August 5, 2019- While I feel fortunate to come across the list of high roads in Nevada by no means is it exhaustive or definitive. Richard Hamilton, a long time adventure buddy of mine said, “You know, there is a road to Star Peak.” Nope, I didn’t know this. I had done some riding in the Humboldt Range, I love finding routes that cross a mountain range, but at first glance I found it to be relatively road free. So now I looked a little closer.
Often roads on Google Maps are extremely faint. But there are a series of communication towers on the peaks around and including Star Peak. By starting on roads off Highway 80 and faint lines coming off the upper Humboldt Range ridgeline I pieced together a route to Star Peak.
The scenery on this route was fantastic from the first canyon! This moderate climb above an abandoned mine was along a flowing creek and had me looking up the rest of the day. The Humboldt Range climbed steeply above me. The higher I got the steeper it got and craggy canyons opened up around me.
Eventually there was a traverse along the ridgeline and a turn-off to Star Peak. This faint two track with grass up the middle boasted views in all directions. While it was a great adventurous mountain bike ride there were a couple of spots that would have me cautious in a jeep or truck. But this was the service route for the summit communications device.
Star Peak is an abrupt summit. It has a small solar powered “device” mounted on skids on top. The engineering behind such a device left to the elements makes me wonder. It was a tough hall getting up here. The roads were the steepest I have encountered. I usually abandoned riding for a hike-a-bike around 20% grade, these roads exceeded 30% grade. It was worth it. Above the tree line I saw some new-to-me flowers. In one of the lower canyons I saw a herd of domestic sheep.
On the descent the elevation temperature gradient was the most obvious. I felt like I was wrapped in a big down parka by time I reached the wash leading to the car.
By the numbers the out and back was 17 miles with 5,300’ of climbing to 9,840’. The riding was broken up by steep hike-a-bike sections which at times I think gives the legs a break on what would otherwise be a tough day. I embrace the euphemism that we are “looking for rocks” while our heads are buried in our armpits pushing our bikes up the steepest roads. The route passes several old mines, craggy canyons, with a few side roads to explore by bike or foot.
While this ride had significant hike-a-bike on both the climb and descent the views were more than enough reward. This ride in particular I would like to share with others and explore the ridge top roads to the north. I will also get back to the Humboldt Range to visit as many of its canyons as I can. The Humboldt Range is so abrupt and Star Peak is one that I have admired from a distance. I am so glad I followed up on Rich’s tip that there is a road up Star Peak.