Carson officials, volunteers carving trail system in mountains west of city
By Teri Vance (Story originally appearing in the Nevada Appeal)
In the super-abridged version of the story, Jeff Potter complained to city supervisors in 2006 that more mountain bike trails were needed in the area.
Their response: Then do it.
Of course, it wasn’t that simple. There was the master plan to consult. Permits needed to be acquired. Plans needed to be drawn up.
But after years of working with Carson City’s open-space manager, Juan Guzman, to negotiate with city, state and federal agencies as well as private property owners, the plan is starting to take shape.
Max Jones, who owns Spooner Lake Cross Country and Flume Trail Mountain Bikes, lent his expertise to determining three routes connecting Kings Canyon to Ash Canyon.
Potter said they settled on the mid-line route, traversing seven miles along the east-facing slopes of the mountains. It begins around 5,600 feet and climbs 1,100 feet to the highest point of 6,700 feet. The average grade is 6 percent.
Potter said it was an easy decision.
“If this was the only trail I could put in, it would be a killer trail,” he said. “Plus, we had fewer obstacles with this option.”
He said the gradual ascents with some steep climbs will make the trail a challenge for the experienced mountain biker while still being accessible to the novice.
“This is for everybody,” Potter said. “All skill levels.”
The trail also will be open for other non-motorized use, like hikers and equestrians.
While there are some trails now in the hills of east Carson City, they are what’s known as non-system trails. They don’t connect in a meaningful way and may not have the proper permits.
The trail, with access points in Kings Canyon and Ash Canyon, will make sense to users, Guzman said.
“It’s from a very well-known point to another well-known point,” he said.
It also could draw other outdoor enthusiasts to the area, Guzman said.
“This is the kind of thing that people will drive thousands of miles to come and experience,” he said. “We have a hidden spot here. People do not realize what a unique place this is. The Sierra Nevada is just spectacular.”
Potter said while users will be able to begin at either point, he imagines most will prefer to begin from the Kings Canyon side and climb about 2.5 miles to the highest point.
Once there, they’ll be on an outcropping with views of the entire city, along with Job’s Peak, the Sweetwater Range and Washoe Lake.
From there, it will a 5.5-mile descent into Ash Canyon. Along the way, there will be other overlooks for users to take in the view.
Work on the trail is expected to begin in the spring and could take up to five years to be fully complete.
Guzman said he appreciates the dedication and expertise of volunteers like Potter.
“This is the perfect use of our lands,” he said. “This corner of Nevada is just fantastic.”