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Mount Jefferson (South Summit)
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Mountains & Rocks

Mount Jefferson (South Summit)

Mount Jefferson (South Summit)

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Nevada, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 38.75200°N / 116.927°W

Object Title: Mount Jefferson (South Summit)

County: Nye

Activities: Hiking

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall

Elevation: 11941 ft / 3640 m


Page By: Dean, surgent

Created/Edited: Dec 11, 2003 / Jan 30, 2014

Object ID: 152145

Hits: 28179 

Page Score: 87.98%  - 26 Votes 

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The Toquima Mountains are one of the countless giant ranges that populate the Great Basin interior of central Nevada, and mighty Mount Jefferson tops the range with a summit elevation approaching 12,000 feet. Overshadowed by the more popular Arc Dome to the west, Mount Jefferson sees its share of hikers due to its gigantic prominence of over 5,800 feet and its status as the highest peak in Nye County.

There are actually three summits comprising "Mount Jefferson". The southernmost is the highest, and the destination given on this page. The other summits can be reached by some sketchy trails and easy cross-country, once you have surmounted the southern highpoint.

A combination of old road, trail and cross-country makes for a straight-shot route to the top. Most people will start at or near "Jefferson Summit" as marked on the map, which is where a forest road achieves the ridge. From here it's about 5.5 miles and 3,000 feet up to the top.

From Mt. Jefferson summit...
By Dennis Poulin
Mt. Jefferson is in a...
By Dennis Poulin

Getting There

First, get yourself to Tonopah, roughly four hours north of Las Vegas on US-95. Be sure to top off the gas and get supplies here because this is it for civilization! From Tonopah, proceed east on US-6 about six miles to NV-376. Turn left (north) and continue about 13 miles to the Belmont/Monitor Valley Road, which heads northeast. This road is paved but in poor shape- some sections are pretty chewed up and it appears the state does no maintenance on this road. Roughly 25 miles later, the road leads to the interesting ghost town of Belmont, set in the southern foothills of the Toquimas. Belmont used to be the Nye county seat and a major mining community. Today it is home to about a dozen people, including one place offering a Bed & Breakfast. For mining and historical enthusiasts, many of the old buildings are still standing. However, there are no services as such in Belmont.

Staying on the main road (now called Monitor Valley Road), leave Belmont and head north another 5 miles or so on a wide, good dirt road. Turn left onto the Meadow Canyon Road and proceed west into the range. Although the road was reasonably well graded, it is narrow (beware of oncoming cars) and in some places, prone to small washouts and ditching. After 8 miles on Meadow Canyon Road, come to a significant Y-junction. I chose to turn left and follow a relatively poor-quality road about another mile to top out at "Jefferson Summit", which is really a pass at about 8,000 feet. At this pass, a two-track wriggles off to the north on up toward the summit, which is visible. Those with a high-clearance vehicle should be able to get in a little bit (maybe a mile), where some flat spots and trees offer a good place to camp.

I did not need 4-wheel drive but did need high clearance for the last mile and a half after the Y-jct. I understand that if one turns right at this Y junction, there is a camping area and a trailhead that also leads to the peak. The advantage of starting from Jefferson Summit Pass is that about 1,000 feet of vertical is removed.

Mt. Jefferson summit is above...
By Dennis Poulin

Red Tape

There are no fees or permits; the land is National Forest. Winter snows may shut the road completely.

When To Climb

Usually late May to about October is the best time. This part of the Great Basin is usually very dry but summer thunderstorms (Jul-Aug) could be a concern.


Contact the USFS station (number below) to inquire about the camping info for Meadow Canyon. I simply car-camped up on the ridge, where I had everything to myself!

[img:35421:alignleft:medium:By Scott Surgent]

Mountain Conditions

This number can get you started: The USFS Tonopah District Ranger Station:

(775) 482-6286

External Links

Bob Burd's superb trip report - LINK

Dennis Poulin's Peakbagger.com trip report

Eric Kassan's peakbagger.com trip report and GPS track

Additions and Corrections

[ Post an Addition or Correction ]
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DeanUntitled Comment


Voted 10/10

Mt. Jefferson is also one of the sought after prominence peaks in Nevada as it ranks #3 on the list. It is also one of the highest peaks in Nevada, it stands out rather dramatically from valleys around it, giving it 5860 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.
Posted Jan 28, 2006 11:34 am
surgentRe: Untitled Comment


Hasn't voted

Good info, Dean. When I created the page I wasn't heavily into prominence stats, but I will add that info to this page (and my other NV pages).
Posted Feb 28, 2006 4:50 pm
famartin1last 1.5 to Jefferson Summit

Hasn't voted

Ascended 10/19/2014. Note that the road is severely eroded with deep ditches and large rocks from the "Y" in Meadow Canyon up to Jefferson Summit. Worst ditches are about a quarter-way to halfway up, while the worst rocks are near where it emerges onto the saddle. While its still ok for an off-road pickup or jeep, I wasn't willing to take my (rented) SUV up there.

Also, the four-wheel drive road leading north from Jefferson Summit divides multiple times, but doesn't deviate much, so you end up with several parallel tracks going towards the summit in a few places. The road fades out about where I presume the wilderness boundary is, but the sign marking it seems to have dissappeared (didn't see it, though did see a wooden post which I suspect once held it). From there, the trail seemed reasonably well marked given the remote location, especially in the areas where the ridge narrowed. In the wider flatter sections of the ridge, the trail tended to fade out, but usually the rock cairns marking the best route were easy to find.

Old building/antenna/etc at summit. Could not locate the register under any of the several piles of rocks near the high point, but did manage to locate a "terracache" (probably a geocache).
Posted Oct 24, 2014 2:48 am

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