Arc Dome Wilderness Trails
Hike and Trail
It's tempting to hike the Summit Trail north to south, beginning at the cross-mountain road in Kingston Canyon and working toward the climax of Arc Dome. But in fact there are climaxes all along, and by starting at the south - as described in John Hart's book, Hiking the Great Basin, you miss some taxing uphill grades.
South Twin River Trail and North Twin River Trail
A good trails runs up South Twin River from canyon mouth to crest, continuing over into the Reese River country on the western slope. Trails also follow Jett Creek and North Twin, but instead of reaching the main crest, they link to the South Twin River Trail part way along. These trails combine to offer a choice of loops without being concerned about having water at campsites.
The various gorges offer exciting possibilities for day hikes from a base camp established lower in one of the valleys. In South Twin and North Twin, the trail fords constantly. In spring, the rivers can be deep and cold. By August they dwindle, and wading is pleasant. By September the fords can be jumped. In the South Fork at places, the walls of the gorges are only 30 feet apart and sheer: fracture patterned, lichenous, and, in places, overhanging.
South Twin trail is located on the west side of Big Smokey Valley and is signed on Hwy 376. The trail is accessible from a footpath at the trailhead and is suitable for horse or foot traffic.
North Twin River trail is also located on the west side of Big Smokey Valley and is signed on Hwy 376. This trail is easily followed along the North Twin River. Note: The first fork to the north has a trail that leads to the Crest Trail near Ophir Summit. The North Twin River trail follows the North Twin River and is easily followed. The first fork to the north offers a trail that leads to the Crest Trail near Ophir Summit. This trail may be a tad hard to find. The next fork to the north offers another trail that leads to the Crest Trail. This one is marked. At the tree stump marked "Crest Tr" turn left and coninue up the hogsback until you find the trail again.
Peavine Trail and Tom's Canyon Trail
Peavine and Tom's Canyon trails can be reached by taking the Peavine Campground turnoff of Hwy 376. Follow the gravel road to the end for Tom's Canyon trail. For Peavine Canyon trail, turn left 5 miles past the campground. The Peavine Canyon trail follows Peavine Creek and is an old jeep road. This trail leads past an old ranch site before coming down to the river near the administration site. Tom's Canyon trail has one steep place and then tops out with a view. Follow this trail down to the river via Trail Creek. Both trails are signed.
Columbine Jeep Trail
The quickest and easiest trails to Arc Dome, both about 7 miles long, begin at Columbine Campground at 8,600 feet on the western flank of the range. Here a pleasant Forest Service site offers camping in aspens on a creek bank. Allow 5 hours minimum for the one-way climb. A duller, but simpler, hike is up the old zigzag Columbine Jeep trail. This 4-mile hike is straightforward and is also passable for horses.
Cow Canyon Trail
Cow Canyon trailhead is reached by driving north out of Tonopah on Hwy 95 to the Gabbs Poleline Road. Take the Poleline Road to the Cloverdale turnoff, to the east. After passing the old Cloverdale Ranch there is a turnoff to the east, take this road to one mile beyond the Cloverdale Summit where there is another turnoff to the south. Follow this road and take the first turn to the left to Cow Canyon trailhead. The trail starts off going down for one mile to the Reese River. Follow the trail that goes to the north, to anywhere in this wilderness.
Jett Canyon Trail
Jett Canyon, North and South Twin River trails are on the west side of Big Smokey Valley and are signed on Hwy 376. Jett Canyon trail does not connect with the South Fork of South Twin River. It is scenic, but short, ending after 5 miles. From its end, you can travel cross country for a real wilderness experience. The South Twin River trail is accessed from a foot path at the trailhead. The path is visible from the trailhead going up the side of the slope and is suitable for horse or foot traffic. There is a road from the trailhead to the South Twin Mine. Walk around the gate and use the road that follows the river as far as the mine. There is one steep place at the first mile point. When you get to the north fork of the river, before the mine, follow it into some beautiful country. Go to the summit and then drop off into the Reese River Valley. A mile before the summit there is a trail to the north that leads to the top of Arc Dome. About 8 miles up this river is a trail across to the North Twin River.
Stewart Creek Trail
The Stewart Creek trail leads out of the Columbine Campground to Arc Dome Summit. This trail may be reached by driving north out of Tonopah and taking the Gabbs Poleline Road. At the Cloverdale turnoff, take the road to the east, just past the Old Cloverdale Ranch, take the turnoff to the Reese River Administrative Site. Follow this road for 30 miles and turn east on FN Road 017 and follow it to the end, which is the Columbine Campground.