High Roads Project Part 4; Star Peak 9,840’ Humboldt Range

The first rays coming over the Humboldt Range, it’s going to be a hot day!

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.

Faint roads like these are not always on USGS maps nor do they show up on Google satellite view

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.

Eldorado Canyon stayed in the shade all morning
The creek was so enticing I had to get down in it
Antelope Canyon

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.

Broad switchbacks above 8,800′
Coming around this boulder this picture doesn’t do justice to the narrow passage a jeep or truck would have to navigate

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.

Looking south, the ridgeline quickly drops a thousand feet
Looking north to Rye Patch Reservoir

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.

Mining roads for Standard Mine
In the shade imaging what the temperature are like on the valley floor

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.

Summit Marker
Directional Marker

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.

Such dainty flowers in a harsh environment

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.


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