|Exploring the Pine Nut Mountains, NV
We were headed no where in particular except in the general direction of Mt. Siegel, then hopefully south towards the southern end of the Pine Nut Mountains near Wellington. The Pine Nut Mountains have hundreds of miles of dirt roads and trails, but we did not find any that were marked. Mt. Siegel isn’t hard to see from Gardnerville as the peak is the highest point in the Pin Nut Mountains.
Our trailhead was in the Carson Valley off of highway 395 at the end of Johnson Lane. The GPS coordinates where you can stage are – 39° 1’37.16″N, 119°42’16.86″W (Google Maps).
We headed out Sunrise Pass Rd., but we were determined to head south as soon as possible. This turned out to be a challenge, even with a Lowrance 540c GPS that was loaded with all the road and trail detail for the area.
We finally got far enough south to get on Lone Pine Canyon Rd. which loops around the north end of Mt. Siegel. The trail is a bit overgrown but passable in a UTV with lots of branches hitting the roll cage.
Once at the top of the trail, with Mt. Siegel lying to our south, we decided to check out Slaters Mine before attempting the loop around Mt. Siegel to the south.
Slaters Mine is an old placer mine site about 15 miles east of Minden/Gardnerville Nevada and lies sits at just over 7,100 feet in elevation. There are several routes that can lead you to the mine so it makes for a nice destination where you can loop and not take the same trail in and out.
GPS Coordinates for Slater’s Mine: 38°55’23.38″N, 119°29’21.31″W (Google Maps)
After exploring Slater’s Mine, we headed south to see if we could loop around the backside of Mt. Siegel and head back to Johnson Lane on a different route. Mt. Siegel is over 9,000 feet high, and we could see lots of snow on the north facing side.
We climbed a lot after leaving Slater’s Mine, and low and behold we finally hit a patch of snow on the trail. After a bit of work, we made it through the drift and climb higher and higher.
We were pretty bummed that we could not make it up and over the pass, but as we descended back towards Slater’s Mine, I searched the GPS for another route to the trailhead.
From Slater’s Mine, we headed north on a well established trail near Mineral Valley and around the east side of Mineral Peak. We ended up hitting Sunrise Pass Rd. at GPS Coordinates 39° 4’9.59″N, 119°33’1.78″W (Google Maps). From there, it was an easy trek back to the trailhead at Johnson Lane.
If you wanted to explore the Slaters Mine area from Johnson Lane, this route is probably the easiest and most direct route. The first part of Sunrise Pass road is a two lane graded road, but as you climb, the scenery improves. Even though you are heading a bit too far north, Sunrise Pass Rd. gets you into the heart of the Pine Nut Mountains very quickly and you can explore from there.