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Emigrant Pass

This ride over the old pony express route, parallel to the western approach to Austin Summit, is written up as ride No.6 in the Austin - Toiyabe Mountain Bike Trail Guide, a free booklet available at the Austin City Hall. The booklet describes the ride in the opposite direction as I do here, which is pretty much all downhill and therefore "easy". Doing the ride in the direction described here, takes a little bit of creative sign interpretation, because the cyclist - directed signs are designed to be read from the other direction.

1.(5730ft,mile00.0)START-END WEST ALT: jct US50 - Old Overland Road
2.(6320ft,mile07.7)profile turns left onto paved road, immediately after the jct with Nv305
3.(7600ft,mile14.1)TOP: highest point on Emigrant Pass Road
4.(7484ft,mile14.3) Austin Summit; profile turns left and follow US50
4.(6840ft,mile14.8)Grass Valley Rd takes off on left
5.(7267ft,mile17.1)Bob Scott Summit
6.(6840ft,mile18.3)START-END EAST: Grass Valley Rd takes off on left
7.(6070ft,mile23.3)START-END EAST ALT: jct with Nv376 on left


From West. Between the intersection of Nv305 and US50, just west of Austin, there is an easily missed paved turnoff onto a forest road. That is the start of a ride up Emigrant Pass. This is one area where many of the roads, that exist in reality, are not shown on google maps. But the roads do show up on the satellite view. The road passes a Toiyabe Forest guard station (useful for getting maps and clarifying directions) and then a sign tells you that you are on FR184.

A rounded mountain appears ahead. But before getting close enough, that this mountain has any chance to look imposing, the route turns right onto FR43222. The turnoff is easily missed, but signed from the opposite direction. Following the route in east-west direction, the turn is obvious, since you want to continue going downhill.

This smaller FR43222 makes its way through sage and open brushy forest to crest at a cow grate. Here a view opens up onto the bare breadloaf of the Simpson Park Mountains and the more form rich flowing peaks of the Monitor Range.

But this is not the pass. Another right leads onto FR43223. Again the turnoff is signed from the opposite direction. This road is in the process of being grown over, and gophers or other animals have dug a few craters into the surface that are big enough to swallow even a 29 inch mountain bike wheel. But taking once eyes off the ground, and checking out the surroundings is very tempting. The views are steadily improving, and the road is still climbing, and now facing the Monitor Range. After two false summits, finally the real one comes into sight.

left : view east from summit point at mile 11
right: finally getting closer to the pass and looking north

From East. (described downwards). And in the same view, the end of the trail and the junction with US50 on Austin Summit also appears. The profile includes the ride back down through Austin to the jct with FR184. Optionally there is also a dirt road into Austin on the south side of Austin Summit.


A Dayride with this ride as intermediate summit is on page: Austin Crest Trail s(u)