Clark Mountain, the highest peak toward the northern end of the Virginia Range east of Reno, appears a humped desert peak from downtown Reno. It is usually overshadowed by the Carson Range and Mount Rose to the west and Peavine Mountain to the northwest and even sometimes by Spanish Springs Peak in the Pah Rah's or the colorful hills of Hidden Valley, although there is a splendid view of Clark Mountain from UNR looking east. It might not attract much attention, but it is much more than meets the eye! Before the Sierra Nevada even rose, Clark Mountain would have dominated the landscape as a volcano in the style of the Cascades, and in fact was created by the same process of subduction. These volcanic processes took place from 35 million to 7 million years ago, when volcanism mostly stopped this far south and the Sierra processes started.*
Much of the Virginia Range, and this part of the Basin and Range in general, was created by these same volcanic processes, and its more well-known and larger southern neighbor, Mount Davidson, overlooking Virgnia City, was a stratovolcano during this period. Vegetation would have been much different at this time as well, their being evidence of the existence of redwood (or redwood ancestors) in the region.
Read an account of climbing Clark Mountain here. This climb is from McCarran Ranch rather than climbing via Lagomarsino Canyon as per the mountain's summitpost.com entry.
*Probably a massive simplification, any amplification in comments is welcome!
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