Ride Report; Along the Calico Mtns Wilderness

Getting Closer, Calico Hills
The places Soldier Meadows Rd can take you, Calico Hills
Old Razorback Mtn
Later in the day, sunburst over Old Razorback Mtn

My first experience on Soldier Meadows Rd was our Reno Bike Project staff retreat in 2015. We drove out in the dark, set up camp, but woke up in a surreal landscape. Ever since that trip I have been tracing Soldier Meadows Rd in satellite view on my computer wanting to get back there. But I must say the images I had in my head based on what I saw on the computer screen had me less than enthused to spend hours grinding out that road. But it is such a significant route in the area I had to go!

Across the Black Rock, Old Razorback Mtn
A wet playa between us and Old Razorback Mtn
Mini-playa dwarfed by Granite Range and Black Rock Desert

Raymond Eliot and I made the drive through Gerlach and north on SR 34 to the Soldier Meadows turn-off. When the pavement ends the adventure begins. Raymond and I have many adventures chronicled here, the biggest being our trip along Smoke Creek Desert. Choosing a riding partner has as much to do with compatibility on the ride as with the 4+ hours in the car and deciding which bar to stop at after the ride (although on this trip Bruno’s Country Club was the only choice).

Ray Eliot and Mormon Dan Pk
Ray Eliot and Mormon Dan Pk
Riddled with caves and pockets
It would be fun to see if these caves are home to bats leaving at dusk

Rolling out was far more eye-opening than I had imagined. We were above Hualapai Flat and Fly Ranch as well as a wet Black Rock Desert. Ahead of us were the Calico Hills behind us the Granite Range. The road was in excellent condition. Although we were on mountain bikes, gravel bikes would have been great. The vastness of the landscape is apparent as distant features advance very slowly. It was great recognizing familiar features across the playa such as the Selenite Range, Old Razorback Mountain, and Black Rock Point.

Climbing on the north edge of wilderness
Good roads, will continue this route at some date
Turn around, Calico Hills
Get off and explore by foot

We turned off the road to climb up to Jackass Flats. This was our turn-around distance for the day. Twenty-five miles in, 25 miles out, reasonable days journey. There were so many side options to explore. While we were on the edge of wilderness defined as roadless tracts there were the occasional roads that brought you into the wilderness and then at that point you could explore on foot. There were options to cross the playa to Black Rock Point and now that is on the “must-do” list. I will get back here to loop the Calico Mtns Wilderness at some point.

Designated Route
To Fly Ranch from Soldier Meadows Rd
Ray Eliot, Soldier Meadows Rd
Rider is life size, Nevada wilderness is bigger than life size

On our drive back we stopped in at our familiar watering hole, Bruno’s Country Club. After Bruno’s passing the bar had been remodeled. I am not a big fan of change but the Picon Punch was just as refreshing.

2 thoughts on “Ride Report; Along the Calico Mtns Wilderness

  1. Pingback: Ride Report; First Glimpse into the Granite Range – Bikepacking Northern Nevada

  2. Pingback: Day Trip; Through the Calico Mountains – Bikepacking Northern Nevada

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s