Monday, March 16, 2015

In and out of the loop between the Carson and Pine Nut Mountain Range: Pinyon Trail

Carson Range with Jobs Peak seen from Pinyon Trail
The recently opened Pinyon Trail near Gardnerville between the Carson Range and the Pinut Nut Mountains offers grand vistas and excellent work-out opportunities for mountain bikers, horseback riders and hikers—and for dogs, too. During its opening ceremony, Pinyon Trail was described as “self-explaining.”

According to the Pinyon Trail Map, this recreational trail features elevation ranges from 5700 feet at the trailhead to 6060 feet near Rocky Point. The trail climbs gently from the Pinyon Trailhead north of Pinenut Road 2 to a Loop Junction at an elevation of 5860 feet. Continuing northbound (turning left) at this junction, you will traverse northwest-facing slopes with views of the Carson Range and Carson Valley. After about two miles from the trailhead, the northernmost point of the loop is reached. Unless you decide to return, you will head southbound on the North Ridge and East Wall sections on top of the east-facing slopes. The final third of the loop will take you to the highest elevation point and via Rocky Point back to the Loop Junction.
Pinyon Trail switches back and forth between open stands of small and mid-size shrubby pinyon pines and juniper trees. On our first hike after the open ceremony on March 14 we didn't see much grass cover and could not spot any wildflowers. The ecosystem shows only weak soil development. No water sources are available—neither for humans, nor for wildlife. Pinyon Trail is a beautiful and inspiring trail for unpretending, enduring souls and for anybody who loves to experience the open space of Nevada.

There are a few marked intersections along Pinyon Trail with narrow trails for motorized traffic, but we didn't hear or see any motorized vehicles.  

Getting there
Please, see the section Getting to the Pinyon Trailhead in my previous post. Also, the Vicinity Map inset of the Pinyon Trail Map provides a good overview of the 6.7-mile-long road connection between Hwy 395 and the Pinyon Trailhead.

Mountain biker on the non-loop section of Pinyon Trail

No comments: