This is the Basin and Range Project blog’s 1000th post! In order to celebrate this occasion we’ve started putting together a (very long!) list of some of our favorite places around the region. While we’ve whittled it down to 10 for this post, this is not a top 10 list, nor is it ordered in any real way, it is just some places that we love among the many many places there are to love in the Basin and Range.
1. Thousand Creek Gorge, Nevada
At the northeastern edge of the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge south of Highway 140, Thousand Creek Gorge had to be the first place to mention when celebrating our 1000th post!
2. Wet Beaver Creek, Arizona
This little oasis of a camping spot was such a wonderful relief on our Arizona bike tour that we stayed an extra rest day and enjoyed lounging along the creek shade, watching schools of fish in the crystal clear water, and just plain lazing about before hitting the bikes again to turn west toward Prescott.
3. Kirch State Wildlife Management Area, Nevada
The highlight of these wetlands and reservoirs for us, as bike tourers, was Hot Creek, a warm (not really hot), crystal clear flowing stream. The areas many lakes/reservoirs are also popular with anglers and birdwatchers. We spent a day here on our Eastern Nevada bike tour and then, before heading east into the South Egan Mountains, had one last dip before getting back on our bikes.
4. Cathedral Gorge, Nevada
We stumbled across this little gem of a state park when we were moving all the way across the country. Wandering in among its formations is an ethereal experience. The formations are caused by erosion of soft bentonite clay.
5. King Lear Peak, Nevada
This desert peak is a true landmark, visible from hundreds of square miles around and with a very distinctive pyramidal silhouette. With amazing rock gardens and spring wildflowers, it was an amazing climb from the eastern side. It is possible to climb from both sides, but this is a big desert peak, so do your research before climbing!
6. Soldier Creek, Nevada
In the northern Ruby Mountains, this creek and its headwater lakes are a spectacular and less well known visit in these popular mountains.
7. Warner Mountains, California
From the crest of the Warners looking west one is standing literally on the edge of the Great Basin and the Basin and Range.
8. Cave Lake, Nevada
This state park on a reservoir has great access to the Egan Mountains, the Schell Mountains, Great Basin National Park, and much more. Although a popular destination with locals, our campsite was private and beautiful. And the camp host boomed off a cannon on one of the nights we were there.
9. Dry Diamond Creek, New Mexico
Was not dry when we arrived during our Gila Loop bicycle tour. Some passers by said that it usually was, so we basked in the water and enjoyed a beautiful afternoon watching thunderstorms to the south.
10. Reno area petroglyphs, Nevada
The area around Reno boasts great petroglyphs sites: Lagomarsino, the largest petroglyph collection in Nevada, and to the north in the Pah Rah range. It is such a wonder to look at this ancient art, to appreciate its beauty and to wonder about its meaning.
What are some of your favorite spots in the Basin and Range? Thanks so much for reading and here’s to another thousand awesome places (and blog posts!).
Last week we focused on one of our favorite desert mountains, but it’s such a favorite it warrants another post. Being so remote, we were very surprised to find a “harri mutil” (literally “stone boy” at the top. These rock cairns were built by Basque sheepherders usually to mark range boundaries but also for a variety of other reasons, including just to pass the time. I’m not sure exactly if this rock cairn was a harri mutil, but it sure seemed like it.
While the peak hike was fairly short, about 3 hours total, we have also hiked quite a bit around the base of Elephant Mountain, and once tried for the summit from the much steeper eastern slope, but turned back due to the steepness and the lateness of the day. We had also hiked out to Crowbar Spring that day.
Bald Mountain (9,549 ft.) the high point in the Pine Grove Hills and the high point of Lyon County, Nevada. It is in one of Nevada’s newest Wilderness Areas, the Wovoka Wilderness.
Hiking above the Truckee cliffs on the cliff edge of the Sierra looking at Verdi Peak with the corridor of I-80 between us.
Dogskin Mountain, despite not having the best name in my view, is a fantastic Reno area high desert hike accessed from near the end of the Winnemucca Ranch Road. Winnemucca Ranch Valley lies directly east of the little granite-topped peak and beyond the Virginia Mountains. On the day pictured here Coco and I climbed via McKissick Canyon, just beyond the ranch headquarters. You follow a road up and then a short cross country to the peak. On the way down just followed the ridge line.
We've mostly played out here in the winter. But one word of caution, in the lower canyon we once came across a bobcat trap set nearby the road. So be careful if you’re with furry friends!
There is a fantastic rock garden we visit as often as we can. Recently I’ve been going through old pictures and came across this one from one of our first visits there back in 2005.
The Fort Sage Mountains, and their highest point, Stateline Peak, have intrigued me for a while. Stateline Peak straddles the Nevada/California, and likewise the mountains form a Granite barrier between the northern Sierra front heading toward Susanville and the desert mountains spreading eastward toward Pyramid Lake and the Smoke Creek Desert. Driving north on 395 right before Doyle, California there are good views of the peak, but I climbed from the far side, starting in the Fish Springs Valley. When I made it out this fall, unfortunately, they had burned in the recent wildfire so it was a bit of a different hike, but grass was already growing back there were hints of green and yellow dotting the black. The summit had not burned over and it had snowed the night before, making it the first snow that encountered of the 2017-2018 winter. Hopefully a sign of much more to come!
Last summer we hiked Star Peak, starting from near the ghost town of Star City in the Humboldt Range. On the way down from the peak we stopped at this rushing torrent of Star Creek and soaked our hot feet for a while in the crystal clear water, an absolute pleasure on a hot day after climbing 3,000 feet to the peak!
September 30, 2017 is National Public Lands Day. To celebrate this we are going to share images of public lands from our archives every day in September.
#welovepubliclands #publiclandsproud #publiclandowner #NPLD #basinandrangelandsofseptember
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