A challenging hike to the summit of Job Peak in the Stillwater Range east of Fallon, NV, via Government Trail Canyon. 3000 ft in 3 miles to the top. Was last here in 1995 with J., this time with M. I didn’t remember crucial details, like the existence or non-existence of a trail. 🙁 The trail beyond the end of the road on the USGS topographical maps has largely disappeared, much to our distress in negotiating the steep slope to the ridge (88% grade for the last 200-ft elevation gain to 8200 ft). It was a very smoky day because of the Moonlight Fire in the Plumas National Forest in northeastern California near Quincy, CA, so we couldn’t see far-off ranges, but the views of the local valleys and playas were spectacular anyway. We also found the geocache at the top.

Photo Album

Track and Profile

Job Peak Geocache (GCJGKX). This must be one of the most difficult-to-reach geocaches around.

Directions: The Job Peak Geocache (GCJGKX) site has good directions, excerpted here for reference with some additional information at the end:

“Take Stillwater Road [East County Road in the Stillwater Wildlife Refuge] out to a waypoint at 39 36.237N 118 22.054W (Waypoint 1, Stillwater Road). This is the road to Pete Canyon. Turn right and follow that road for about a mile to a gate at 39 36.478N 118 21.021W (Waypoint 2, Gate), turn left and go through the gate and then continue along the trail – make sure you close the gate behind you. It gets pretty rocky, so a high clearance vehicle will be necessary, though we never put our vehicle in 4 wheel drive. Of course, that may change depending on weather conditions and the state of the road after rainstorms and such. About a mile and a half past the gate, you’ll come to a fork in the road (39 36.540N 118 19.291W – Waypoint 3, Fork), take the left road. About 2 miles after the fork, you’ll come to a gully, at 39 35.525N 118 17.068W (Waypoint 4, Gully). Almost immediately after you cross the gully, the road will split again. At this point, there are two canyons you can go down, one to the north and one to the south. Work your way to the north canyon, to the left, after you cross the gully. There is a road there, it’s just hard to make out until you round the corner and enter the canyon, but it’s there. About 1 1/2 miles after the gully, at 39 35.510N 118 15.045W (Waypoint 5, Park it), you’ll be about as far as you’ll want to go in a vehicle, unless you like to drive over huge rocks and stuff. In that case, continue to 39 35.547N 118 14.612W (Waypoint 6, definitely park it), where you’ll definitely have to get out and walk. We went up the northern ridgeline and then skirted the top of the ridge to the peak itself.

Waypoint 1: 39 36.237N 118 22.054W (Stillwater Road)
Waypoint 2: 39 36.478N 118 21.021W (Gate)
Waypoint 3: 39 36.540N 118 19.291W (Fork)
Waypoint 4: 39 35.525N 118 17.068W (Gully)

[Wayoint 4.5 – – see below]

Waypoint 5: 39 35.510N 118 15.045W (Park it) or,
Waypoint 6: 39 35.547N 118 14.612W (definitely park it)

The elevation at the last waypoint is about 6800 feet. The hike will take you up almost 2000 feet to 8773 feet.”

But we encountered a bad gully crossing before Waypoint 5. After the front right wheel of our SUV well went into free air in a gully crossing at 39d35.653’N 118d15.975’W (short of waypoint 5), we managed to back out and parked at 5700 ft. Wimpy, perhaps, but it looked like someone else had been stuck there and dug a hole spinning a rear wheel.

We lost the “trail” that’s on the USGS topo map after the end of the Government Trail road (waypoint 6) on both the ascent and descent. That’s bad news because the last 0.2 mile to the main ridgeline by the straight route is a 35 degree slope (no exaggeration, that’s an 88% grade) of loose rock. The only part of the trail that we found (on the descent) that is still reasonably well defined leaves the ridge line at 39d35.343’N 118d14.090’W (look for the small rock cairn), and then we lost it at about 39d35.355’N 118d14.185’W. We probably missed a switchback about there and followed a use trail until that ended. On the rest of the ascent/descent route where the trail is marked on the topo map, we found a number of short indistinct possible trail segments that peetered out again. Be prepared for a steep cross country ascent, but I recommend heading for the lower waypoint above to do the final ascent to the ridgeline on the trail switchbacks. (Below that is not quite so steep and more vegetated.) Once you reach the ridge, there is at best a partial indistinct trail, but it’s relatively easy going.

Statistics:

5.90 mi (2.72 mi uphill, 2.80 mi downhill, 0.24 mi flat)
3000 ft total ascent – 23.4 % uphill grade, 139.9 % downhill grade
7:19:25 total time (4:55:17 moving, 2:24:08 stopped)
0:49:59 pace (1.2 mph average speed, 4.5 mph max speed)
27.2 difficulty, 41.0 effort

Geotag Icon GeoLocator for latitude 39.5942307 longitude -118.2674332