(72 miles, 6-7 days)
In the big empty of central Nevada, the Toiyabe Range rises like a line of afternoon thunderheads. Of Nevada’s 314 mountain ranges, it is the longest and consistently highest, topping 10,000 feet across an uninterrupted 50 miles. Riding on or just off the ridgeline, the Toiyabe Crest Trail exposes thru-hikers to all of the range’s extremes, from sere sage to cool aspen, windswept summits to beaver-dammed marsh, and cattle-cussed rangelands to pristine meadow. The TCT was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, and in some sections, it might seem that trail maintenance hasn’t been done since.
The route’s rough edges mean you better check yourself: If you haven’t stalked a trail that habitually disappears before your eyes, toted 18 pounds of water at a time for purposes of dry camping, and trekked in utter isolation, then skip the Toiyabe Crest. This trek is for experienced desert hikers with polished navigation skills. (775) 964-2671; fs.fed.us/r4/htnf
The way South trailhead: From Tonopah, go 59.7 miles north on NV 376 to a left on South Twin Rd. (FR 080), then go four miles west. North trailhead: on Kingston Creek Rd., eight miles west of NV 376 just beyond Groves Lake.
Season Mid-June (after snow melts) to mid-July (before water sources go dry)
Guidebook and mapsHiking Nevada, by Bruce Grubbs ($16, falcon.com); USGS quads Arc Dome, South Toiyabe Peak, Tierney Creek, Brewer Canyon, Bunker Hill, and North Toiyabe Peak ($9 each, store.usgs.gov)