Page Contributor(s): Ravi Raju, San Jose, CA, USA; Jennie Hamiter, Minden, NV, USA.
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Cycling Old Clear Creek Road, Nevada
Ride 9.3 miles gaining 2,380’ at 4.8% average grade.
This is a fun little climb out of Carson City, Nevada’s state capitol.
State capitol building.
Oddly, on the Google Maps, the first few miles of this route are called Old Lincoln Highway (Highway 50 generally parallels our route as we climb and that is called “Lincoln Highway”). However, as can be seen from the street sign just up from the start, the road is marked throughout as “Old Clear Creek Road.”
Signs about half a mile from the start of the climb.
Nice input from Jennie Hamiter, Minden, NV:
“I wasn’t sure if you were interested in taking the road all the way to the top of Spooner, vs getting on Highway 50 at that onramp about 1/3 of the way up Spooner. If you’re on a road bike, then you’ll want to take that onramp onto 50.
If you continue on Old Clear Creek Rd, the road gets skinnier and more dilapidated, with some patches of dirt for 10-50 feet, and if I recall there’s at least 1 swampy area. I did it on a gravel bike a couple summers ago, and it becomes an adventure, but it’s fun to do it once anyway. The worst part is that at the top of Old Clear Creek, where it dumps you out on 50 not too far from the summit, there’s a concrete barrier across Hiway 50 so you have to go the wrong way up the hi way for quarter/half a mile, and there’s a concrete barrier on the side of the road, too, so you can’t even get off the road.
Fun terrain to explore. Have fun!”
There are neat rock formations and climbing wall at mile 1.5.
The road is a bit rugged in spots but can be done on a road bike.
Veer left precisely at mile 4.5 - it is not obvious - we missed this turn . . . more than once . . . 😒
Our GPS tracks are not supposed to look like that!
O.k. - here’s the thing about this climb - from nearly the start and for many times along the climb you will see “no trespass” and “locked gate ahead” signs. We were alerted to this in advance and consulted with several Strava members who had ridden this route before - their comments are below. The only closed and locked gate we encountered was at mile 4.6 and that was for a very short stretch of road (about 100 yards). Our conclusion is (1) ride at your own risk and (2) it seems o.k., just be respectful and cautious.
Our #1 tip for this ride - do it during the summer . . .
Left photo: View back towards Carson City;
Right photo: View of Old Clear Creek junction with Highway 50.
Photo right: Old Clear Creek merges onto Highway 50 at mile 8.7, leaving 0.6 miles riding against Highway 50 traffic to the summit. There is a significant barrier dividing four lanes of Highway 50 where Old Clear Creek merges with the Highway. This is the sketchiest part of the ride, and you should probably turn right and just ride down Highway 50 to Golf Course Drive about four miles down on the right and merge back onto Old Clear Creek there - or, just ride back down bumpy and rough Old Clear Creek. However, we did (foolishly?) ride against traffic to the top - not recommended.
Below are Strava members’ responses to my question: “I would like to ride Old Clear Creek from Carson City to the top - do you know if the road generally ok to use by cyclists even though it is apparently technically on private property?”
#1: “Old Clear Creek is fine. You’ll be o.k.”
#2: “It says private road, however it is the old Hwy 50. I think they are just trying to keep potential campers and looky Lew’s out! I’ve ridden it many times!
#3: “Old Clear Creek is in pretty rough shape, but rideable.”
#4: “The road has been in dispute for many years, but cyclist friends of mine who have contacted Carson City have been assured it's a public road. I've never been hassled by anyone when I've ridden up it, in fact drivers and dog walkers have always been friendly, but there's been the odd report of riders who have been hassled.”
That’s a wrap!!