This was my favorite road bike ride when I was living in Dayton several years ago. Now that I’m living in Southeast Carson City the ride to the top and back is about 10 miles longer, but I still love the challenge. About 34 miles (out and back) this ride crosses three counties and climbs about 2,500 feet. The vistas along the way are amazing, and your chances of running into wild horses are good.
Coming from the Southeast, my ride more or less begins along prison hill, with a view of the prison for which I assume prison hill is named (I could not find confirmation of this). The mountains in the background are always a nice touch, with views of the valley from the east side of town!
Regardless of where you start in Carson City, find your way to the US50 heading east out of town. The 50 is named Williams when you’re still in town, and is also part of the “Loneliest Road in America.” My destination is somewhere just behind the snowy peaks in the distance. Traffic through here is fast. It’s a 55 mile per hour zone where everyone is driving between 65 and 70. The shoulder is very wide, though, so you’re almost an entire lane away from traffic. Regardless, watch your back.
The first real climb leaving Carson City on your way to Mound House looks deceptively shallow, but is a nice way to warm up the legs and lungs.
The V&T railroad bridge marks the unofficial line between Carson City and Lyon County. After riding through Mound House, head north on SR 341 toward Virginia City.
As spectacular as the views are, the details you get from bicycling are also great. The landscape is dotted with old buildings and abandoned mines.
Virginia City sprang up from a mining boom and still feels “old west” in a very authentic way. The sidewalks are still wood, and not touristy manufactured wood, but the good ol’ wavy, bumpy, splintery kind.
The roll back down the hill is fast and flowy. The road surface itself is very well kept, but sand, salt and gravel can be present. The hills in the area are prone to loose rock falling onto the road. Luckily the hill is on the right as you ascend, so the downhill return is far enough away from the hillside to stay clean. I keep an eye out on the way up for any problem spots on the way down.
This is a very challenging ride. Taking in the views is a great excuse for taking short breaks.
Strava link: https://www.strava.com/activities/3208109791