OverviewClark Mountain is the highest point in a series of rocky peaks about 14 miles east of Reno, Nevada. Standing 7196’, it doesn’t seem all that impressive when compared to its western neighbors in the Sierra Nevada, including nearby Mount Rose at 10,776’. However, Clark Mountain has its own charm. A classic desert peak, it is adorned with rocky cliffs and canyons, and rises steeply from the valley floor.
There are several ways to approach Clark Mountain, but the best way to do so is from the east. This is the more beautiful side of Clark Mountain, with the best views, and is also more practical than any other routes. We found the eastern approach quite rustic. There are wild horses, lizards, and plenty of animal bones. Watch out for horse manure which is strewn throughout the area.
Views from the summit are pretty spectacular. This includes the Sierra Nevada to the west, the Pine Nuts to the south, and the Pah Rah Range and Virginia Mountains to the north.
The best time to hike up Clark Mountain is probably late fall (November, December) or late winter/early spring (February, March, early April). During summer, temperatures are far too high. Clark Mountain is best hiked when there isn’t too much snow, which varies year by year. The best advice is to avoid Clark Mountain right after a snow storm.
Getting ThereFrom Reno, Nevada take I-80 east to exit 32 (USA Parkway). From the exit, take a right and head south on USA Parkway for about 3 miles. Turn right on Sidney, and then right on Peru Drive. Along Peru Drive, you will encounter train tracks. Pass the train tracks, and continue for about ½ mile. There is a dirt road on the left. This is the primary road to access any of the hiking routes to Clark Mountain. The road can get muddy, so don’t expect to drive very far up if snow was recently on the ground. A 4WD is recommended if driving any further than ¼ mile up, although a 2WD can make it up when it isn’t muddy. The elevation here is a little over 4700’.
Route InformationThe route depends in part on where along the road you park. If you park about ¼ mile up from the paved road, you have several options. No matter what option, note that the road forks about ½ mile up from the paved road. To access Clark Mountain, make sure to take the right fork. You can leave the road shortly, and head up a rocky meadow, or continue up the road for another mile to the base of Post Canyon. Post Canyon leaves the road at about 5300’, and follows a sandy path (which is brushy for the first ½ mile or so) up towards Clark Mountain. If taking the meadow route, the brushy part of Post Canyon is avoided. The gully terminates after a little over 2 miles at a ridge at 6850’. Clark Mountain is on the right of the ridge. The route up the meadow catches Post Canyon about a mile up from the start of the canyon. This requires a 50' to 100' descent. From here, follow Post Canyon for a little over a mile to same ridge at 6850' and head right.
If starting ¼ mile from the paved road, either route is about 3 ¾ miles to reach the summit, with an elevation gain of over 2500’.
Clark Mountain can be approached from the west, but this requires driving past a landfill. By approaching this way, you drive through Lockwood, which is exit 22 off of I-80. However, while this route is probably accessible, the hike is longer, and not nearly as scenic. There are several other potential approaches, but none have any advantages over the primary route described above.