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Mount Rose (Nevada)

 
Mount Rose (Nevada)

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Nevada, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 39.34318°N / 119.91622°W

Object Title: Mount Rose (Nevada)

County: Washoe

Activities: Hiking, Scrambling

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 10776 ft / 3285 m

 

Page By: hgrapid

Created/Edited: Nov 14, 2001 / Aug 11, 2012

Object ID: 150662

Hits: 88807 

Page Score: 89.57%  - 31 Votes 

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Overview

Zoom shot of Mount Rose from the Slide Mountain Trail
Mount Rose from the Slide Mountain trail


Mount Rose is a gem in the northern Sierra Nevada Range. It rises only a few miles northeast of Lake Tahoe. It is the 2nd highest mountain in the Lake Tahoe Basin and the highest Tahoe Basin peak in Nevada. Standing over 6300 feet above downtown Reno, the mountain looks daunting, however well-maintained trails starting high up a mountain pass road, cut most of the difficulty for the armchair hiker.

 
Mount Rose from the Virginia Range
Mount Rose at sunset with over 6,300 feet of relief from the valley


Because of its proximity to Carson City, Reno, and Lake Tahoe, the Mount Rose area offers many ski destinations. Mount Rose itself does not have a ski run, although skiers do occasionally ski from the actual summit.

Mount Rose is the result of volcanic activity that began 30 million years ago. It marks the transition zone between the Sierra Nevada and the Great Basin. In fact, recent hydrothermal activity in the area has been measured, and power is generated from underground geothermal reservoirs only 10 miles east of the mountain.

Although it resides just 20 miles from the mountains on the west side of Lake Tahoe, it receives about half the moisture. For this reason, the snowfall on Mount Rose is generally less than you’ll find in neighboring peaks to the West. The summit of Mount Rose is above tree line, but only by a couple hundred feet. Views from the summit are expansive. There are great views to the Sierras stretching as far as Northern Yosemite on a clear day. Views to the north include Lassen Peak on a clear day. Views into Nevada are also expansive. There are so many peaks in view on a clear day, it could make your brain explode if you try to figure all of them out!

Of course, the most prized view from the summit is probably Lake Tahoe.
January 2004: view of Lake...
Winter view of Lake Tahoe

Relay Peak from the volcanic slopes of Mount Rose
Summer view of Lake Tahoe from the final stretch to the summit

Getting There and Route Information

The main trailhead for Mount Rose is at the aptly named “Mount Rose Summit”. This is not the actual summit, but rather the top of a mountain pass along SR 431 which links Reno, Nevada with Lake Tahoe and is a non-highway pass route to California. From Reno take 395 to the Mount Rose Highway (431). Take 431 as it winds up the mountains. The Mount Rose Highway runs for about 20 miles between Reno and Incline Village, and the Mount Rose Summit is about 25 minutes up the road from 395. The Mount Rose Summit Parking Area rests at an elevation of 8,911'. The trailhead has space for nearly 50 cars. There are bathrooms, brochures, and trail maps.

From the Mount Rose Summit trailhead, there are two main approach routes, which follow the same trail for the last 2.3 miles. The last 2.3 miles is where the last 1700 feet of elevation is gained.


1) New Mount Rose Trail
One-way distance to summit: 5.3 miles
Elevation Gain: ~2000 feet
Difficulty: Walk up


From the parking lot, head behind the bathrooms to the start of the trail. Everything is well marked, and maps of the route are provided.
Once you head up the start of the trail, a sign points the way to the new Mount Rose Trail. You head up some stairs to the start of the trail. The first 2.5 miles are relatively level, with only minor ups and downs. The trail heads straight towards Mount Rose at the base below the north side of Tamarack Peak. After about 2 1/2 miles you pass an impressive waterfall. Within 10 minutes you reach the start of the steep hike up the mountain. You climb 700 feet in 1 1/4 or so miles along the west side of mountain until you reach a sign pointing to the final stretch. This final stretch is 1.2 miles. You start by heading up the west ridge to the saddle between Mount Rose and Church Peak. Then the trail takes you the remaining distance to the summit.

Mount Rose
Waterfall along the new Mount Rose Trail


2) Old Mount Rose Trail
One-way distance to summit: 6 miles
Elevation Gain: ~2280 feet
Difficulty: Walk up


Instead of heading up the stairs to the new trail, the Old Mount Rose Trail heads directly west from the trailhead to the Relay Peak Service Road. The trail hits the road in half a mile. Follow the road for a little more than 2 miles to a sign for the Mount Rose trail. From here, a trail heads north away from the service road and descends about 300 feet as it makes its way towards Mount Rose. About ¾ miles from the road, the trail joins up with the New Mount Rose Trail.

Frog Pond
View of Frog Pond along the Relay Peak Service Road on the way to the Old Mount Rose Trail. Frog Pond is very close to the turn off. The electrical equipment is on Relay Ridge.


There are two other primary routes up the mountain located closer to Reno, on 431.

3) Southeast Ridge
One-way distance to summit: 2.7 miles
Elevation Gain: ~3350 feet
Difficulty: Walk up/scramble


The Southeast Ridge route starts a few miles before the "Mount Rose Summit" parking area. It is far less known, and far less traveled, yet it is the shortest route the summit. To get to the trailhead from Reno, follow 431 up past the 7,000 foot marker. The road heads up a steep hill, passing a dirt road on the left before you hit a horseshoe shaped turn. It is just before this turn, on the right side of the road, where you'll find a small dirt parking area by the Galena Creek. There are no signs for this trailhead. However, there is a trick to finding it. Just past the horseshoe turn there is a silver shack on the left. If you see the silver shack, you need to turn around and head back to the horseshoe turn. It is easy to find in summer, but not in winter. If you aren't satisfied with these directions and want a more surefire landmark, well you are in luck. About 1/4 mile up the road from the horseshoe turn is the Sky Tavern Ski Area on your right. This is a good place to turn around if you've gone too far.

Now for the route itself. From the parking area head towards the mountain along the trail, and cross a bridge over the Galena Creek. Follow the trail as it steeply heads through a canyon. After about one mile you reach the base of Point 10,005, which is an East shoulder of Mount Rose. It is here that the trail basically ends. From here you wind up the ridge following whatever appears to be the most direct and least overgrown. Once at the top of Point 10,005, the final assualt to Mount Rose is self-explanatory. This route is short, but very steep, so be prepared for burning lungs and bring plenty of water. This route is better in springtime or fall. In summer it gets pretty hot and you'll run into more bugs. It is also possible to run into rattlesnakes.

Southeast Ridge route
Topozone map of Southeast Ridge route

Southeast Ridge route
Red line shows the simple route up the Southeast Ridge


4) Jones-Creek/Whites Creek Loop Trail to Church’s Pond
One-way distance to summit: ~5 miles
Elevation Gain: ~4700 feet
Difficulty: Walk up/scramble


This route is the steepest of the four listed on this page, but is the route closest to Reno. It is only about 15-20 minutes drive from downtown Reno. From Reno, take 395 South to the Mount Rose Highway (rt. 431). Once on 431, take it to the west for 6.3 miles to the north entrance of Galena Creek County Park. You can park here, and walk towards the woods where a wide trail takes you up to the Jones Creek/White Creek loop.

Take the main trail for about 5-10 minutes until you reach a fork. To the left if the Jones Creek Trail, and to the right is the White Creek trail. Head left up the Jones Creek Trail. The Jones Creek Trail heads up several switchbacks until it tops out after about 2.7 miles. Here you will see a sign for Church’s Pond. Follow the trail to Church’s Pond, which you will reach after another 0.3 miles. This is your starting point for Mount Rose. The elevation of the pond is 8,290’.

View from Church s pond up to Mount Rose
The hillside above Church's Pond


See the Google Earth™ image below. From Church’s Pond, head slightly to the right up and over the tree-covered hillside. From there, head straight up to Mount Rose. You’ll have to route-find through the lower sub-alpine forest, and then scramble up the boulder field to the top. The summit of Mount Rose is about 2 miles from Church’s Pond via the route seen below. The elevation gain from Church’s Pond is almost 2600 feet considering the need to go up and over the hill above Church’s Pond.

Google Earth™ image of the route from Church s Pond
Google Earth™ image showing the route from Church's Pond to Mount Rose.


Point 8364 and Church s Pond from Mount Rose
View of the Church's Pond route from Mount Rose

Red Tape

There are no pemits to climb Mount Rose. Just a overnight campfire permit is required. When the pass gets heavy snows, roads may be closed. Roads may also be closed during the summer due to fire danger. Parking at the trailheads is free.

When To Climb

You can climb Mount Rose all year around if roads are open. It is not a difficult winter hike. The amount of snow varies. In 2007, Mount Rose was without full snow cover from May into early December. In 2006, there was still snow in July.

Galena Creek Waterfall
Lots of snow along the trail in July of 2006

View from above Galena County Park
Mount Rose in early March 2007

Camping

The Mount Rose Campground is located across the Mount Rose Highway from the Mount Rose Summit parking area. The campground has restrooms and picnic tables and reservations can be made. Click here for information on the Mount Rose Campground.

For more information on camping, see here and here.

You can also camp at the top.

External Links

Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
Wilderness.net
Webcam

Additions and Corrections

[ Post an Addition or Correction ]
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mpbroUntitled Comment

mpbro

Hasn't voted

By many accounts, Mount Rose is the top intermediate backcountry ski destination in Tahoe. I have a guidebook called "50 Classic Backcountry Ski and Snowboard Summits in California - Mount Shasta to Mount Whitney", by Paul Richins. I will speed-type what Richins has to say, w/o checking for accuracy. I have not skied MR. Anyone who has: please cut-n-paste this information into a real "route".


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Even though Mount Rose is on the Claifonria border just within the state of Nevada, this summit is too good to overlook. Mount Rose and the many nearby summits have been a favorfite of skiers for many years. This area offers excellent snow conditions, a variety of terrain, and a choice of numerous secondary peaks.





From either Reno, Nevada, or Incline Village, CA, take the Mount Rosxe Highway (431) to the Mount Rose sSki Area. Park at the Mount Rose parking arae or just west of the resort on 431.





From the parking area (8300') ski west, dropping gradually to cross the creek that drains from Tamarack Lake and then Galena Creek near 8100'. COntinue west up the right side of Galena Creek to around 8800'. Turn northwest up a side tributary to Galena Creek, and ascend the creek to the saddle between Mount Houghton and Mount Rose at the 9731' level . Follow the SW ridge to the summit of MR>





From the top of MR, descend the SW ridge or the S face into the Galena Creek vfalley. COntinue down the Galena Creek drainage to the major switchback in 431 or ski out to the SKy Tavern Ski Area. Hitch a ride back up the road to your car. Due to the southerly exposure, you should make sure there is ample snow for this trip. Since MR is east of the Sierra Nevada Crest, it receives substantially less snow.





An eassier, more genlte approach, more suited for the intermediate skier, starts jsut west of Mount Rose Passs on 431. SKi up the unplowed road that intersects the highway at 8840'; this will take you up a beaautiful valley in Third Creek (9400') . From here the route steepens. To your left, due west, you shold see an old tramway and radio tower; turn north at this point, then traverse NE into Galena Creek, joining the first route and continuing to the saddle at 9731'. This alernate route adds about 2 miles to your approach, but it is worth the effort, for its varied terrain provides additional ski options. Theis approach takes you by Mount Houghton (10450') and Relay Peak (10338'), both of which have excellent ski descent routes.
Posted Nov 17, 2001 1:05 am

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