I had some free time yesterday, and decided to go check out the trails in the Pine Nut Mountains. Normally these trails aren’t rideable this time of year, because of the high clay content in the dirt and plentiful shade that keeps the ground saturated. If these trails are wet, you do not want to ride them. Tires pack up with clay, making forward progress near impossible. But since we’ve had a long stretch of warm weather, I thought I might be OK. Here’s what I found.
Leaving the trailhead, I had to steer around a few mud holes, and the trail was full of hard clay dirt clods. This concerned me at first, but then I found firmer and smoother trails once out of the motocross area. The trails alternated between soft and firm for the remainder of the ride, but it seemed to be more related to shade and angle of sun exposure rather than elevation. The whole front valley seemed mostly rideable. Although the trails were nowhere near as fun as they are when it dries out, I was still able to ride a nice 8 mile loop. And with the continued warm weather in the forecast, the trails should just get nicer and nicer until we get the next storm.
One thing I found disheartening though, was the amount of damage to the trails caused by trucks. People have been driving their 4x4s off the roads and onto the singletrack, following the trails as long as they can until it becomes too narrow to pass through. This has obliterated some sections of trail, leaving deep ruts that are very difficult to ride. This is really too bad, because all this happens in spite of all the signage and educational efforts done by groups such as the Pine Nut Mountain Trail Association.
Trailhead Location: Head East on Pinenut Road, located at the last stoplight leaving Gardnerville to the South. Follow Pinenut Road veering left before reaching the dump. Just a ways past the model airplane area, as you enter the next valley and before the houses, there’s a lone juniper tree, parking, and trailhead information. Trails head off to the south, and north on the other side of the road. MAP HERE.