Place Name: Churchill County
Place Description: State: Nevada
Elevation: 7,209 Feet
Prominence: 2,089 Feet
Elevation Gain: 2,467 Feet
Lists: Nevada P2K
An Up & Down Jaunt Across The Great Basin
Juniper Peak is located south of Pyramid Lake in Nevada and makes for an easy half day hike. As typical of Great Basin Peaks in this area, Juniper is made up of little vegetation and rolling high desert.
- Half day hike
- Great views of Pyramid Lake
- Gentle terrain
- Dirt road approach requires high clearance
- Lots of powerlines in the area
- Completely exposed to the elements
Juniper Peak, not to be confused with the nearby Juniper Mountain, is a peak located along NV-447 near Nixon, NV.
With over 2,000 feet of prominence, Juniper Peak receives some visitation, however, I would not expect to run into anyone up here. Regardless, if you are in this neck of the woods, climbing Juniper Peak may be a fun excursion.
There are two routes to get to the start point. The shortest access is from the town of Nixon. After crossing the Truckee River, make a right on Hollywood Rd. Follow this a short distance and hang a left across a little bridge onto Valley Rd.
This road is very well graded and 40mph dirt. There is a gate to open and close and eventually you will make a right turn and shortly after a left. This will lead up a steep and narrow road through the powerlines up to a high ridge. The road is rocky and requires some clearance as well as 4wd due to the steepness in parts.
After gaining the ridge, we found a flat spot to park and started on our way.
The terrain is barren. There are hardly and trees or bushes. For the most part, the area is made up of grasses and lots of volcanic rock.
Don’t expect to find any use trails heading to the summit. Just pick the direction and head that way. The terrain is very up and down with a couple of short rises and drops.
After the second drop, you will be looking directly at a large conical shaped bump which leads you to another plain.
The next bump is a false summit and the real summit is still a half mile away. Once you crest this area, the summit cairn becomes visible in the distance.
The summit is adorned with a verge large rock cairn that is at least six feet tall. The surrounding views are very nice with Pyramid Lake being the main focus. Virginia Peak and Pah Rah Mountain lie across the valley while Tohakum Peak is further east.
On a clear day, the snowy Sierras lay out nicely as well.
The Final Word
While there are many peaks that are more worthy in the area, don’t sleep on Juniper Peak. With a relatively easy approach and hike, this could be used as a great warmup peak for the bigger ones in the region.
Juniper Peak was never very high on my list, however, it offers a great chance to hike at elevation during the winter. Of course, this is only if the snowfall cooperates.