Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hiking to the top of Sugarloaf Peak, a granite peak between Reno/Sparks and Pyramid Lake

Sugarloaf Peak is an easily accessible granite peak north of Spanish Springs in Nevada. The peak is composed of Cretaceous granite capped by Miocene basalt [1]. You can see the volcanic black rock from a distance. Once on top, you will overlook Spanish Springs Valley and spot, further south, Spanish Springs Canyon and the Pah Rah area. Sugarloaf Peak is treeless and there is no shade along the trail. No challenges otherwise; early spring is a good time to get up there.

A new federal grant will be provided for trail maintenance, educational and direction signs and a trailhead kiosk [2]. Until trail enhancement work will start this summer, you are on your own.

Getting there
Going north on Pyramid Highway, turn right on Horizonview Avenue (past Calle de la Plata) and turn right again into a short cul-de-sac. From the proposed trailhead at the end of the cul-de-sac, hike or bike east for about 1.5 miles: either go east right away until you reach the fenced pit, then continue on the dirt road along the fence until you reach a red gate; or start going south and then straight east to the red gate. No bikes beyond the gate. Follow the dirt road at the westside base of the peak, with the mining pit to your left. Just before you get to the county water tank turn right and climb to the top.  

Reference and further reading
[1] J. V. Tingley, K. A. Pizarro, C. Ross, B. W. Putkey and L. J. Garside: Geologic and Natural History Tours in the Reno Area. Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, University of Nevada, Reno, 2005; page 166.
[2] Susan Voyles: Grant to open up trail to Sugorloaf. Reno-Gazette-Journal Jan. 2, 2011, pages 1D and 4D.

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