Late for Nowhere

From life in Southeast Asia to backyard adventures in Kodiak, Alaska

Mountain biking Carson City

leave a comment »


During my occasional trips back to the United States, I always spend a week or so in Carson City, Nevada, visiting my sister, her husband, and my two nephews. My recent visit was no exception.

On the day I drove to Carson City from Joshua Tree National Park, the weather looked ominous: Rain was falling in the lower elevations, and snow swirled around the high peaks of the Sierra Nevada.


Carson City sits at the base of the mountain range – at an altitude of 4,802 feet (1,463 meters) above sea level – so there was more rain than snow, but the air was still colder than I expected. Thankfully, the weather mellowed on the following day and stayed decent for the rest of my stay, with clear skies and low-elevation temperatures that were brisk but not too frigid: perfect conditions for cycling.

This is how I usually spend the daylight hours when visiting my sister: While her family is occupied with work and school, I go hiking or mountain biking on one of the hundreds of trails in the Carson City/Lake Tahoe area. Then we all reconvene in the late afternoon and evening for family time.

With the weather too cold for my liking in the high mountains, this time I stuck with trails in the immediate vicinity of the city. There’s plenty to choose from, and two of my favorites for mountain biking were Clear Creek Trail and Ash Canyon.


Clear Creek Trail, which just opened in April of this year, is 10.5 miles (17km) one way, making for a 21-mile (34km) return trip. Almost entirely single-track, it’s mostly uphill on the way out, but the grade is gentle and never too difficult. The elevation doesn’t pose too much of a problem either: The trail starts at 4,950ft (1,500m) with a high point of 6,200ft (1,879m). Added neat-o factor: My sister’s eldest son, 12 years old and an active Boy Scout, participated in the building of the trail.



Ash Canyon contains a network of winding and swooping single-track trails and jeep roads, flat near the parking lot but with a number of opportunities to climb up into the mountains. Like Clear Creek Trail, the lower elevations are characterized by sagebrush steppe terrain, giving way to pine forests and aspen groves at greater heights.


Signs are posted to remind trail users that Carson City is located in mountain lion and rattlesnake country, but all I saw during my days of riding were a few American desert hares and one nonpoisonous gopher snake slowly making its way across a trail in Ash Canyon.


Written by latefornowhere

July 14, 2014 at 3:00 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: