“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near West Wendover in Elko County, Nevada — The American Mountains (Southwest)

Pilot Peak

Pilot Peak Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, July 5, 2013
1. Pilot Peak Marker
Inscription.  The high, symmetrically shaped mountain seen rising to the north is Pilot Peak. In the period 1845-1850, it was a famous landmark and symbol of hope and relief to the Reed-Donner party and all other wagon train pioneers who traveled the 70-odd deadly, thirst and heat-ridden miles of the Great Salt Lake Desert. Across this desert, between the Cedar Range on the east and Pilot Peak on the west, stretched perhaps the worst section of the infamous Hastings Cutoff of the California Emigrant Trail.

The peak was named by John C. Fremont on his expedition of 1845. Kit Carson, the expedition's guide, sent ahead to locate water, found a line of springs at its eastern base, now known as McKellar Springs. Carson is reputed to have guided the rest of Fremont's expedition across the salt desert by sending up smoke signals from the peak; hence, Fremont's name for it.

During the years 1847-1850, relief parties sallied forth periodically with water from the Pilot Peak springs to rescue and succor the thirst-crazed emigrants and their livestock struggling across the terrible salt desert to the eastward.
Erected by
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Nevada State Park System and Northeastern Nevada Historical Society. (Marker Number 46.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ExplorationRoads & Vehicles. A significant historical year for this entry is 1845.
Location. 40° 50.636′ N, 114° 12.448′ W. Marker is near West Wendover, Nevada, in Elko County. Marker is on Pilot Road north of Interstate 80, on the right when traveling north. Pilot Road is accessed from Exit 398 of I-80. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: West Wendover NV 89883, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Tough Traveling in the Desert (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Can Anything Survive Here? (about 500 feet away); Where Did the Lake Go? (about 500 feet away); Transcontinental Telephone Line (approx. 10 miles away); Ancient Lake Bonneville (approx. 10 miles away); Historic Wendover Field (approx. 10 miles away); Western Pacific Railroad (approx. 10 miles away); Lincoln Highway (approx. 10 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in West Wendover.
Also see . . .  New Amended Text for Marker. The Nevada State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) recently updated the text of the roughly 260 state historical markers in Nevada. The Nevada SHPO placed the amended text of each individual
Pilot Peak image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, July 5, 2013
2. Pilot Peak
marker on its website and will change the actual markers in the field as funding allows. Minor changes have been made to the marker for grammar and readability. In the last paragraph the time reference for relief parties has been changed to 1849-1850. The link will take you to the Nevada SHPO page for the marker with the amended text. (Submitted on November 12, 2013, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on August 11, 2013, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 658 times since then and 77 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 11, 2013, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.

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Jun. 21, 2024