I laugh every time I think of the road we were on is called County Highway 293. I would not think twice if it was called a county road, to me that encompasses any path through the county with any official designation. But I think a highway needs to be some form of uniform surface, evenly paved, probably with some sort of course black top, some painted stripes and highway markers. But County Highway 293 is a river of sand running north south along the eastern base of the Petersen Mountains.
I had explored this road a short ways weeks previously but had turned back after a significant hike-a-bike once the sand brought my Fargo to a stop. I wanted to return with my fat bike and I invited Dean Magnuson, my fat bike riding buddy. Everyone needs one of each.
We started where the pavement ends, and all good adventures begin. It had just rained the week prior. Everything looked refreshed and the sandy conditions were in their best shape. Our four inch tires floated in even the deepest sand, absorbed the washboard, and swallowed the rocks of this typical Nevada terrain. The first miles were a moderate climb with the occasional steep pitch.
Unfortunately there were no obvious jeep roads into the Petersen Mtns. We rode into the mouths of a few canyons but the roads abruptly stopped. The geology contained a light grey granite in striking contrast to darker reds and brown to the east. We saw ample deer, jack rabbits, cotton tails, ground squirrels, and Dean identified a handful of birds. The dominant rabbitbrush was in bloom along with other smaller flowering plants. Northern Nevada has an extended wild flower season.
Our ride eventually looped around the neighborhood at the north end of Red Rock Road. We returned on Red Rock until there was a BLM trailhead that showed promise to loop us back to our vehicle.
Our return loop showed us several side canyons that could be explored. This land is under BLM management as a riparian corridor and critical deer habitat. During my research I noticed numerous named springs along the mountain side and they were all apparent during our ride. It always amazes me the abundance of water we have in the desert. As a potential route this area is continuous with the BLM’s Sand Hills Recreation Area leading to Bedell Flats and the Dogskin Mtns. This ride is a gem, offering solitude and remoteness even though is is surrounded by the North Valleys residential neighborhoods, Cold Springs, and US Highway 395. I would return to this area for a quick “overnighter” as well as use it as an alternative to Hungry Valley as access the dirt routes the north.