Mt. Cury
By Zero
2.5 Tikaboos

Mount Cury provides a great view of the Nevada Test Site. From its 5000 foot summit you can view Frenchman Flat, where the first air burst -- or above ground nuclear testing -- was done. You can also look down on the company town of Mercury, across Frenchman Flat to Control Point One (CP-1), and out into the test site to Skull Mountain and Jackass Flats.

Cury is a long, strenuous hike. When we did it in 1994, we spent over 9 hours to hike in and back out. Our water consumption was high, I recommend a minimum of one quart per person per hour in the summer, a bit less in cooler temperatures. You will need a 4x4 to get to the trail head (if you can call it a trail), not just any 4x4 but one you don't mind thrashing -- this is serious off-roading so be prepared for a flat tire or two.

You start the drive to the Cury trail head off US 95 North at mile marker NY 4.5, this is before you reach the off-ramp exit to Mercury. It's distinguishable because the main powerlines cross 95 at mile marker NY 4.5. Turn off the highway right after the bridge, and head down toward the creek bed following the dirt road, you'll come to a gate (that should not be locked, per BLM) go through the gate and leave it in the condition you found it (open or closed). Follow the powerline road until it meets the NTS border (yellow warning signs). This is where you must start off across the desert. Look to the North and you'll see a microwave telephone relay station on the hill, the trail head is right below it. We placed yellow flags to mark a good route to the base of the hill, but it is uncertain if they are still there. You must stay outside the NTS border, so watch for the yellow signs and keep the border in sight.

When you have driven as far as you can go (to the base of the hill where the radio site is) it's time to start hiking. Go up the steep ravine just to the right of the radio site, this is a tough climb but doable. When you reach the top you'll find a paved road, head down the road, as you near the bottom watch for the border signs (two telephone poles on either side of the road), turn off the road here and head North across the open desert, again being aware of the border which runs straight North. Head for the foothills on the opposite side of the valley floor.

When you've reached the foothills you'll find a road running East follow it up into the canyon, you will encounter a chain across the road, the sign says "Authorized Personnel Only," or something to that effect, step over the chain (remember you're on public land) and continue on the road. Soon you'll come to an abandoned target range, three small buildings shot to heck, and rifle brass littering the ground. As you approach the area, look up and that's Mount Cury in front of you.

Head up the dry wash to the right of the old buildings, in a short distance you'll come to the base of Cury and you can start your ascent. When you reach the summit, enjoy the view, take pictures, have lunch and then look forward to your return trip -- This hike almost killed me, Literally, because I was short on water. Trust me when I say "one quart per hour"....

I can not stress enough the need to be aware of the border, it is a crime to cross it, and you could be arrested. Always be aware of the yellow signs that mark its location.

Maps you will need:

Mercury and Niavi Wash 7-1/2 minute USGS maps and the 1:100,000 Indian Springs surface management map. (Frenchman Flat 7-1/2 is also useful.)

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