OverviewPine Mountain is found in Elko County, off of highway 225. It ranks as the 166th highest prominence peak in the state of Nevada with 2026' of prominence and is the reason that a few people will seek this one out. The register indicated only a few people had visited this one since it is so isolated and we only counted five visitors prior to us in the past 12 years. We combined this one with a visit to nearby Merritt Mountain, another prominence peak to the north. When we stopped in Mountain City's visitor center and inquired about Pine Mountain, several of the locals told us that we wouldn't be able to find a decent road to the mountain. One even went so far as to mention that the road was the worst road she had ever been on and would never go again. We went anyway and found a very reasonable 4WD road that served us well.
In 1937, Wild Horse Reservoir was constructed covering what was once Owyhee Meadows. The reservoir was named after the wild horses that roamed abundantly in the area. Ranching has restricted the horse's movement but they can still be found on the Owyhee Desert west of Wild Horse. The stored irrigation water is for agriculture in the Duck Valley Indian Reservation which is to the north.
On the way to the mountain, you will pass the Gold Creek Guard Station:
The Gold Creek Guard Station was constructed in 1911 near the struggling mining town of Gold Creek, to serve as the Humboldt National Forest Supervisor's office. Following the demise of the town in 1916, the station was "downgraded" to become the headquarters for the Gold Creek Ranger District, and continued in that capacity for years. In the 1930s' New Deal Era, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) made substantial improvements to the site, including structures intended to withstand the passage of time. In 1992, the station was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) due to its associations with initial Forest Service development and CCC construction. It is now in the process of being restored by volunteers and the forest service.
Getting ThereFrom Elko Nevada, drive north over 67 miles on highway 225 to Wild Horse Reservoir recreation area. Gas up in Elko since it is the last gas you will find in this part of Nevada. Gas is available at a station on the Owhyee Indian Reservation in Idaho but be forewarned, there is none until then and that is twenty plus miles north of where you will turn off. There was no gas at Mountain City, which is twelve miles north of Wild Horse Reservoir.
When you get to the Wild Horse Reservoir recreation area, watch for county road 745, signed for Big Bend campground and Jarbidge. Turn east on this well graded dirt road and drive a bit over 8 miles to FS road 086, signed for the Gold Creek Guard station. Turn onto this road and drive past the guard station and follow this road for as long as your vehicle can follow it. I was able to get to a spot on the northwest side of the mountain, 14.7 miles by my odometer from the turnoff back on highway 225. A high clearance 4WD vehicle is strongly recommended but you could park and walk from where you can get your vehicle. A map is forthcoming as I develop this page.
Red TapeNone that I am aware of since this mountain is on US national forest land.
Mountain City Ranger District
Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
2035 Last Chance Road
Elko, NV 89801 Phone: (775) 738-5171
CampingCamping is available at the Big Bend campground which is just a few miles beyond where you turn off for Pine Mountain. We also noticed vehicles with trailers camped in the aspens not far from the Gold Creek Guard station as we were driving in and while there were no facilities in these spots, they seemed quite popular.
Another link for this campground: Here
Camping is also available at nearby Wild Horse Reservoir and at Wild Horse Crossing, a few miles north of the Reservoir. We stayed at this one the night before we visited Pine Mountain and found it acceptable.
Wild Horse Crossing:
From Mountain City, NV, take State Rt. 225 south 10.2 miles to
campground sign. Turn left at sign into campground.
The elevation is 6,000 ft.
The campground, convenient to State Rt. 225, stretches along the
west bank of the Owyhee River with a number of camp sites tucked
into willow shrubs. Sagebrush and Aspen with a few Lodgepole
pine provide limited shade. Ample space between camp sites
provides good privacy. Limited shade and the canyon's steep
black rock walls suggest this campground could be uncomfortable
during summer days. However, its close proximity to State Rt.
225 makes it a good overnight campground.
Open May 15 through October 31
RATE AND MAXIMUM STAY PERMITTED
Rate: $5 per day
Maximum Stay Permitted (days): 14
CAMPGROUND SITE CONFIGURATION
No. RV Sites: 0
No. Tent Sites: 0
No. Combined Sites (Tent or RV): 18
Total Sites: 18
External LinksWild Horse Recreation area information
Our routeThe map below really shows our route that we utilized. We followed the road as far as I was comfortable with (almost all the way to to an ATV track) but
others that do not have high clearance or 4WD might be better served to go to where they are comfortable and walk the rest of the way from that point. The
road eventually turns into an ATV track that ends about a 1/2 mile and 4-500 feet below the summit. From that point on, we followed animal trails and then just headed up to the summit via a talus/boulder field.
Disclaimer & notesThis is a very isolated area. Make certain that you have adequate gas, water, and supplies before you attempt to visit this area. A vehicle breakdown could prove to be very expensive and the quality of the roads could change and become worse than what I encountered during my visit. You should use the above information as a guide and at your own risk.
Thanks to the fine SP pages provided by Ray, we visited McAfee Mountain, McCann Creek Mountain and Merritt Mountain prior to visiting Pine Mountain.
After Pine Mountain, we made our way to the Jarbidge area and climbed Matterhorn Peak, followed up by visits to Ellen D and Knoll Mountain.