North Schell Peak is the highest point in the Schell Creek Mountains. This impressive mountain range stretches for 142 miles in the north-south direction, and reaches its apex at North Schell Peak. Located in the Humboldt National Forest, the Schell Creek Range is the second longest range in Nevada, trailing only the majestic Toiyabe Range in the central part of the state. The Schell Creek Mountains are also Nevada's fourth highest mountain range. Other high peaks in the range include the 11,765' South Schell Peak, and the 11,734' Taft Peak. The lonely US Highway 50 crosses the Schell Creek Mountains at Connors Pass just east of Ely.
North Schell Peak lives a quiet existence in the vast Great Basin wilderness. Like many Great Basin mountains, it doesn't seem to attract much attention. The nearby and more famous Wheeler Peak attracts most of the climbers in this area. Nevada has 171 peaks with at least 2,000' of prominence, more than any other state, so even impressive mountains like North Schell Peak tend to fade away into insignificance against the Great Basin landscape. But the new field of Prominence has made North Schell Peak an important mountain. With a prominence of 5,403', it's big enough to make an appearance on the coveted Ultra-Prominent Peaks List.
From Ely, drive north on US 93 to McGill. From McGill, drive north on US 93 about five more miles, then turn right onto NV 486. Drive east on NV 486 through the Gallagher Gap, then south through a valley. After about eight miles, turn left onto the signed Forest Road 425 to Timber Creek. Drive east on Forest Road 425 about four miles to the Timber Creek Campground. The road is blocked off a short distance past the campground.
Contact the Ely Ranger District at 775-289-3031 for the latest information.
Forest Service Map: Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest (Ely Ranger District East Half).
The Timber Creek Forest Service Campground is located at the trailhead.
The fact that No. Schell is a prominence peak is nicely covered in the overview. I'd like to add just a little more on this subject:
No. Schell is one of the sought after prominence peaks in Nevada as it ranks #5 on the list. It stands out rather dramatically from valleys around it, giving it 5403 feet of prominence. This prominence puts it in an elite group of peaks in the USA that have a prominence of over 5000 feet and those can be seen on this neat MAP HERE. If you don't understand what prominence is all about, here is a good explanation. Adam Helman recently authored a book completely dedicated to prominence.
Just FYI, while NV 486 still appears on many maps, the highway no longer exists by that name. Just in case someone goes looking for a sign that says NV 486... they won't find one. Technically the road is White Pine County Route 29, but they won't find any signs for that, either. The road signs from US 93 just indicate "Duck Creek" I think.