OverviewStar Peak is the highest peak in the Humboldt Range in Pershing County, north-central Nevada, about 30 minutes north of the town of Lovelock. From below, Star Peak looks to be an unremarkable peak, but looks can be deceiving: it is truly a hidden gem should you take the time to explore the range and hike the summit. It is a classic Great Basin Nevada mountain, with all the sage slopes and impressive vistas you could hope for.
Star Peak is one of just 57 peaks in the Lower-48 that exceed 5,000 feet of prominence, and "ultra" peak by that standard. It is also popular with range and county highpointers as well. A poor-quality dirt road works its way high into the range, almost near the range crest, allowing for an easy hiking route, although many people choose to approach this peak from any number of cross country routes.
Getting ThereExit Interstate-80 at the Humboldt Exit (#138, I believe), about 30 miles north of Lovelock (nearest full-service town) and about an hour south of Winnemucca. The interstate here runs essentially north-south. Get onto the east side of the exit and follow a frontage road south a few miles to where it ends. Proceed eastwards along a reasonable-quality dirt road into El Dorado Canyon. Most passenger vehicles should be able to get to within the canyon near some abandoned buildings at approximately 5,700 feet elevation in dry conditions. The last mile or so has some boulders in the road. On my visit here in 2002, I found the route with no troubles but did note there were other roads criss-crossing herein, so pay attention and stay on the main route and you should be fine.
(Have the USGS "Rye Patch Reservoir South" and "Star Peak" maps handy to trace your route)
Depending on your vehicle, courage or lack of good judgement, you can continue up this road to almost 9,000 feet, from whence the summit is just a simple one-mile trek amid open sage slopes. However, most people start hiking from somewhere farther down. My Nissan Frontier 4wd truck got us up another 1,100 feet before I parked at a hairpin turn. Smaller jeeps can get higher. I do not believe the road is maintained. The upper-most sections are extremely rocky and exposed ... probably rate a 6 or 7 on the 4wd-road scale.
Red TapeNone. This is BLM country. Enjoy.
When To ClimbIn dry conditions (Generally May - Oct) it is an easy, steep hike, nothing more. Since you hike a road and the slopes up high are generally gentle, this peak can potentially be hiked in snow conditions assuming you allow for the snow to settle a bit.
CampingI did not see any developed camping nearby. There seems to be some active mining in the area. On the other hand, car-camping in out-of-the-way areas is possible. Lovelock is a small town but is the county seat of Pershing County. It has groceries, hotels, gas and restaurants.
Updated Trailhead Information (2005)
Petter Bjorstad's Star Peak report has an alternative route that appears to be viable, and includes some excellent links to photographs
External Links Pershing County (NV) Highpoint Trip Report This is a description of my hike in 2002, with more photos.
The 57 Peaks with 5,000 feet of Prominence in the USA (Greg Slayden's www.peakbagger.com site)
Locator Map of Nevada's many 2K Prominent Peaks A nifty and well-done map put together by Aaron Maizlish
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