Hike to the top of Slide Mountain

Hike to the top of a ski resort in the summer for outstanding views of Mount Rose Wilderness and Washoe Valley through this straightforward climb of Slide Mountain.

The beginning of the trail
Photo by Chris Barile

Slide Mountain rises precipitously 5,000 feet above Washoe Lake and the Washoe Valley to the east. The mountain offers easily accessible bird’s-eye views of the Washoe Valley, Reno, and Tahoe Meadows.

Contrary to what its name suggests, the entirety of Mount Rose Ski Resort is located on Slide Mountain. To add to the confusion, Slide Mountain does not take its name from the deforested ski “slides” on its northern slopes. Instead, its name refers to huge landslides that occasionally occur on the sheer southeastern face of the mountain. The most recent of these landslides occurred in 1983 in which a 30-foot wall of mud came roaring down the mountain after some wet spring weather. The mud swept away trees and huge boulders before it crashed into Lower Price Lake. More than 7 million gallons of water were expelled from the lake, and the resulting slurry of water and debris destroyed homes, killed one person, and shut down Highway 395. All that remains of Lower Price Lake today is an enormous pile of granite boulders, which you can visit as part of a trek to Ophir Creek (Hike 81) in Base Camp Reno: 101 Hikes From Sage to Snow.

View of Slide Mountain from Tamarack Peak
Photo by Elizabeth Barile

From the large parking area of Mount Rose trailhead, carefully cross Mount Rose highway to a wide unlabeled dirt road. This road is well used, wide, and maintained by the ski resort. At the junction in 0.2 miles, take the higher road to the right. Shortly thereafter, you will pass the edge of the Mount Rose Campground to the right. In another 0.2 miles, stay right at the junction. In August, look for the rare Slide Mountain buckwheat. This mat-like yellow-brown plant is only found in the Carson Range.

The road switchbacks up the mountain several times before you reach a series of ski lifts and communication towers. Veer right to the obvious high point. If you wish to get to the true summit, located at 39.3128, -119.8844, you will have to scramble up some rocks. Excellent views, however, can be had by walking around the base of the summit in any direction. Return back to the trailhead the way you came.

For many other summiting adventures in the Carson Range, reserve your copy of Base Camp Reno for a complete guide to the area.

From Reno. Take Highway 395/Interstate 580 south for 10.7 miles to the Mount Rose Highway exit. Take Mount Rose Highway (NV 431) for 16.0 miles, and at the top of the pass, turn right into the large paved Mount Rose parking area located at 39.313572, -119.897360.

Christopher and Elizabeth Barile

Christopher and Elizabeth Barile

Christopher and Elizabeth Barile have developed a passion for the natural world through hiking. They have hiked thousands of miles together while carrying their two young children on their backs. In addition to summiting over 150 peaks in the Greater Reno area, Christopher and Elizabeth have visited 40 U.S. national parks. Some of their other favorite outdoor activities include backpacking, camping, snowshoeing, and birding. Both Christopher and Elizabeth have advanced degrees in chemistry from Stanford University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Christopher is a chemistry professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, and Elizabeth is an artist and educator. "Base Camp Reno: 101 Hikes From Sage to Snow" will be in bookstores and everywhere online April 5, 2022.

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