American Discovery Trail – Great Basin Bike Route

Teri Vance recently wrote the story American Discovery Trail crosses challenging, beautiful Nevada terrain in the Nevada Appeal. Stretching across more than 6,800 miles and 15 states, the ADT is the only coast-to-coast, non-motorized recreational trail. Linking communities, cities, parks and wilderness, the ADT allows people to hike, bike, or ride horses for an afternoon or a cross-country adventure. This trail passes through Nevada just to the north of Carson City, so it’s easy enough for us living here to ride to the trail directly from our houses.

Ted and Jill Oxborrow on Hobart Road – Photo courtesy of the Nevada Appeal

Here is an excerpt from Teri’s article:

From the highway, Nevada’s landscape seems pretty monotonous. Long, flat stretches of brown dotted with sage and scrub brush.

But to see the true Nevada, you have to get off the road.

“It’s spectacular out there,” said Ted Oxborrow, the state coordinator for the American Discovery Trail, which is the only trail in the country that runs from coast to coast.

The trail begins in Nevada along the Tahoe Rim Trail and traverses the state, ending up in Baker.

“It takes you to places you would not believe were in Nevada,” he said. “It’s Switzerland out there.”

Where the highway is engineered to bypass mountain ranges, the trail winds through more than 20 wilderness areas and climbs some of the state’s tallest peaks.

“Even in the summertime, you get up to where there’s ferns and beautiful aspen forests,” Oxborrow said. “You cross mountain ranges higher than Mount Rose. Of course, the last one is Mount Wheeler in the Great Basin National Park, where there’s also a glacier.”

Continue reading this article with more details on this trail on the Nevada Appeal website HERE.

American Discovery Trail Description

The trail in Nevada is composed of nine segments totaling 496 miles, largely on isolated, relatively unused dirt roads.

California Line to Virginia City — 44.6 miles
Virginia City to Middlegate — 98.9 miles
Middlegate to Ione — 40.7 miles
Ione to South Twin Campground — 43.7 miles
South Twin Campground to Pine Creek Campground — 36.2 miles
Pine Creek Campground to Moores Station — 43.9 miles
Moores Station to Duckwater — 55.5 miles
Duckwater to Preston — 45 miles
Preston to Utah State Line (Baker) — 87.4 miles

Visit the American Discovery Trail website at

Ophir Road – Photo courtesy of Mountain Bike Nevada

The Great Basin Bike Route

Since the American Discovery Trail crosses many protected wilderness areas, mountain bikers looking to do the whole trail will have to travel on alternate routes. Thankfully, Jason Susslin of Reno has mapped out a route recently dubbed The Great Basin Bike Route or GBBR. Jason and others crossed Nevada on this route back in September. Using a support crew that met them at campsites, riders logged 479 miles over 11 days, and climbed 27,500 feet of elevation across 12 mountain ranges! If an adventure like this interests you, go check out the full details including maps and photos over on Mountain Bike Nevada:

While the entire trip across Nevada would be a bit much for most of us, many segments of these routes would make excellent day trips. Get out there and explore Nevada!

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