Granite Peak (8974') is the highpoint of the Granite Mountains, the aptly named desert range that towers over Gerlach, NV and the Black Rock Desert to the east. Driving along Nevada Highway 447, the mountain dominates views to the north, and can't help but attract the attention of the desert peakbagger passing through the area. It should be no surprise that so prominent a peak boasts some superb summit views: It is the highest peak for over 50 miles in each direction, and ranks #47 on the Nevada prominence list
. And, as a bonus, it features some enjoyable scrambling as well for those so inclined.
The peak has very little brush, and as a result a number of routes are possible. The peak is typically climbed from the west, from the vicinity of NV Highway 447, via one of any number of ridges. Typical round trip stats for these options are modest, on the order of several miles and 4000-5000 feet gain, allowing for an enjoyable half-day excursion that can be combined with one of several nearby peaks, such as Kumiva Peak
, Mt. Limbo
, or Tule Peak
. An approach from the southwest side
is particularly recommended; it is scenic, and has some enjoyable optional third class sections.
There is a separate named point marked "Granite" on the map, 1.7 miles to the north of Granite Peak. This benchmark is 17' lower than the range highpoint (8957').
Unfortunately, Granite Peak's prominence has caught the eye not only of peakbaggers, but of telecommunications companies as well, and a radio tower is consequently found on the summit. This is an unsightly blemish, but one that's worth overlooking in favour of a visit anyway. The peak actually has two summits along a northwest-southeast ridge; the radio tower is located at the southeastern end, and this is the point named as Granite Peak on the 7.5', but the northwestern summit appears to be the true highpoint.
The exact starting point depends on your choice of routes; for an approach from the southwest side
, proceed as follows.
From Reno, take I-80 east for approximately 25 miles to exit #43 (Pyramid Lake/Wadsworth). Drive north on NV 427 for 1.5 miles, and turn left on NV 447, driving approximately 75 miles to the small hamlet of Gerlach. (Consult this overview map
to get an idea of where this obscure town is located).
From Gerlach, drive north on NV 447 for 11.3 miles to an unsigned dirt road on the right; this road is located 0.4 miles north of mileage marker 86, and 2.4 miles north of the Flanigan/Susanville turnoff. Turn right onto the dirt road, as shown on this map
, and follow it for 1.3 miles to a 3-way junction. Turn right at this junction, and drive for 0.7 miles to the top of a hill, where a 4WD track heads left. Park here. The road was in good condition and easily passable to a Subaru Forester as of April 2005.
Like most Nevada peaks, there is no red tape whatsoever.
When To Climb
The peak can be climbed year round, although it would be madness to visit during summer. You can expect to encounter some snow at the higher elevations during winter and early spring, but not enough to be a serious impediment.
Camping, Lodging, and Supplies
You can camp anywhere around the peak on BLM land. Lodging is available in Gerlach, or further afield (and likely more cheaply) in Reno. Gerlach has a gas station (hours unknown), while Empire (approximately 6 miles south of Gerlach) has a small market with a limited selection of food and drinks.
Mountain ConditionsNWS Forecast for Gerlach, NV