Grindstone Mountain from Bullion Road.
Grindstone Mountain, also known as Moleen Peak, is a lower peak in Nevada’s northern Pinon Range. The mountain, which is named for its resemblance to grindstones, is a southwest-to-northeast running ridge, with the summit located about 11 miles southwest of the city of Elko. It has an elevation of 7,377 feet and prominence of 1,197 feet, and although not large in stature, Grindstone is a prominent pyramid-shaped landmark that is easily recognizable from Elko.
A maintenance road leads up the southeast slope of the mountain and terminates at a radio tower facility just north of the summit. The summit offers some very nice views of the surrounding area, making a visit to Grindstone worthwhile. The views northeast to the south are dominated by the East Humboldt Range and Ruby Mountains in the distance, but also provide an interesting perspective of regionally popular South Fork Reservoir; the greater Pinon Range lies to the southwest; northwest overlooks the expanse of the Humboldt River Valley, through which the Humboldt River winds.
|Summit view to NE. |
|Summit view to ENE. |
|Summit view to SW. South Fork Reservoir and the Rubies.
From I-80 at Elko, Nevada, take exit 301 (Mountain City Highway/NV-225). Proceed south on Mountain City Highway about 0.9 miles, then turn left onto Idaho Street. Proceed northeast on Idaho Street about 0.8 miles, then turn right onto Fifth Street/NV-227. Proceed southeast on Fifth Street about 0.5 miles, then turn right onto Wilson Avenue. Proceed southwest on Wilson Avenue, which becomes Bullion Road after about 0.25 miles. After about 2.6 miles from making the turn onto Wilson Avenue, the pavement ends and Bullion Road, which was originally used to transport supplies from Elko to the old mining town of Bullion, becomes a hardpack road and then later a dirt road.
From where the pavement ends, continue another 11.8 miles on Bullion Road. The second half of this leg follows very close to the Hastings Cutoff, a cutoff trail from the California Trail that was used by westward bound emigrants during the 1840s and 1850s. After 9.1 miles on this leg, a small bridge crosses over the South Fork Humboldt River. Here you can take in the view of the river as it flows out from South Fork Canyon, where long ago, covered wagons exited the canyon on the cutoff trail along the river’s west bank. 2.7 miles past the bridge completes this leg and marks your next turn.
Turn right (west) off of Bullion Road and proceed 4.7 miles to the top of Grindstone Mountain, where the road will terminate at the radio facility near the summit. From this point, you will see the terraced summit a scant 0.12 miles to the southwest. 4WD is probably not needed on this route, however, high clearance is.
|The South Fork. |
| East slope. |
|View on route.
|Grindstone’s summit. |
| Calcite and limestone. |
Unrestricted access; BLM regulations apply. Grindstone's ridge is a checkerboard of BLM and private land. The summit itself is not on BLM land, however, I am not aware of any access issues. Please be sure to respect the land and property.
There are no developed campgrounds in the area. Dispersed camping on BLM land is permitted at no cost for a maximum of 14 days at the same location.
Food & Lodging
The small city of Elko is your best bet for accommodations such as food and lodging, where there are a lot of choices. When it comes to gas, however, it’s a different story. For some reason, Elko has the highest gas prices in the nation. If you’re not from the area, here’s some good advice. Do not fuel up at the Chevron station on Idaho Street (by the Red Lion Hotel and Casino) near I-80 exit 303. You will find gas prices that are nearly a dollar more per gallon – yes, that’s right, nearly a dollar more - than most gas stations in town. About a quarter of a mile further southwest on Idaho Street on the opposite side is a Tesoro station. Don’t go there either, as their prices are only about 10 cents less than the Chevron. Instead, continue southwest on Idaho Street a short distance to the Sinclair station on the left or further to the corner of 11th Street to the Maverik station, which consistently have among the lowest, if not the lowest, prices in town.