Looking over the list of highest roads of Nevada I saw White Pine County, Elko County and Mineral County for the highest 6 roads. White Pine and Elko Counties require at least a 4-5 hour drive from Reno but Mineral County is only 3 hours away. Mt Grant, 11,115′ would be an awesome ride but it lies within the Hawthorne Ammunitions Depot and would require a lot of red tape to legally ride. So that leaves Corey Peak, far off my radar but as I explored a route to ride it I got excited!
The Dangerous Roads website does not give explicit directions to climb the peak. Which is fine, I do not mind filling in the gaps to design a route. Google Maps made it seem that the pavement ends off SR 359 on Lucky Boy Pass Rd. The drive to my starting point was a familiar one, south through Mason Valley, then onto Schurz, past Walker Lake, to the south end of Hawthorne.
Lucky Boy Pass Rd is a beautiful climb. The road is well maintained and climbs quickly with efficiently designed switchbacks. I took photos at regular elevation intervals when appropriate. The climb is through pinyon-juniper forest with few side roads to explore. The forest to the south is broken by small mines which could be fun to check out. Soon I saw the actual pass ahead of me but my turn off for Corey Peak was just before.
This road was much more what you would expect from a high mountain road. It was steep, rocky, rarely traveled, and exposed. The views made every pedal stroke worth it. The road had a variety of exposures to the southwest to the southeast. There were a few steep sections of hike-a-bike but otherwise it was rideable adventure touring. This road broadly wrapped its way around the mountain to a couple of communication towers, but the final switchbacks to the summit were above me.
Now the road is really what you expect from a high mountain route. Steep switchbacks with loose rocky corners zipper your way to the summit. The harsh conditions have weathered the rocks and trees alike but they still stand to offer shelter if need be. But today had been beautiful. The earlier climb though cool in the early mountain air was still warm climbing under a relentless Nevada sun. The upper elevations stayed cool supporting fantastic late season wild flowers and abundant butterfly pollinators.
The peak was was a welcomed site to explore. I parked my bike so I could scramble around the rocky peak. Above me I could pick out Indian Peak and Mt Grant. Below I could see the Walker River Basin and the southern shoulder of the Wassuk Range. It is always hard to leave a summit but if the weather were to change it would be harder to stay.
I picked a slightly different return route betting on the canyon I could see from above was the same as one I saw lower on Lucky Boy Pass Rd. Picking my way down the switchbacks I continued on the mountain road that linked the communication towers but turned off on a steep canyon road. This made for a great alternative return and could also make for a good approach. There is water flowing in this canyon as well.
Back on Lucky Boy it was a fast descent to the car. Characteristic to these rides you can feel the temperature rising as you descend. Watch you speeds in the broad sweeping corners, the road is in such good shape you can go into them a little too hot. By the numbers the ride was about 24 miles round trip with almost 5,700′ of climbing to a 10,501′ summit. Corey Peak could be a nice excursion if one were riding over Lucky Boy Pass to the Walker River.
Driving back through Hawthorne I stopped in at the pizza joint across from the El Capitan. The pizza was ok, the beer selection was good. Even ok pizza is good after a hard effort on the bike. The El Capitan has a great casino diner for diner fare. I enjoyed a burger and fries on a previous stop in Hawthorne. Give the local food a try!
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