Through the Wassuck Range; Yerington to Walker Lake

After riding through the Pine Nut Mountains on Sunrise Pass Rd I heard from Murphy Mack on Facebook Messenger:

Minden > Yerrington > Minden
114.1 mi, +7458 ft. Starts in Douglas County, NV
ridewithgps.com
dec?
The message showed a fantastic loop extending my ride around the Buckskin Range and through the Singaste Range to Yerington before looping back to the south. Although we never set a date that December it did make me wonder what could be extended from Yerington. From East Walker Road I found a route through the Wassuk Range to the north end of Walker Lake. A plan was hatched, to boot I had been wanting to ride out of Yerington for some time.
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The desert provides, well, ranchers in the desert provide
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Pumpkin Hollow Ravine
My Bike
I rode my KHS 650b carbon hardtail with Nitto Dirtdrop bars. My only concern when taking this bike out on a new ride is whether the “conventional” sized tires, 27.5×2.2 will be adequate for the road surfaces. There is always a chance the roads will be too sandy or rocky for less than plus sized tires. I put conventional in parenthesis because these days there is no convention. But my hope was the light, efficient, and responsive frame would carry me over the route the quickest. It proved so. I often think about replacing the suspension fork with a rigid carbon option but I appreciate the simple flip lock-out located on the top of the X-fusion fork. For most of the ride I kept the fork locked-out but when the high speed descents got jarring I would open up the suspension for comfort and safety. While some riders may thumb their nose at gravel suspension products I recommend keeping an open mind to matching component choice with local terrain and personal comfort.
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Good morning East Walker River
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Mostly good roads
East Walker Rd – Reese River Rd
South of Yerington off SR 208 the East Walker Road turns to dirt. I started the ride just beyond the Park River Split Ranch and warmed up on quality gravel to Reese River Road. It would be worthwhile to ride the length of East Walker Road. Reese River Road was also a quality dirt track that took me through the Grey Hills ranching and mining area. I crossed broad flat Pumpkin Hollow before climbing into the Wassuck Range. At this point Reese River road merges with old State Route 2C, this road was from the ’30’s and decommissioned in the ’70’s, a great backroad!
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Great descents, focus on the road not the scenery is challenging
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First view of Walker Lake
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Walker River just before it empties into Walker Lake
Reese River Canyon
The climb into the Wassuck was moderate with some steep bits, over a saddle to a fun descent. The rock features were eye-catching and upon closer inspection there were open and closed hardrock mining tunnels abound. I wonder if prospectors just look for unusual or characteristic rock formations to start digging. There were only a few views of Walker Lake but more impressive were the views into the Wassuck Range. At the saddle you are at 6,200′ but the range above you climbs to almost 9,200′ and the range’s highest peak, Mt. Grant, climbs above 11,200′.
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Narrow cut in canyon
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I would love to see the flash floods that shape these canyons
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A section of steep hike-a-bike
The Return
I made my way to US Route 95 at the north end of Walker Lake, far out! I wanted to make a small loop north and climb an alternate jeep road on the north side of Reese River Canyon. The return was much steeper going with a bit more time spent route finding and hike-a-biking but the perspective from the prospectors’ jeep roads was worth it. There were numbered posts, I assumed were mining claims, that reminded me of marked campsites in a campground. I must get out with a geologist to get my questions answered. I made my way back on Reese River Rd.

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Reese River Road returning to East Walker Road
By the Numbers
Round trip this ride was just under 52 miles with 5,600′ of climbing. The route is dry unless you come across a stock trough with water. The roads are in good condition my mountain bike with 2.2″ wide tires was adequate. There are roads to explore in the Wassuk but this might be the only one, or one of few that go through from one side to the other. I must get down to Hawthorne to explore the southern part of this range soon.
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I chased this guy around for a while
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Rock formation with a grated mine shaft at base
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The roads ahead

 

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