Tule Peak is the highest peak in the Virginia Mountains, a range which borders Pyramid Lake on the southwest, running roughly north-northwest to south-southeast. From the summit there are excellent views of Tohakum Peak and Pyramid, as well as Kumiva Peak and, at a distance, King Lear Peak. Mt. Lassen is clearly visible, as is Mt. Grant, Mt. Rose, two different Job Peaks, and many others. From the south side, the peak offers 3,700' of vertical gain, and from the north, the Pyramid Lake side, nearly 5,000' of gain.
From Reno, the closest metro area, proceed eastbound on Interstate 80 to the Pyramid Lane exit, NV 445. Exit here, and proceed northbound on NV 445 for 17 miles (set your odometer). Look for a paved road leaving NV 445 to the left at an acute angle (Winnemucca Ranch Road), heading north-northwest. If you pass the corral complex on the right side of 445, you've gone too far. Once established on Winnemucca Ranch Road, reset your odometer, and drive for 11.5 miles, leaving the pavement along the way. You will pass a few dilapidated buildings on your left, continue on, looking for a small dirt road on the right. This narrow road is lined on both sides by high sagebrush, and the first section is navigable by most any vehicle. You will have to cross the outlet of a spring, and it is muddy here. Keep your tires on the turf. Eventually you will reach a fence line, and the road jogs sharply right, and deteriorates quickly. From here on, a vehicle with reasonable clearance is required, due to imbedded rocks. 4WD is not necessary. Follow the fence line for a little while, keeping an eye out for a very inobvious twin-track heading left. This track is very faint. Follow this to a rocky gully, and park here. It's OK if you don't find this last little piece of road, you can park almost anywhere along here and have about the same approach.
There is no red tape to speak of. Avoid private property in the area (fenced), and you can do what you please. No parking fees, no peak fees, no user fees.
When To Climb
Recommended climbing season is fall, winter, or spring. Summer is darn hot, mid 80s to mid 90s is average, and there is no shade on the ascent. Winter is generally mild, with occcasional snowfall, although abundant wind and infrequent spells of real cold weather are likely.
You may camp anywhere on the expansive BLM land without any problem. There are no facilities, and the springs in the area are low volume, so bring some water. Better yet, if you know someone in Reno, stay with them and drive out in the morning, it's only about 45 minutes to an hour.
There are no web-cams, but check this NWS site, they have a special section on the Pyramid Lake area, which definitely covers this peak. The weather is generally the same or better than whatever Reno is getting, although very high winds may be encountered.
This page states Tule is the highest in the Virginia Range at over 8700 feet, but the Mount Davidson page states that the title belongs to Mount Davidson - so which is it? Is Tule actually in the Virginia Range? Thanks.
I'm glad you asked. Looking at TOPO! I see that the range is actually called the Virginia Mountains. The Virginia Range is southeast of there bordering Washoe Valley. So I guess Tule is the high point of the Virginia Mountains, not the Virginia Range. I have made the correction.
The condition of the dirt road off Winnemucca Ranch Road has suffered over the past Winter. As of April 17, 2010, I would recommend a high clearance vehicle to travel over the first section of this road.