Churchill County High Point Trip Report

Desatoya Peak

Date: August 16, 2002
Author: William Everett

This account describes a western route to Desatoya Peak. It is reachable by passenger cars and does not pass through any locked gates. However, it is very strenuous, difficult, and cross-country pretty much the whole way. If access can be gained, the eastern routes would probably be much easier.

Traveling east on I-50 east of Fallon and before Austin, get off on Highway 722. Travel about 6 miles and turn left on a dirt road. The road is hard to see; it is hidden by a ridge as you come around a corner and there are no signs to indicate it coming from the west. However, coming from the east there is a sign indicating "wildlife viewing". Almost immediately after turning on the dirt road, there is a cattle grate and some signs for hunting, etc. After about a mile the road forks. Take the left fork. After about another 3 miles there is another cattle grate and a sign indicating "Dens Creek Fence". After less than a mile there is another fork, with the road to the left following a fence line. Take this road. Shortly after the fork the road hits a closed gate with a sign indicating BLM land. Open the gate. Drive through. Close the gate. A short while later the road comes to a turnaround loop with a campfire ring and a sign indicating "Willow Creek Fence". The road is in fairly good shape initially and deteriorates somewhat as you go along, but should definitely be passable by passenger cars in good weather. Park here.

From the turnaround loop head northeast up the ridge which is on the north side of Willow Creek. There is a ladder over the Willow Creek Fence. Climb over it, go down into the creek gully and up the opposite side. There was a sign indicating a trail, but the trail went a short distance down into the gully and then disappeared. Once past the gully head northeast up the ridge towards the point marked by elevation 7456. You will shortly reach a fence you can easily crawl under. Going up the ridge is a long steep slog, but the route-finding is pretty straightforward and the underbrush isn't much of a problem.

Continue up the ridge until it merges with the main Desatoya range, near elevation mark 9890. You will have to find your way around thick clusters of trees here and there, but it isn't too hard. Try and stay to the north (left as you go up) side of the ridge, as the south side has steeper slopes, cliffs in places. As you near the main range, there are some fairly intimidating rock formations along the ridge (near the 9400 elevation line). I skirted around them to the left, walking through the sagebrush. Once you get to the main range, you can see Desatoya to the north and a use trail winding toward it. From this point it's fairly easy. Head north, using the trail if you want. It isn't entirely reliable, so don't worry if you lose it, just keep heading towards the highest point directly to the north.

At Desatoya peak there is a register in a jar hidden in the rocks. There is also a peak to the north that looks like it might be higher, but is actually slightly lower.

Total round-trip time was 7.5 hours, traveling at a fairly fast pace and with few breaks.