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Camel Back Peak

Camel Back Peak

Camel Back Peak

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Nevada, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 39.42400°N / 119.6636°W

Object Title: Camel Back Peak

County: Washoe

Activities: Hiking, Scrambling

Season: Spring, Fall

Elevation: 6305 ft / 1922 m


Page By: hgrapid

Created/Edited: Dec 5, 2009 / Nov 18, 2014

Object ID: 579952

Hits: 3041 

Page Score: 81.18%  - 13 Votes 

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Situated just east of Reno in the Virginia Range is Peak 6305.  Locals call it Camel Back Peak based on its twin summits appearing similar to camel's humps. Camel Back Peak is made up of two rocky-topped buttes with spectacular features. The highlight of the hike is a steep-walled canyon at the beginning of the primary route.

Camel Back Peak is located only one mile north of the loftier Louse Mountain 6862'. Camel Back Peak is visible from the east in parts of the Reno skyline. It stands out in particular because it has two rocky bumps rising over 200 feet from their base. Camel Back Peak is the higher of the two buttes - located southeast of the lower butte which is about 6297'.

Hiking Peak Camel Back Peak takes about 2 to 3 hours, particularly due to the long time it takes to get through the canyon. The canyon involves some easy class 3 climbing, and a lot of scrambling. There is only minor scrambling to the top of Camel Back Peak.

The best time to hike Camel Back Peak is late fall and early spring. During summer months, rattlesnakes like to make a home in the canyon and elsewhere on the mountain. Winter creates ice in the canyon. It is recommended to hike here in the early afternoon because the sun shines brightly on the rocky features of the canyon and the peak during these hours, making views far more interesting.

Looking back at Peak 6305
Looking back at Camel Back Peak

Getting There

Getting to Camel Back Peak is easy. Take 395 from Reno to exit 59 – Damonte Ranch Parkway. Once off the highway, head east towards the mountains and turn left on Steamboat Parkway. At the end of Steamboat Parkway, take a right on Rio Wrangler Drive. The canyon comes into view to the east. Take the first left before you reach Damonte Ranch High School, just to the north of the entrance to the parking lot next to the high school track. There is a circle at the end of the main pavement, but lesser pavement continues up another 2/3rds of a mile to a dirt area to park right before the road turns back south.  This is at about 4717 feet.  You need to open and close a gate to get in and out.

Route Information

The canyon route is the most straight-forward way up, but not necessarily the quickest. There is a road that approaches from the north that is an easy walk.

If taking the canyon route, get as close as you can from the road, and then start making your way towards the canyon. Stay on the left side, where there is an open meadow. The right side is far more rocky. The canyon starts at about 4900 feet and climbs up to 5570 feet in about ¾ of a mile. However, this will take most hikers at least 40-45 minutes due to the difficult terrain. There is no trail, and there is lots of rock scrambling, including a few class 3 moves. Watch for falling rock, and ice during winter.

View up the rocky canyon on Christmas Eve
Entering the canyon

At the top of the canyon head left until you get to a road. As you continue moving left (north), Camel Back Peak comes into view. Continue up the road until another road cuts to the left. Do not follow the road as it curves right towards Louse Mountain.

Continue up the road as it heads directly towards Camel Back Peak. A side road cuts off the main road directly towards the saddle between Camel Back Peak and its lower south summit. The road ends about 1/10th of a mile from the saddle. Head up to the saddle and turn right and scramble up to Camel Back Peak. From the saddle it is about 100 yards and 100 feet to the top.

Zoom shot just below the summit
Heading to the final summit block

In total, the elevation gain for this hike is approximately 1800 feet, and a little under 3 miles one-way.

To descend, head west down the ridge below the two rocky summits and look for the road on the north side of the ridge heading to the right. This will gently descend back to the parking area, without having to climb back down the canyon. It adds 1/4 mile in distance, but that is more than made up for in time saved.  Total distance this way is about 6 1/2 miles.

If hiking the road up, head north away from the canyon and follow the road when it swings back to the south near some power lines. This heads up to the side of the canyon. Continue up the road until you see a road on the right heading steeply up to the ridge to the south. This will lead to the base of the Buttes. Heading up and down this way is much faster than taking the canyon.  You can also take the first road on the right once you get up the steep part of the hike, and then scramble up briefly to the ridge top.  That probably saves you no more than 1/10th of a mile.

Red Tape

There are no issues or permits needed to hike up the canyon. Once at the top of the canyon, it is not clear what is public land and what is private. There is a house located to the south of Louse Mountain, and apparently some construction activity that may or may not be on hold. There is a “No Trespassing” sign along the road between Louse Mountain and Camel Back Peak to the south, but no fence to designate private land. Just be careful and watch for any signs that you might be on private land since it is not clearly marked.