This day trip started in Wadsworth, NV from where the Truckee River starts its path through the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation. Our route continues to the Olinghouse ghost town and mining site up the east side of the Pah Rah Range to its second highest distinct peak, Pond Peak. From the same starting point I have ridden the Tahoe Pyramid Bikeway from Wadsworth to the Pyramid Lake shore along the Truckee River. I will have to repeat that ride for a post here.
Off the highway, NV 447, Olinghouse Road to Pond Peak Road is a straight shot, easy navigation. The views along the route are spectacular of the Virginia and Truckee Ranges. This is a climber’s route of moderate grade with the occasional steep loose rocky pitches. There are a couple of current inhabitants, hard rock mines, and road grades prior to Olinghouse that provoke the question, are we there yet? But along side a vernal creek modern fencing and signage lets you know you are entering private lands owned by a current mining company. The relic buildings and mine site of Olinghouse are impressive.
Past Olinghouse our second goal was Pond Peak, the second highest peak in the Pah Rah Range. When I first started my quest of touring Nevada’s back roads by bike, the notion of peak bagging by bike had not crossed my mind. In fact quite the opposite was a source of inspiration, I was initially intrigued by the long north-south running valleys between Nevada’s mountain ranges. But for whatever reason I have been drawn to these high points. Without a doubt it tires out my riding companions.
Dean and I were teased by “close” albeit steep short-cut routes to our destined peak. But Pond Peak Road loops 180 degrees around the mountain. The steep rocky road was punctuated with a couple of steep descents. These were always a bit demoralizing as I knew we had to make up the elevation loss in the next climb. As we made our semi-circle climb we noticed we could start to see our breath in the cold thin air. Although the dry sunny days in the Nevada winter can be very inviting the risk for exposure is still present.
We arrived at a hanging valley before the final push to the summit. The views to the west of Reno and Sparks were fantastic. Spanish Springs and Pyramid Peaks were prominent. The road gave way to a broad flat peak developed for radio towers. Below the radio towers we could see Pond Peak Rd continue to the northwest. This road connects to Wilcox Ranch Rd and eventually makes it way through Palomino Valley. A grand tour of sorts through the Pah Rah Range would include this route to Pond Peak, then to Microwave Rd via Wilcox Ranch Rd. After climbing to Virginia Peak the Exit to the northwest via Piute Ck Rd to Cougar Dr. and Rodero Rd which ends at Pyramid Highway at the Northwest point of the Pah Rah Range. This two day trip is only limited by access to water.