Rocky Peak 7,082’ is a magnificent, rocky-topped summit located east of Virginia City in the Flowery Range, an offshoot of the Virginia Range. The summit area is adorned with spectacular rocky vistas, and could be considered the premier hike in the Virginia Range in northwestern Nevada.
Despite these attributes, Rocky Peak is not frequently accessed, mostly due to being hidden behind major view points from most of the Northwest Nevada population centers and being surrounded by private land. It is a unique spot, seemingly far from civilization, but in actuality, quite close by Nevada standards; no more than 40 minutes drive from downtown Reno.
Located a few miles east of Virginia City, Nevada, a BLM access road heads up to a ridge behind Rocky Peak within about 3 3/4 miles from paved roads.
Much of the surrounding area is on private lands, with "No Trespassing" signs near some old mining sites (some of which are occasionally active). This is often a deterrent to visitors who believe the entire area is off-limits. However, the route described below provides public access without trespassing on any of these lands.
The best time to hike up Rocky Peak and the Flowery Range in general is probably late fall (November, December) and late winter/early spring (February, March, April). During summer, temperatures are far too high. The area can get pretty snowy during the heart of winter, although Rocky Peak typically sees less snow than the peaks to the west.
Getting ThereThere is only one direct route to Rocky Peak. The route starts on a BLM access road hosting power lines, off of Six Mile Canyon Road. This road is accessed approximately mid-way between Virginia City and US 50. 3 ½ miles from either location. The road is at 39.315071, -119.58248.
From Reno, drive to Virginia City over the Geiger Grade (or US 50 from Carson City), and head east on Six Mile Canyon Road which heads downhill from Virginia City on the left. Drive past the Sugarloaf Rock Formation for 1 ½ miles. There are a couple roads near mining operations. One has a No Trespassing Sign. The one just past it has no such sign. There are large power lines at the base of the road. The road starts at only about 4770’.From Carson City, take US 50 east towards Dayton. Six Mile Canyon is on the east side of Dayton, about 15 miles east of Carson City. Take a left on Six Mile Canyon and head up about 3 ½ miles. Park at the base of the road, or on the road.
Follow the power line road for about 2 miles at which point there is a turn heading right up towards the ridge towards Rocky Peak. The road zig zags up the ridge. At about 3 miles and 6,500’, a road heads slightly up Rocky Peak. Head part way up the road and determine when to start your ascent of Rocky Peak. The rest of the hike is in light brush with some maneuvering around rocks.
Once at the base of the summit rocks there are various routes, pretty much all of them is manageable Class 3. Approaching from the left side of the summit block is easiest and shortest. Although heading straight up is way more fun.
In total, the hike is about 7 1/2 miles round trip, with an elevation gain of a little over 2,300’. If you want extra distance, you can hike over to nearby Peak 7036 to the west or Horse Benchmark 7,163' to the east. Either of these will add about 2 ½ miles total to the trip.