The Pinyon Trail is a 5-mile round-trip hike located about 7 miles east of Gardnerville. This trail is open to hikers, equestrians, mountain bikers, and dogs. This trail project was funded and built by the Carson Valley Trails Association in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management and Douglas County.
Trail Overview: The Pinyon Trail is a hand-constructed, non-motorized single track trail open to hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, and dogs. From the trailhead, the trail gently climbs for just over a mile to a trail junction. At this junction, trail users can go either direction on the three-mile loop portion of the trail. The return trip back to the trailhead from the junction results in a round-trip trail distance of about 5.2 miles. Taking the loop twice extends the length to about 8.2 miles.
The trail wraps around a large hill with continuous views of the Pine Nut and Carson Ranges. Nevada’s state tree, the single-leaf pinyon pine, grows throughout the trail system along with Utah junipers. The trail elevation ranges from 5,700 feet at the trailhead to about 6,060 feet, and has a gentle grade of about 5%. The trail surface is generally soil with patches of bedrock. There are no water sources along this trail or at the trailhead.
Trailhead Location: The Pinyon Trailhead is a one-way design that accommodates autos and horse trailers; autos park parallel on the left side and horse trailers park parallel on the right side. If additional parking is needed, there is space along the road shoulder or the opposite side of Pinenut Road 2. There are no restrooms or trash amenities; please pack out any trash and dog/horse waste from around the trailhead.
The trailhead is located about 6.7 miles east of Gardnerville, starting from the Hwy 395 traffic light intersection with Riverview Drive and Muller Parkway. This is next to the 7-Eleven convenience store. The first 4.4 miles are paved and the last 2.3 miles are gravel. From this intersection, set your trip odometer…
- 0.0 mi - Head east on Muller Parkway.
- 0.2 miles - Turn right at the round-about which becomes Pinenut Road. Just a short ways past East Valley Road, stay on the main road as it veers slightly to the right. 2.4 mi - Turn left on Pinenut Road 2. You will pass the Ruhenstroth and Single Tree OHV Access areas. 4.4 mi – This is a Y-junction in which the paved road goes left and becomes Out-R-Way Road. You will go right here on the graveled portion of Pinenut Road 2. 6.7 mi – Turn left at the signed entrance to the Pinyon Trailhead. The graveled portion of Pinenut Road 2 is a wide, maintained
- 2.4 mi - Turn left on Pinenut Road 2. You will pass the Ruhenstroth and Single Tree OHV Access areas.
- 4.4 mi – This is a Y-junction in which the paved road goes left and becomes Out-R-Way Road. You will go right here on the graveled portion of Pinenut Road 2.
- 6.7 mi – Turn left at the signed entrance to the Pinyon Trailhead.
The graveled portion of Pinenut Road 2 is a wide, maintained public road. Washboards sometimes develop on the road, and may be muddy during winter, so drive at a safe and reasonable speed. Watch for merging traffic at the Y-junction of Out-R-Way/Pinenut Road 2.
Trail Courtesy: Be courteous and respectful of each other on the trail.
- Hikers should be aware of mountain bikers and equestrians also using the trail. Dogs do not need to be leashed, but as usual, should be controlled and trail friendly.
- Mountain bikers should keep speeds controlled and ride cautiously where sight lines are limited, and remember hikers and equestrians have the right-of-way. The trail is not steep and is considered a rather gentle, undulating trail that novice and experienced bikers can both enjoy, similar in some respect to the Clear Creek Trail. Short sections do gather speed, so maintain control and be aware there are winding areas and some slow turns.
- Equestrians should be aware that mountain bikers may be on the trail, and cleaning up after your horse at the trailhead is appreciated.
- When approaching equestrians, make yourself clearly visible. Horses can be easily spooked, so it is courteous to speak to the rider in advance so they are aware of you, and then safely move to the downhill side of the trail and let them pass. When approaching from behind, let the rider know you’re coming up behind them so they are not startled. In some cases, equestrians may ask you to step to a specific area so that their horse will not frighten.
- Motorized routes do cross the Pinyon Trail. These locations are signed so use caution when crossing them.
- Private property surrounds much of the trail system. Please be respectful of private land and keep on the signed Pinyon Trail or on motorized cross routes.