Owyhee County High Point Trip Report

Hayden Peak

Date: October 19, 2001
Author: Zach Vickery

Hayden Peak is also the high point of the Owyhee Mountains, and is visible from Boise. Locals in Silver City refer to the peak as Cinnabar Mountain.

Existing trip reports detail the approach from SR 78 near Murphy. This report assumes that same approach. There is an alternative approach route coming in from US 95 in eastern Oregon (through Jordan Valley), but I was told this route is not advised for low clearance vehicles. The final 9 miles approaching Silver City are allegedly rough and will cause passenger cars to bottom-out repeatedly.

The road in from Silver City is well-maintained and is not a problem for any vehicle. During my visit, burn scars from an August 2001 fire were clearly visible. At about 17.5mi from SR 78, you reach New York Summit (an unmarked high point along the road). Roughly 0.5 mile past the summit, you take a hard left onto the signed "War Eagle Road". This is a narrower, windier road that is nonetheless suitable for all vehicles. It takes about three miles on this road to reach War Eagle Mountain, whose summit is capped by a large radio tower and an ever-droning diesel engine. Along the way you'll pass the Fairview Cemetery and some open mine shafts. From War Eagle Mountain, you'll continue straight past the sign marked "Silver City 5, Triangle 24". From here, following the beaten path is enough to guide you toward Hayden. My Buick LeSabre made it all the way to the saddle below Turntable Mountain's west ridge. I personally would consider this the limit for 2WD travel - continuing further is possible, but I wouldn't recommend such antics. I bottomed out rather brutally a few times approaching Turntable, which persuaded me to pull out and hike the rest of the way. Making it as far as I did put me in excellent position for an easy strike at the highpoint. I climbed up the ridge to Turntable, then down into the saddle between Turntable and Hayden, then up to the summit of Hayden.

Hayden has a radio complex on top, powered by solar panels. There are also two survey benchmarks stamped "SILVER". The views from the summit are rewarding, encompassing both the Treasure Valley and the surrounding Owyhee country. After bagging Hayden, I recommend a visit to Silver City, a well- preserved ghost town with numerous 19th century buildings, including the hyper-retro Idaho Hotel & Bar.