Dog Valley

Dog Valley bellow Henness Pass Rd taken near Summit 1.
Dog Valley bellow Henness Pass Rd taken near Summit 1.

While technically California, Dog Valley, Henness Pass Road, Dog Valley Rd from Verdi, NV to California destinations such as Boca/ Stampede/ Prosser Reservoirs, Truckee, Sierraville and beyond make this one of the most popular dirt road rides from Northern Nevada. So I cannot resist riding and writing about this adventure rich area.

The Verdi Loop is undoubtedly the most popular road bike ride in the Reno area. From South West Reno it follows the Tahoe Pyramid Bikeway along historic 4th Street to Mogul, NV to a bike path connecting Mogul and Verdi, NV. The climb from Verdi starts once you cross over  the Truckee River, turn onto Bridge St, then onto Dog Valley Road. Just ahead is the State Line, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, and the end of pavement- where adventure begins.

The rocky climb begins with views of Sunflower and Verdi Peaks (forever I thought this was the famed Crystal Peak) on the left and the South Branch of Dog Creek on the right. The road smooths out a bit as you enter the trees. This entire area warrants exploring. The first closed road off to the right is short and uneventful. The next closed road takes you south along the mountain face overlooking Verdi. Climbing Henness Pass Road cannot be understated, while the grades are never extreme the rough road seems to exact its toll on travelers.

First closed road off Henness Pass Rd.
First closed road off Henness Pass Rd.
Steep hike-a-bike above Verdi.
Steep hike-a-bike above Verdi.

This road gives a great tour of the public and private lands above Verdi. There are open and closed fire roads from the last Dog Valley fire. To fulfill your curiosity requires some bush whacking and hike-a-bike. The roads wind down into Verdi and allow you to get back onto the Verdi Loop at Hill St. There was a short section of fun single track trail just above Verdi. I was hoping to find a road up to Verdi Peak, but no such luck. Much of this area is private. I had visited the riding stables, Verdi Trails West, at the end of Trelease Ln, and access to their trails would open the area above I 80 to exploring.

The next point for side adventures comes at Summit 1. The road to the left, Sunrise Creek Rd goes south across the mountain face high above Verdi, then makes a series of switch backs to join back to Henness Pass and Verdi Peak Roads at Summit Two. The road that descends to the right, Long Valley Road drops into Long and Dog Valleys bellow the very popular Crystal Peak and Crystal Peak Mine. This area is a popular camping destination and contains a network of fire roads including Dog Valley Rd. Through Long Valley to the north is a small playa, White Lake, in Cold Springs, NV.  Long Valley Rd connects to Scott Road which leads north to Scotts, CA paralleling Highway 395. Herein lies the Big Loop, dirt roads to Loyalton, CA then a section of pavement to CA highway 70 until it connects to Scott Road. This lengthy description is really my first planning steps of a tour to come.

Descending Long Valley Rd
Descending Long Valley Rd.

Summit 2 contains the intersection of Verdi and Sunrise Creek Roads. It is about 6 miles out Verdi Peak Road to Verdi Peak. Continuing along Henness Pass Rd will drop down to Stampede Reservoir. This is a great day of riding in the trees from Reno.

Raymond Eliot at Summit 2.
Raymond Eliot at Summit 2.
A great  ride for the Fargo.
A great ride for the Fargo.

8 thoughts on “Dog Valley

  1. N Molin

    I enjoyed reading about your trip. I noticed you are on a CX bike with some knobby tires. I was curious your thoughts on tire choice? I will be visiting family in the area and will probably bring my CX bike as its easier to travel with, but wasn’t sure if 25mm or even 28mm road tires would work on this road or not? Would something like a CX tire be necessary? Thanks!

    1. I have riden this road on 28’s and it was very bumpy on the return. I have mostly riden the road in comfort on mountain bikes. There are many great adventures to be had on the CX bike in our area! I am happy to point you in any direction. While the 28’s will work in many locations rock and sand pop up and beg for wider tires.

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  4. A Roja

    Hi Kurstin- This looks like a great route. Do you happen to have a recommended route from here (Dog Valley/Verdi) to Truckee? It looks like there are a lot of different choices and it’s a bit hard to tell from Google Maps, etc. which would work best. Thanks again for your amazing blog and resources!

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