Since Boundary Peak straddles the border between Nevada and California it can be debated if it is truly a Nevada Peak, but it is accepted as being the high point of Nevada. (The highest point totally within the state is Wheeler Peak near Ely.)
What cannot be debated is that it is a great desert peak climb complete with expansive views including bristlecone pines and often, wild horses. At 13,140 feet in height it is on par with many Sierra Peaks and is a tremendous viewpoint looking far to the east over the seemingly-endless basins and ranges of Nevada.
Our route is primarily a use trail, or no trail at all, with talus hopping and easy scrambling.
The ascent can be done in a long day but we prefer to camp the night before near the base to reduce the driving time on our ascent day. In previous years we used to take the Queen Canyon route but improvements to the road coming up Trail Canyon from the east now allow passenger vehicle access to a wonderful high desert campsite.
Since we drive to about 9850 feet and then hike from there any time you can spend beforehand camping at 7-8,000 feet will also significantly aid in your acclimatization.
Day 1: Meet in Bishop and then drive to a car camp at about 8000 feet in Trail Canyon north of Benton over the border into Nevada. This is about a 2-hour drive from Bishop and as of 2020 is passenger vehicle accessible via a rough 4×4 track. Our delightful campsite is alongside a small meadow with a bubbling creek nearby. We will have dinner and be in bed early, intending to make an early start so as to beat the potential for afternoon thunderstorms.
Day 2: The next day we hike along the creek through willows and meadows gradually climbing until we hit the first steep climb up to the ridge crest.
Somewhere here the trail deteriorates into braided options through talus. We climb a steep slope directly towards the summit with a final scramble over large talus blocks onto the high point of Nevada at over 13,000 feet. We retrace our tracks back down aiming to arrive mid afternoon at the vehicles.
Distance: ~8 miles round-trip; Elevation gain: ~3500 feet
This will be a primarily off trail hike. You need to feel comfortable carrying a day pack across this type of terrain so prior cross country experience is suggested. This is a high elevation trip and prior hiking experience above 10,000 feet is advised.
Price includes guiding, permits, tents, kitchen gear, breakfast, lunch and dinner (you bring hot/cold drinks and snack items). Scheduled dates include USFS trail fees. Private programs do not.
Local accommodation is not included.
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Boundary Peak Map
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