavy pants or gaiters are used. The ground cover is short, but very thick. From the end of the road, look for a lightly-used trail winding along the east side of the ridge through the brush. It can be difficult to stay on, but as long as you follow the ridge up towards the summit you can't miss. There are a few rocky high-points along this traverse, and it is recommended to stay on the west side of these when possible. The final slope is a somewhat steep, gravel-infested section that is dotted with high-altitude Limber Pines. Upon topping this slope, the summit is gained by a simple 300 yard traverse along the crest.

Essential Gear

Good high-top style shoes or boots are recommended along with long pants in the summer. For winter climbs, snow would demand gaiters.

Water is critical in this part of the country no matter how short the hike is! Always bring your own, and avoid the cattle-worn springs that are near the road.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.