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Basque Summit

When you follow the old Overland Road, that was also used by Pony Express riders, across Nevada, you get a completely different impression of the state's landscape, than when you follow modern roads. The reason is, that the major paved roads stick as much as possible to the dessert valleys. The Overland Road had to try to be more "horse friendly", seek out the woods and the streams for water. For a cyclist too, this can can be an attractive alternative, when the desserts are hot, which is often.

The majority (if not all) of the route profiled below, follows a portion of this old Overland Road. This route goes over private land that belongs to the Smith Creek Ranch. But the owner gives public access to the road from the north. In addition I also happened to ride through this ranch on the southern approach. But there is a way around this. More below.

1.(6240ft,mile00.0)ranch access road heads west, following Old Overland Road
2.(6920ft,mile06.3) profile goes right
3.(7440ft,mile07.6) TOP, profile stays right, immediately after summit
4.(5540ft,mile15.1)first of several forks, all of which go to US50; profile stays left here
5.(5250ft.mile18.0) jct US50 - Overland Rd


From South. In Smith Creek Valley two gravel roads meet on the north west side of a salt sea bed. The de Lorme Gazeteer does not give them names. But it does label the reason for the existence of these two gravel roads: the Smith Creek Ranch, a few miles to the west of this junction. The profile starts at the point, where the northern part of this "Smith Creek Ranch Rd" exits the salt sea bed. The route starts to approximately follow the Overland Trail at the junction of these two gravel roads.

During my ride I rode through the ranch property. The owner happened to be there and told me to continue up the road through his property. The locked gate along the way is easily detoured with a bicycle. But there is also another public access route to the south. But the turnoff is not labeled and difficult to find on first try.

location and building (??) of Overland Mail Station along Edwards Creek

Once past all the mostly empty ranch water reservoirs, a good, easily bikable dirt road heads direction Basque Summit. The name "Basque Summit" seems to be used for both the small mountain behind the highest part of the road, and also for the road itself. The first right continues the climb. It tops out at a cattle corrall, with another dirt road joining from the left. Basque Summit, the mountain, remains mostly hidden in the trees to the west

From North. (described downwards) Immediately after the summit point the general direction of the route makes a 90 degree right turn, and now heads north. But with the Desatoya Mountains angeling off to the north west, it is easy to get confused. After a short descent signs tell the story of the Edwards Creek Riparian Restoration Project. Who would have thought, that not far from a valley so dry that it contains a salt sea bed, all of a sudden, I would lament the fact that I don't know more about bird calls.The bird sounds coming from these big wet bushes were positively puzzling, and had nothing to do with a dessert but everything with a swampy area, teeming with wild life.

Immediately after, just where the map says, there should be an old Overland Mail Station, stands an old wood ruin, picturesquely rotting away with its accompanying out house at a hygienic distance. For all I know this really are the remnants of the old Mail Building, although the construction methods used for this building seem more modern. If this is the location of the old Mail Buidling, they picked a very picturesque spot, just where the Overland road exits the confines of the intimate canyon, and spills back out onto the alluvial fan of the expansive dessert. Just as there are no road signs anywhere along the route, there are also no signs near the building.

After a few miles the route separates into separate rays shooting towards different junctions with US50. On my route I wanted to complete the loop towards the north, so I stayed left. The profile takes the option on the right which reaches a little lower.

US50 in sight after coming down Edwards Creek road



( < Austin Crest Trail s(u) | Luther Pass > )
Edwards Creek(sh) , Carroll Summit :
Nv722, west of summit > Carroll Summit > dirt road labeled "Smith Creek Ranch north > Smith Creek Ranch > dirt road west > first turnoff to right > Edwards Creek Rd(sh) > Edwards Creek Riparian Restoration Project area > US50 west > NV722 east > Eastgate > sp: 73.0miles with 4220ft of climbing in 6:03hrs (VDO MC1.0 m5:13.6.23)