• Activities:

    Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    10.4 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    4000 Feet

Scenic

Hike to the summit of Nevada's tallest mountain, Boundary Peak (13,140'), and check off another state highpoint while enjoying desert views for days.

Boundary Peak received its name because it straddles the border of California and Nevada. While technically in Nevada, just a few hundred feet away lies its taller neighbor Montgomery Peak (13,442') in California. Many people bag both peaks at once, but the rotten rock and unstable trail make Montgomery a much more technical feat.

Warning: This is a very remote trailhead. Pack plenty of food, water, fuel up your gas tank before. Be prepared for anything, there is virtually no cell phone service in the area, and the trail is seldom busy. Temperature can rise or fall 20+ degrees in a matter of hours.

Let’s talk about getting there. You’ll find the beginning of a gravel road 9 miles east of Benton off of Highway 6, on your right (south) side of the road, just across from an abandoned ranch (see Summitpost for more detailed directions). I realize now that many of the sites I was using as a reference were as many as a dozen years old, and the 6.2 mile gravel road between Highway 6 and Queen Mine has severely deteriorated since then. Use a high-clearance 4WD vehicle and make sure your car is in top condition - no tow trucks will be reaching this trailhead.

Queen Mine is a large flat area next to a couple of open mine shafts. Another road, even more deteriorated than the first and largely unused, is used to hike in 1 mile and 700 vertical feet up to the trailhead register at Kennedy Point.

This is where you'll really start feeling the altitude, around 10,000 ft. It doesn't take too long to ascend the first ridge, which flattens out after just a thousand feet into a nice sloping meadow where you can see wild horses, deer, and marmots. The Trail Canyon saddle slopes down to the left of this ridge and is unofficially “marked” with a pile of rocks and logs that created a perfect morning break spot to fuel up and hydrate before tackling the peak.

The first views are breathtaking - you can see your summit goal! But they are also intimidating - you have a long way to go.

Once you descend into the Trail Canyon saddle, you'll be walking up towards the false summit to your right. Don't get your hopes up, you have a lot more work to do. The trail is reasonably sloped, covered in rocks and scree. It might take just as much time to go up as it does to return because of these unstable conditions. Overall, the trail is well-defined, and you shouldn't have too much of a problem finding the path if you do wander off. There are times you may choose to follow rock paths and boulder up to avoid unnecessary elevation gain or loss, but the ridge is relatively easy to follow.

Reaching the summit should feel like quite the accomplishment! You can see across Nevada and over to the Sierras and Yosemite region of California. On the top, Montgomery Peak (13,442′) looms back at you from California.

Return down the way you ascended and use the ridge as a natural handrail to keep track of your route. 

A few resources I found really helpful before this climb…

Pack List

  • Plenty of water - no opportunity for refill
  • Plenty of food - very remote trailhead
  • Plenty of fuel - no gas station nearby
  • Plenty of clothing - freak thunderstorms occur often
  • Sun protection
  • Emergency aids - no cell phone service
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Reviews

Overall rating: 

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This is a challenging but fun hike. Climbed it this memorial day, and the trail is nearly snow free. Perfect climb to get away from the crowds and still enjoy those amazing mountain views. The queens mine rd is an easy drive with a 4x4 vehicle all the way to the saddle/trailhead. Two wheel drive vehicles should be able to make it to Queens Mine if you take it slow. There aren't any major washouts, pot holes or rock fall on the road. Also some wild mustangs near the road, which was an awesome bonus.

9 months ago
9 months ago

Rachel Davidson Explorer

Mountain climbing, trail running, and writing all about it. New to Seattle! Hit me up to show me around or go on an adventure.

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