Ride Report; Loop through Pine Grove Hills

This ride was cold. We made this loop December 4, 2017.

Toiyabe National Forest Rd 22815, Pine Grove Hills
Turn off from Sand Canyon, rugged 4×4 trail through sparse forest

After my first ride in the Pine Grove Hills I had to share this place with a friend. So I got a hold of Brandon Anderson and told him about this great location near the Sweetwater Range and its abundance of canyons to explore and the ghost mining towns and more to check out. Brandon had heard recommendations for the Sweetwater Range so was intrigued my my suggestion.

Sweetwater Mountains
The Sweetwater Mountains across Sweetwater Flat

We arrived at Sand Canyon in bright sunshine but a chilly 26 degrees. Conditions felt comfortable in the sun but the air temperature had a bite to it. We climbed Sand Canyon but then turned off onto a 4-wheel drive trail that climbed to Lobdell Summit. The climb was significant and warmed us up for the time being. The track was rutted in by erosion but bikes were a perfect vehicle in this terrain.

Road and creek took the same path
Sand to rugged path from winter’s snow melt cutting in the road
Rugged climb from Sand Cyn to Scott's Cyn
Rugged climb from Sand Cyn to Scotts Cyn
Near Lobdell Summit, Pine Grove Hills
Named saddle summits make it easy to get bearings in this terrain.

We crossed over from Scotts Canyon to Pine Grove Canyon. At this point we were at 7200′ so the temperatures were still bellow freezing. Shortly we were in the ghost town of Pine Grove. This place is well preserved and a delight to explore after a challenging ride to get there. We explored a few side roads to see if they would provide a short cut to Pine Grove Summit. From the ghost town if you back track down Pine Grove Canyon you will get to Pine Grove Summit. We continue to Pine Grove Flat then climbed to Rockland ghost town. At this point I was riding my past route in reverse. It was getting late, temperatures were dropping and we had a 2200′ descent to the car.

Pine Grove Historical Site
Great history!
Stamp mill
Well preserved Ghost Mining Town
Pine Grove buildings
Interior detail
Pine Grove site
Just your average mining neighborhood
Rock formations of Rockland, Pine Grove Hills
These rocks in varying light are fantastic
Stone Towers over Rockland, Pine Grove Hills
These stand guard over Rockland

There is a connector trail from Nye Canyon to Sand Canyon but I was not sure the quality of trail nor how long it would take to travel. So I suggested we continue down to the highway then finish our ride on the road. It was dark but the route was the only sure thing I could offer a very cold riding partner. We finished our ride, packed up, and made our way to Minden Meat and Deli for our favorite burgers and beer. The car ride discussion was focused on the cold, the risks it posed, what we carried or should have carried to be better prepared. We also talked about the potential the area has once the snow has melted this spring and the burgers we were going to eat.

Once a two story building
Landslides filled in the bottom 1/2 of this Pine Grove building

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