Papoose Peeping from the North
Although not very well known, there is a viewpoint of some of the Papoose area from the far north. The lake itself can’t be seen, (it’s shielded by the Papoose Range), but much of the valley the lake lies in is quite visible. Like most Papoose viewpoints, it’s not one for hazy days. The distance to from this spot to Papoose Lake is about 44 miles.
This peep-a-rama is a peak located about 14 miles north of beautiful downtown Rachel on the east side of Highway 375, exactly 1 mile due north of Queen City Summit. (Map, 45k jpg) It’s quite hard to miss, as it’s a very pronounced flat topped peak, with a solar powered microwave repeater on it. Glenn Campbell refers to the peak as “Flat Top” in his “Viewer’s Guide” and describes hiking to it. His guide lists a dirt road at milepost NY 45.7 which provides access to the base of the peak. It’s a climb from there.
If you’ve been foolish enough to haul your ass up to the top of this peak, you might as well have a look around. Start by looking south toward Bald Mountain. As you follow the ridgeline to the right, it drops down to a low point, then rises up again. Looking through this low point (almost exactly due south), some distant mountains can be seen peeking out on the left side of the low point. These are the Papoose Mountains. You are looking right down the valley that Papoose Lake sits in. The lake itself is hidden behind the visible flank of the Papoose Mountains.
For a pretty realistic computer generated view of what this all looks like, (except for all the damn trees!) check out the work of Bill Swearington on Smitty’s UFO web site. It’s quite accurate. Be warned it’s a large file, around 190k in size.
Lots of good camping spots in the area and the potential for seeing entertaining aerial military activity in the surrounding skies during Flag exercises. Note that if you are camping near your car at the base of the peak, you won’t see Papoose. You have to be on the peak itself for that. Another charming aspect of this site is that it’s lined up with the runways at Groom, just perfect for sitting back with a brewski and watching the Aurora take off overhead.
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