OverviewFairview peak is the highpoint of a compact range of mountains south of US 50 in central Churchill Co., NV. What the peak lacks in quality hiking (it's a drive up for 4WD vehicles), it makes up for in summit views. The peak, a Nevada 2,000' prominence summit, offers unobstructed views for miles in all directions.
This area of Nevada (and indeed most areas of Nevada) exhibits the basin-and-range topography typical of the great basin as a whole. Due to the rain shadow produced by ranges further west (including the Sierra Nevada), the region is very dry, receiving less than 10" precipitation per year. You can expect the usual types of vegetation you might find in such climates - sagebrush and grass cover most of the peak, with a few hardy pines managing to survive near the summit.
Although the peak has a road leading to the summit (ostensibly to service the radio equipment installed there), if you don't have 4WD or want to make something more interesting of the climb, you could easily start from the base of the peak in nearly any direction and make it a class 2 outing.
At the summit, the views to the north include Mt. Augusta and slightly more east, Desatoya Twins. To the northwest, one can see nearly to Fallon (~25-30 miles distant), but this view is blocked by the Stillwater range and its highpoints Job Peak and Mt. Lincoln. Views in other directions include range upon range of lesser summits, stretching into the horizon.
Perhaps the most famous event that occurred near Fairview peak was a magnitude 7.1 earthquake (quickly followed by a large magnitude 6.8 aftershock) on December 16th, 1954. The earthquake, covered by the USGS here, was strong enough to be felt across five western states, but did little damage due to the sparse population in the area. There are interpretive signs placed at various places along the approach road to the summit that direct the visitor to views of the fault scarp and provide education on how earthquake faults work.
Getting ThereDrive east of Fallon, NV on US 50 to Drumm Summit (el. 4,600'). Just east of Drumm Summit, there is a well marked sign for "Fairview peak earthquake faults". Turn right (south) and follow this road across the desert. The road crosses a wash and then climbs to a small plateau. Look for the access road coming down from the summit (you can't miss it), and drive to the base of the peak.
2WD passenger cars should easily be able to make it to the point where the access road starts to steeply climb the east slope of the mountain, but 4WD will certainly be required past that as the road is incredibly steep in spots. The road itself is maintained (as of May, 2010) and in great shape, but it is sandy and steep in some sections. Drive as far as you can, and hike the rest of the way along the road.
Another option would be to park at Drumm Summit and hike the ridge all the way south to the peak. I did not try this option, but the topographic map indicates a RT distance of about 10 miles and 4,000'-5,000' gain. The topography of this approach is not likely to exceed class 2.
Red Tape & CampingThe area surrounding the peak is BLM land, like most areas in Nevada. No permits are required, and there were no gates on the road leading up to the peak.
The Battle Mountain BLM office is responsible for managing this area. For questions on restrictions, I'd recommend giving their office a call.
As with most/all BLM land, camping is available just about anywhere you want. Water is scarce in the area, so keep that in mind.
Nearby Fallon (25 miles west on US 50) is the closest town of any size. Fallon has just about anything that you'd need from a camping/lodging and supply perspective.