After taking a weekend off from hiking and doing pretty much nothing I headed out to hike up to the Mt. Rose summit yesterday. I’ve wanted to do this hike since I got into Reno a little more than a month ago. Especially since the trailhead is about 30 minutes from where I’m living for the summer.
Since this trail gets so much traffic the trailhead is pretty easy to spot and has plenty of parking. I went on a Monday and there were only a few cars, but from what I hear if you go on the weekends the parking will quickly fill up. If you are coming from Reno all you have to do is take 395 south and then get onto highway 431, otherwise known as Mt. Rose Highway, and follow it until you hit the trailhead on your right. The trailhead also has bathrooms.
I think it is safe to say this trail can be broken up into three separate sections. The whole trail is very well maintained, but gets more difficult the farther up you go. If you take on the whole hike it comes out to be about 10.6 miles round trip.
The first section of the trail takes you from a somewhat exposed section filled with brush to a wooded area that eventually leads to a small waterfall. I passed a lot of families walking their dogs on this part of the path. This whole section is fairly flat and doesn’t have to many steep sections.
If you don’t feel like hiking the whole trail the waterfall would be a nice destination to hang out and eat some lunch. The trail branches off so that you can hike up to the top of the waterfall.
But the waterfall was not my final destination. The summit of Mt. Rose was my goal. Below is the view of Mt. Rose from the trail, and I had to make my way up ridge on the left to make it to the summit.
After leaving the waterfall you make your way to what I’m calling the second section of the trail. Here the trail gets a bit steeper, narrower and rockier. Still it isn’t very difficult to hike up. Some spots might call for you to slow down, but that’s about it.
You eventually make your way up to a clearing with a sign informing you that you are now entering the Mt. Rose Wilderness, and this also starts the final leg of the trail. After leaving the clearing for another section of trees the climb to the summit begins. At first, the trail just gets steeper bringing you closer to the summit, but eventually a series of steep switchbacks bring you out of the tree line.
This is what you have to hike up for the rest of the trail to the summit. As you can see everything is completely exposed here, which means there is wind and lots of it. As I made my way up to the summit the wind got stronger and stronger and was eventually powerful enough to bring me down to the ground. I can’t say for sure but I don’t think it’s like this everyday. Yesterday was pretty windy even down at the trailhead, so I expected a lot more wind at the end of the trail. I was not expecting what I got, but I wasn’t about to turn around after two and a half hours of hiking and miss views like this
I met a trail runner from Phoenix at the summit and we ended up having to bypass some of the trail because of the wind. After that hike I can say for sure that Mt. Rose won’t be the only summit I hit during my time in Reno.
Unfortunately it was a hazy day so Lake Tahoe wasn’t as crisp as it could have been, but I don’t think anyone can argue that this isn’t a great view.
I couldn’t bring myself to get closer to the edge with that wind blowing the way it was. Overall the trail managed to be everything I look for in a good hike. It was a great workout, exciting and inspiring. Plus now I can say I have hiked a mountain in more than just Skyrim.
The views on the way down weren’t half bad either. If there’s going to be one thing I miss when I come back to Illinois it’s going to be places like this.
I’m not sure where I’m heading next week, but I’m playing with a few options. I might head out to a 14 and a half mile trail northwest of Truckee, Calif., that will take me across Mt. Lola (9,143 feet) to White Rock Lake, or drive to southwest Lake Tahoe and hike up Mt. Tallac (9,735 feet).
I don’t think I mentioned this before but I’m pulling these hikes out of “Afoot and Afield: Reno-Tahoe.”