Star 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.
January 2012 picture taken by uziduzit
Star Peak is to the left (photo by Dean Molen)
Exit 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
Black Canyon approach: Rob Woodall posted a great description / trip report of how he went up via the Black Canyon approach. He also posted a GPS track and a link to his photos so well worth checking out. See it HERE
The east side Star City route has been done by Dean Molen (see route to the left) and Gerry Pennington who posted his TR on peakbagger
None. This is BLM country. Enjoy. Winnemucca has a BLM office where up to date information might be obtained.
Google Winnemucca BLM district office for more information.
When To Climb
In 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.
I 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.
Click for weather forecast
Click for weather forecast
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
Dean's route from the NE. We followed the road shown coming from the W. (Image by Dean)
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