Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 39.36520°N / 117.759°W
Additional Information Elevation: 9973 ft / 3040 m
Sign the Climber's Log

Get Familiar! --- Overview

Desatoya North (9965') and South (9973') Twins constitute the dominant mountain of the Desatoya Range, central Nevada, United States. Of course, South Twin is the actual high point, and also contains the peak register.

As is usual for Great Basin peaks, the views are amazing & and the visitors are few. The Twins actually see slightly higher traffic than the norm for sub-10,000' Nevada peaks, and this is mostly due to their claim to Churchill County's "highpoint" --- barely edging out the very prominent Mt. Augusta (9966'). Several hunters, locals, and regional peak-baggers make their way to the top each year as evidenced by the summit register.

To the west and south, views to the Sierra crest (120mi+) are expansive and breathtaking. White Mountain Peak and Mt. Montgomery are easily seen as well. The scene to the east is abruptly obscured by the Toiyabe Range, with it's continuous 9000'+ crest and 11,000' peaks effectively blocking most of the Toquima and Monitor ranges. Not that this is a bad thing, as the Toiyabe crest from Bunker Hill to Arc Dome appears to be much closer than 35mi when the air is clear.

The Desatoyas are home to quite a bit of wildlife --- especially Mule Deer, Bighorn Sheep, Sage Hen, and Chukar. "Wild" horses abound, as usual, with their many trails above treeline aiding hikers up normally-steep and loose scree slopes. Lower elevations are covered with thick Pinyon Pine and Mahogany forests, with some Pinyons reaching 600 years in age. Several streams run most of the year, and cottonwood trees are seen frequently in the canyons.

Get There!

There are several ways up the peaks, with the easiest involving some private gates. All routes are accessed from either US HWY 50 east of Fallon, Nevada, or Old US 50 that branches off the former near Middlegate Station, Nevada.

East Route --- from Smith Creek
This route can be driven in a 4WD up to the ~8500' level, but requires that you travel through the Smith Creek Ranch. According to various summit register entries, the ranchers are very obliging to hikers, and access may not be a problem. It may also be possible to 4WD over from the south (Campbell Creek) to Smith Creek, but access and road conditions have not been verified. Either way, this is the sissy route. The Smith Creek Ranch is reached by following Old US 50 from Middlegate Station over Carroll Summit and down into Smith Creek Valley. A nice dirt road (with a sign for Smith Creek Ranch) leads north along the eastern edge of the Desatoyas approximately 6mi east of Carroll Summit. This road is followed north, and finally west 13mi back into the Ranch property along Smith Creek.

South Route --- Traverse from Carroll Summit
This looks like an exciting, all-day event, with a high-altitude start and hiking mostly above tree-line. It has been done according to at least one summit register entry, but the 16-20mi round-trip would certainly require commitment. It is likely that plenty of "wild" horse trails would aid the hiker along the crest. The trailhead would be the dirt road running north from Old Hwy 50 just 100yds east of Carroll Summit.

West Route --- Rock Creek Ridges
Starting at 6400' and gaining 4000' in less than 3mi is the short, dirty way to the top. Rock Creek is reached via a high-clearance dirt road up the alluvial fan from US 50 just south of Cold Springs Station. From the Old HWY 50 junction, follow US 50 east for 8mi, looking for a infrequently-used dirt road on the right leading immediately through a cattle gate(there is a similar road heading west of the highway at the same spot for a reference). The dirt road takes you east directly towards the peak, and stops after nearing the mouth of Rock Creek Canyon (~3.25mi). Head up the rocky ridge on the north side of the canyon, fighting your way to treeline through the Pinyon and Mahogany groves that cover occasionally 3rd class outcrops.

Get Legal! --- Red Tape

No gov't Red Tape of any kind. Some approaches may require permission from the local ranchers to drive in.

Get Ready! --- When To Climb

The comparatively mild snow conditions of the Great Basin offer an extended dayhiking season for those who don't like to gear up for major winter alpine adventures. Climbs should be done with at least waterproof boots and gaiters if there is light snow.

Summer hikes should always involve lots of water, as the evaporation rates get quite high in Nevada.

There are few lower-altitude water sources on this peak --- however, the "wild" horses, cows, and deer have the run of the creeks, so make sure you treat it thoroughly (i.e. boil, etc)! I say always bring your own....

Times of high snow accumulation and/or muddy conditions will hamper driving efforts on the dirt road sections. Have high-clearance and 4WD (and know how to use it) if you go during a potentially stormy day.

Get the Goods! --- Food, Lodging, Camping, Gas

Camping is, of course, free on the surrounding BLM and USFS land. The nearest, food and gas available would be in Cold Spings Station or Middlegate Station; lodging is available in Fallon or Austin.

Get Lucky! --- Mountain Conditions

Like most Great Basin peaks, this one requires creative research and a lot of guessing to determine current conditions!

Regional weather may be found by looking up the Fallon or Austin, Nevada forecasts. Be wary --- conditions on the valley floor may not match those on these "sky islands" when the weather is unsettled.



Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.