Canoe Hill
Rocky Peak P300
Horse BM P300
Tibbie Peak P300
Flowery Range HP P1K

Sun, May 11, 2014
Horse BM
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 GPXs: 1 2 Profiles: 1 2


The first match of the tournament's second day was scheduled for 9:30a, so if I was going to get some hiking in before sitting around on my arse, it would have to be a quick one. A perusal of the SummitPost offerings in the area came up with Canoe Hill on the outskirts of Sparks.

Canoe Hill

This double summit is located northeast of Sparks and just south of Golden Eagle Regional Park. Despite the 2008 financial crisis, suburban sprawl marches on, enveloping tracts of desert landscape on all sides of the Reno/Sparks metropolitan area. The SummitPost directions and Google satellite views are both out of date (but still useable) as new roads and homes go up at a steady pace. I found my way to a cul-de-sac of new homes being constructed within half a mile of Canoe Hill's highpoint. The hike is a short, easy one. I followed a dirt road up to a saddle on the north side of the higher north summit where shooting range debris litters the ground. It took 15min to reach the north summit and another 7min to cross the short gap to the south summit. Though lower, the south summit is slightly more challenging and offers a better view of Reno and the Mt. Rose area behind it. To the west, one can view the onslaught of residential development as it makes its way north from Sparks to the Spanish Springs area along SR445. Hooray for progress. I dropped off the south summit heading northwest, on a cross-country line more or less directly back to the car. Back by 8a, the whole outing took just over half an hour. Now back to Reno for more volleyball...

Flowery Range

Volleyball ended earlier than expected, leaving me with 4-5hrs of sunshine in the afternoon for a more substantial hike. The Flowery and Virginia Ranges together occupy most of Storey County, southeast of Reno and framed by four major highways: I-80, US395, US50 and US95. More remote of the two, the Flowery Range lies further east with a number of named summits though its highpoint is unnamed. The range can be approached from a variety of directions, some of these described in various SummitPost entries. I chose to approach from the west via Long Valley, where public access is questionable (though much of the range is BLM land). This area north of Virginia City has a collection of rural developments, though Long Valley itself is very sparsely populated - only a few residents are found along this miles-long stretch of dirt road off SR341. I parked at a location that would allow me to do a neat loop over four of the summits along the main crest, returning mostly via little-used dirt roads from the highpoint, the last stop on this tour.

I followed a powerline road up from my parking spot along Long Valley Rd, heading south to a shallow gap north of Pt. 6,776ft where the road forks several times in a high flat area west of Rocky Peak. From here I proceeded cross-country through modest brush to the 7,082-foot summit of Rocky Peak on the main crest. As the name implies, the summit is an unusually (for the range) rocky prominence that offers some class 2-3 scrambling, the most interesting peak of the afternoon. It took about 45min to reach this first summit. I dropped off the east side to continue on the crest, now open to views off both sides. The better views were to the south and east where the range drops dramatically more than 2,000ft to US50 and the Carson Plains. The hiking is fairly easy over the entire crest. The range is lightly vegetated and presents no serious obstacles. I went over antenna-topped Pt. 6,963ft, finding an old prospector's shovel on my way to Horse BM, about 40min NE of Rocky Peak. Aside from the 1949 benchmark, there was little else to this summit.

Another 45min to the NE is the twin summits of Tibbie Peak. The highpoint is the east summit where an old survey tower still stands and a mis-labeled (TIBBLE) 1951 benchmark. A 4-foot cross made of broken rock is found just below the summit, purpose unknown. About a mile north of Tibbie I unexpectedly picked up an old road running along the crest most of the way to the range highpoint. Not shown on the topo map, this road made a fairly easy hike even easier, giving me more time to look around as I went along without having to focus so much on the ground in front of me. The road stopped just below the range highpoint. There are two competing contour areas so I visited both, but the north summit with the benchmark, spot elevation and register appears to be the higher of the two. Placed by Brian Kalet in 2008, it had only a few pages filled since then. Bob Sumner was the last to visit some 3.5yrs earlier. Looking west from the summit, I could see the road down below, about 3/4mi distance. It took only about 20min to drop down through the juniper and pine forest that occupies much of the landscape here, landing on the road. The road appears to see almost no traffic. Passing through several gates along the way, it eventually leads back out to Long Valley and my car where I arrived at 7:30p, not long before sunset. At just 4.5hrs, the outing went faster and far more smoothly than I had expected. It would leave me plenty of time to shower, drive back to Reno for dinner, and then on to the staging area for the next day's adventure...


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More of Bob's Trip Reports

For more information see these SummitPost pages: Canoe Hill - Rocky Peak - Horse BM - Tibbie Peak - Flowery Range HP

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