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Nevada Historical Marker

Pilot Peak

Nevada State Historical Marker
      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. Frémont on his expedition of 1845. Kit Carson, the expedition's guide, was sent ahead to locate water and found a line of springs at the peak's eastern base, now known as McKellar Springs. Carson is reputed to have guided the rest of Frémont'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 east.