This was an impromptu outing with a short couple of hours to kill and no real preparation. I saw fire roads climbing the Pah Rah Range on the eastern edge of town above the highway and figured they would be worth a quick day tour. The Pah Rah Range is a C-shaped mountain range with Interstate 80 and the Truckee River along its southern limit and Pyramid Lake and Pyramid Highway (NV 445) to the north. The range is about 20 miles long, seems like a perfect day tour.
The first quarter mile was pretty disappointing as it served as a local dumping ground and shooting gallery. Unfortunately I think this is an all too common impression people will have when venturing out from these urban access points. Patience and perseverance is well rewarded if you can push past the first half mile or so. Very quickly the scenery and landscape becomes pristine rugged high desert. This area is just to the south of Horseman’s Park which is a more popular recreation area.
Since I didn’t have a planned route or destination in mind I was prepared to encounter a too-steep fire road or a fire road that ends abruptly. But with each turn there was more road that took me away from the sounds of the Interstate and the city of Sparks. I kept thinking what is beyond this turn, where dose this road lead, can I ride to that summit? Without self control these little discoveries could have led me through the Pah Rah to Pyramid Lake. With further map research I am pretty sure there is not a single route through the Pah Rah without significant cross country, read sagebrush-whacking, links between roads and trails.
I turned around when the road appeared to end past some radio towers. When reviewing the satellite maps of the route it looks like a short hike-a-bike would take me to roads around a mine above Lockwood. This ride was great for giving me views and routes into the Pah Rah Range as well as a views of the Virginia Range and of my home towns of Reno/Sparks. This ride has also inspired further rides to explore the back roads and prominent peaks of the Pah Rah.