Pah-Rah Range

Petroglyphs above Sparks, NV

I first heard about riding in this area from a dated guide book to mountain biking the Reno/ Carson City trails when I moved to Reno in 1999. It took 15 years and an interest in the section of single track called “The Zipper” to spend some time in this area. While I chased fast times on the Zipper I was intrigued by the roads offered from this BLM access point at Golden Eagle Park off Vista Blvd in Sparks.

Pah Rah's famous petroglyphs
Carsonite sign indicating petroglyphs in the area.

The rocky steep roads climbed passed rock outcroppings with the promise of petroglyphs for those with the patience and imagination to find them. Why imagination? A local archaeologist said one should imagine a young Washoe hunter following deer herds through these valleys. Where do they go to rest out of the wind with views of the chaparral valleys? They seek refuge in the rock outcroppings with the opportunity to leave behind petroglyphs along with rock chipped arrow heads and other shards of the past. I am not an expert of these claims but the ideas are always in the forefront as I pass through this landscape. What was it like for the first people here thousands of years ago, what was it like for the first American settlers hundreds of years ago? What did this landscape look like ten of thousands of years ago- under water, under ice? Again I am not an expert on these topics but they keep my imagination going.

I have not found petroglyphs in this area yet. But I keep looking. I had great views of the Reno/Sparks area. One of the features I rolled through were a pair of dry lake beds. The lake beds were uniformly peppered with lava rock.

Looking back to Mt Rose and Carson Range
Dry lake beds looking back to Mt Rose and the Carson Range.

I have rolled along a handful of the roads through here. I have ridden within a few miles of Spanish Springs Peak. Pond Peak and Virginia Peak are the other two prominent peaks of the range. My goal is to reach those peaks. The challenges are a lack of water in the area and lack of defined roads or trails.

My first ride in the area can be found here:

My most recent ride in the area can be found here:

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