Juniper Ridge P500
Coyote Ridge P500
Peak 5,503ft
Peak 5,508ft
Sugarloaf Peak

Sat, Apr 23, 2016
Etymology
Coyote Ridge
Sugarloaf Peak
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPXs: 1 2 3 4 Profiles: 1 2 3 4

This is part of a continuing series of Dad getting out for a few hours in the afternoon following a morning of estrogen-fueled volleyball, this time at the Reno Convention Center. Luckily the area offers a number of fine options for hiking, taking anywhere from ten minutes strolls to all-day adventures. Today's collection was found on the north side of town, around the areas of Hungry Valley and Spanish Springs. The summits I visited were on a collection of BLM, Open Space, Indian reservation and possibly private property, spending about 4hrs on 4 hikes. The weather was quite nice following a day of unsettled weather that brought some rain to Reno and snow to the higher elevations above about 7,000ft.

Juniper Ridge/Coyote Ridge

These are the highpoints of two minor ridgelines on either side of County Rd 165, aka Matterhorn Blvd. Parking along this road is somewhat skimpy. I parked at the entrance sign to the archery range found on the east side of the road allowing me to make a loop of the two summits without moving the car. After crossing the road I started up a gated dirt road heading west that in hindsight I could have followed to the ridge above. Instead, I aimed to the right for a more direct, cross-country ascent towards Juniper Ridge through low scrub that offered no real obstacles. At the ridge I found an OHV road/traill running along the crest. Old signs suggest parts of this ridge may be private property, but it looks to get regular traffic. It took about half an hour to climb to the modest summit offering unobstructed views around the area. Lemmon and Antelope Valleys lie to the north, Freds Mtn rising in the background. To the south spreads the communities of Lemmon Valley-Golden Valley with the seasonal Swan Lake looking as full as I'd ever seen it. The slightly lower Coyote Ridge rises to the northeast.

My route between the two summits was fairly direct, starting to the northeast along the OHV trail before dropping off the ridge some 500ft to the pavement, careful to avoid passing through homestead properties that dot the west side of the road. The east side of the road has less development, but property ownership/management is equally unclear. I passed through a steel cable fence that appears designed to keep OHVs out, but not necessarily people. More cross-country through a juniper-peppered landscape led to the highpoint of Coyote Ridge where I found views similar to those on Juniper Ridge. There are OHV trails in this area as well, but none were heading in the directions I took. On my way back to the car I passed through the northern edge of the archery range. Signs indicated this might not be a good idea, but I wasn't much worried about getting skewered. Though there were lots of informal trails in the area and lots of colored flagging, I didn't see any targets are other signs that this part of the range was in active use. Without seeing another soul on the entire route (save for the occasional passing car along Matterhorn Blvd), I returned to the van by 4:30p, taking about 2hrs for the outing that covered under 4mi.

Peak 5,503ft

I drove back south to Lemmon Dr, then east on Chickadee Dr, the southern access road for Hungry Valley, a popular OHV area (coincidentally, CA has an OHV area near Gorman by the same name). Chickadee's pavement ends at a staging area for Hungry Valley just northwest of Peak 5,503ft. I parked here among a few trucks and trailers before starting up to the summit only half a mile distance. A very steep motorcycle track runs up the NW side, others climbing from other directions on the mountain. I followed a cross-country path east and parallel to the motorcycle track, climbing to a false summit before finding my way to the highpoint, using the OHV track for the last segment. It took but 20min to climb from this direction. A trio of vintage WWII planes were flying noisily in formation overhead just before I reached the highpoint, traveling south to Reno from parts unknown. There was a good view of Hungry Valley to the north, a smattering of lingering clouds dotting the sky overhead. Swan Lake and Peavine Peak dominate the view to the southwest. The stump of an old utility pole marks the highpoint, but no register on this or the other points I visited. Scattered bits of refuse can be found at the summit and elsewhere around the mountain - Wilderness this is not. On the return I followed the motorcyle track down the NW side, finding it both steep and loose, not the safest way up or down the mountain. Back down by 5:15p, it had taken less than 35min for the roundtrip. The next two summits would be even shorter.

Peak 5,508ft

This small peak lies along Hungry Ridge, separating Hungry and Spanish Spring Valleys. It is found at the south end of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony. Noting that it was only 3mi from where I'd parked at the Hungry Valley OHV staging area, I thought it would be easiest to simply drive the main OHV roads to the northeast to reach paved Eagle Canyon Rd adjacent to Peak 5,508ft. This would save me the roundabout 20mi drive it would take by sticking to the pavement. I managed it, but barely, as the dirt roads had been considerably rutted from the recent rain and subsequent mud-fest that ensued. I don't think I saved any time in driving the 3mi, barely managed in the van. A high clearance vehicle of course would have no problem. Once at Eagle Canyon Rd, I parked just outside the entrance signs to the Indian Colony and made a direct cross-country ascent up to the summit only 1/3mi away. Nice view of the Indian Colony to the northwest and the bustling community of Spanish Springs to the southeast. Roundtrip time was about 15min.

Sugarloaf

This small volcanic plug is found at the northeast end of Spanish Springs. There is a 2mi, one-way public access trail starting from the west off Paradise View Dr near Pyramid Hwy (SR445). I chose to use a much shorter approach from the NE starting at the end of Capistrano Dr. There are two homesteads on either side of a cul-de-sac found here, but one can thread between them by heading south, cross-country up a ridgeline. A barbed-wire fence runs N-S across the ridge which must be crossed at some point to reach the summit less than half a mile away. The summit offered views of an unusually green Spanish Springs Valley to the south, fashioned by an El Nino season of above-average rainfall. Roundtrip time on this one was about 25min.

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This page last updated: Sun May 8 13:07:53 2016
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