Eldorado Canyon, Pine Nut Mountains

I told Dean he would love this ride. “Where are we going?”IMAG0166

“It’s a secret. But be prepared it will be hot, 40+ miles, and about 5000 feet of climbing. We will be out all day. You will love it!”


After the first hour or so of climbing Eldorado Cyn. Dean asked me, “how did you know I was going to love this ride?”


Well, I got lucky. But really, how often does northern Nevada disappoint? This ride had all the elements of a great ride. The canyon had a variety of geology that kept my head on a swivel. Although the bottom of the canyon was seasonally dry, we had multiple water crossings higher up. Even when things dried out the next bend was wet with a spring hosting a small wetland. Other spots grew lush grass in sub-alpine meadows. The canyon hosted a variety of shade producing trees which we welcomed while climbing. I was particularly surprised by the aspen growing among the pinyon pines and junipers. The wildlife made itself known as well; horny toads, raptors, dragonflies, grasshoppers, deer, and horses. The terrain was a mix of rock, sand and well graded road. The climbing pitch was always moderate.


I used a new bit of technology on this trip. I downloaded my proposed route from Garmin Connect to my Garmin Edge Touring and we used this reference throughout. Matching our GPS position to the pre-drawn  route had its learning curve. At times we had to pick what we saw on the ground over what I thought I saw on the computer. Missing a turn, our road dead ended, we were able to get back on track following our planned route. Later in the ride we missed a turn and rather than backtracking I was able to find a route that connected back to our original route. Ah, technology. Using the Garmin to its potential is coming in baby steps, but the features I used on this trip definitely improved our success.


We descended to Churchill Canyon, between the Pine Nuts and Buckskin Range. Now I was in familiar territory, back on Como Rd. We were about halfway through our mileage and a little more over half the elevation. But the heat was on us and the terrain offered little shade. At one point we were passed by a BLM ranger in a side-by-side OHV. He said he had never seen bicycle riders out here. He also suggested there were even rockier roads to the west. Ha, this guy has my number!

Arriving at the Como post office we stopped for Dean to checkout the ruin. We still had a long and rough descent ahead. But the value of this canyon is in its historic mines. Unfortunately we were so focussed on getting back to our vehicle that we did not take the time at the mines we should have. That will have to wait for a fall/winter trip.

After my first trip to this area I said I would wait for cooler weather to return. This route was hotter, further, and with more elevation. But the reward of the looped ride up Eldorado Cyn, around Lyon Pk, and returning via Como Rd was well worth the effort. I see a handful of fall trips into the Pine Nuts from Dayton as well as the Minden and Gardnerville locations in my future.

Dean captured Eldorado Canyon, Sunrise Pass, and Old Como Rd on video.


4 thoughts on “Eldorado Canyon, Pine Nut Mountains

  1. As a road biker, I am amazed you can go 40 miles on tires that FAT! I have an old Schwinn Le Tour with 27×1 1/4 tires with fenders that I ride on wet days, and feel like I’m riding balloon tires when I take that one out for a spin.

  2. Pingback: Sullivan Canyon Rd, The Pine Nut Mountains | Bikepacking Northern Nevada

  3. Pingback: Ride Report; Brunswick Cyn, Pine Nut Mtn Range | Bikepacking Northern Nevada

  4. Pingback: Sunrise Pass Rd. through the Pine Nut Mountains | Bikepacking Northern Nevada

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