Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
1,300.00 ft (396.24 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
5.10 mi (8.21 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Granite Hills Loop is a 5-mile hike on BLM land for those looking to get a short distance out of Reno and feel like you're experiencing the Reno of just a few decades ago.

The trail begins in the Cold Springs area, an area that still has cattle grates on its freeway onramps, and any sort of trail maintenance, signage or amenities is nonexistent. Instead the path traces ORV tracks, dirt bike routes and footpaths while it meanders toward the high point, a panoramic peak which stands about 1000 feet above the surrounding landscape.

To get the less scenic portion out of the way first, it's suggested you take this hike in a counterclockwise direction.

From the parking area, which is just a dirt shoulder on the south side of White Lake Parkway, a rising and falling rough dirt track parallels the roadway and eventually leads back toward the freeway. Most of this area is BLM land, and unfortunately a number of dump piles line this low portion of the hike. The trail reaches the remains of a few old brick and concrete mining structures. Copper was mined in this area, which is evidenced in the tailings piles lying along the trail as you climb. The area is mentioned in books and websites for rock collectors, and it's not uncommon to cross paths with people out here digging through the ore piles for minerals leftover.

This trail is about 90% steep uphill or steep downhill. From the mines you'll be ascending a series of switchbacks almost the entire length before reaching the summit. From here, views across the Cold Springs Valley area to the north and Lemmon Valley to the south, show the area's slow wave of development, as just a few years ago the majority of those large warehouses to the south was also just open land. Peavine Mountain dominates the view to the west. A couple concrete ruins mark the peak. 

From here you'll follow dirt roads to the northeast, with a chance to enjoy a rare flat portion In the saddle between the two high points. At this height, there's little noise from the city that bustles a short distance below on the descent, there are a few more tailings piles, likely mixed with animal tracks. A sharp descent past numerous dramatic granite outcroppings will lead directly back to the parking area. Or if you'd like to lengthen the hike you can branch off on a number of ORV roads and forks to other neighboring peaks, though with slightly diminished views from the high point of this hike.

Overall, the Granite Hills Loop offers a glimpse into a more untamed era of Reno, overlooking more forests and open land than developed tracts. Hopefully these northern communities remain this way for awhile.

There are no amenities of any kind anywhere along this hike, and no shade. 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Panoramic views.

Cons

No shade.

Trailhead Elevation

5,050.00 ft (1,539.24 m)

Highest point

6,015.00 ft (1,833.37 m)

Features

Near lake or river
Big vistas
Mine

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Motorized vehicles
Horseback
Biking

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California

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