Toiyabe Crest Trail Loop

The northern half of the Toiyabe Crest Trail (TCT) is open to bikes, and it's a must-ride for anyone who loves remote singletrack traversals along the spine of a towering mountain range. This loop begins with a *steep* 4x4 road climb up Ophir Canyon to reach the TCT, followed by 35 miles of mostly singletrack on the TCT.

Austin, nv

western Shoshone lands




riding season


days out


PHYSICAL challenge (1-10*)


recommended tire size




TECHNICAL challenge (1-10*)

General route description

Any trail with the word crest in its name stands to be a grand one, and the Toiyabe Crest Trail (TCT) is just that. Although the southern half of the trail is closed to bikes within the Arc Dome Wilderness, the northern half of the trail ~35 miles is open to bikes. And it’s not just open to bikes, a group of passionate mountain bikers has been brushing the trail, doing some tread work, and resurrecting the trail as it was being reclaimed by the mountains. Yes, it’s only 35 miles, but it’s 35 miles that is well worth your time and energy – there are very, very few Great Basin ranges with rideable singletrack along their crest. 

The route as described here starts at the base of Ophir Canyon at the southeastern edge of this loop and is best ridden clockwise. Parking on BLM land below the mouth of Ophir Canyon sets riders up for an incredibly steep climb up a 4×4 road, gaining 4,000 feet in 7 miles. Expect some hike-a-bike. There’s also water reliably in the lower part of Ophir Creek below the mining ghost town of Ophir. At the top of this immense climb, riders are above tree line, on top of the range, and at the TCT! Singletrack heads north from the road, climbing a bit more amidst huge views – more basins and more ranges as far as the eye can see in all directions. The trail is a ribbon of dirt in some places, loose rocks in others. After a few miles on the crest proper, the trail cuts down along the west side of the highest ridge and traverses steep sage-covered slopes from one aspen grove to the next. These groves glow vividly in October, giving vibrant color to the otherwise grey-green landscape.

The trail traverses a series of drainages on this west side of the range, and a few of them generally offer a small flow of water. Short sections of steep ATV trail and 4×4 track interrupt the more reasonably-graded singletrack. Past Washington Creek, a 1,500-foot singletrack climb ascends back to the top of the range through gnarled old-growth bristlecone pines before plunging 3,000′ down to the northern end of the TCT at Big Creek Road (a small trailhead parking area here offers another convenient place to start/end this loop).

The remainder of the loop is on roads – a few miles down to the old mining town of Kingston, and then 22 miles south on the relatively quiet Hwy 379. Kingston is mostly homes and cabins, but there’s a chance the old Lucky Spur Saloon will be open when you pass through.

If you’d rather just ride a piece of the TCT, a nice day ride to get a taste of the trail is on the west side of the range up San Juan Creek (mostly 4×4 road with some trail toward the end), north on the TCT, and down the Washington Gulch Trail. 

Photos by Kurt Refsnider

route map & GPS Data

Click on the orange route title in the upper left of the map to see the route and download options on RWGPS  

Disclaimer: This route and associated information is just a starting point for your preparation, and your safety is your own responsibility. Although this route, its GPS track and waypoints, route data, and the route guide were prepared after extensive research, their accuracy and reliability are not guaranteed. Check for current conditions, route updates, detours, use common sense, obey local laws and regulations, and travel with alternative means of navigation. We are in no way be responsible for personal injury or damage to personal property arising in conjunction with following this route or utilizing any of the route resources provided on this website or via RWGPS.

additional route information

  • This is the desert. Water is scarce, and it is wise to never rely 100% on any of the “generally reliable” water sources included here.
  • Carry far more water than you’ll likely need!
  • A water capacity of at least 3-4 liters per person is strongly recommended.
  • All water sources should be treated.
  • There are no services along this route other than the Lucky Spur Saloon in Kingston that may or may not be open.
  • Virtually the entirety of this route is on public lands managed by the Humbolt-Toiyabe National Forest (in the mountains) and the BLM (along Hwy 379).
  • Camping is permitted almost anywhere along the route other than within 1/4 mile of water sources and on parcels of private property along Hwy 379 that are clearly signed.
  • No permits are required.
  • Much of the highest miles of the TCT are very exposed on the range crest
  • This is a remote route. Help is not going to arrive quickly if anything goes wrong.
  • Some of the route can become impassible when wet due to sticky clay-rich mud.