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Nevada's wilderness gem: the Jarbidge.

JARBIDGE. NOT Jarbidge. That's the first thing tenderfeet learn. When you've urged your horse to the flank of Cougar Peak, and you're gazing out at a vista that encompasses Nevada and Idaho, you want to know how to pronounce where you are. So don't go adding that second r.

The Jarbidge Mountains rise along the Nevada-Idaho border, roughly 70 miles southwest of Twin Falls, Idaho, and 80 miles north of Elko, Nevada.

The mountains, volcanic in origin, rise like a fortress from the surrounding desert, their lower slopes rounded and sage green, their upper peaks--Cougar and Matterhorn and God's Pocket--lifting 10,000 feet and higher. Once you're exploring them, the Jarbidges become remarkably companionable mountains: compact, laced by 125 miles of trails, and beautifully varied.


The usual season for exploring the wilderness is mid-June into October; the wilderness gets heaviest use during hunting season, from early August through mid-October.

Trek the Jarbidge two ways: by foot or on horseback. Most backpackers enter from the wilderness's western boundary, at Snowslide Gulch trailhead, a little south of the town of Jarbidge. Maps and brochures are available from the Forest Service. Write or call Jarbidge Ranger District, Humboldt National Forest, 1008 Burley Ave., Buhl, Idaho 83316; (208) 543-4129.

We saw the Jarbidge on horseback and had a great time. Three outfitters lead trips into the wilderness. All three have many years of experience in this country. Trips average $675 to $850 per person and up for a six-day expedition, everything included. The outfitters can also arrange shorter and longer trips. Call or write for more information.

Jarbidge Wilderness Guide & Packing, Lowell Prunty, Murphy's Hot Springs, Rogerson, Idaho 83302; (800) 621-0154.

Prunty Ranch Guide/Outfitter Service, HC 35 Box 280, Mountain City, Nev. 89831; (702) 758-7882.

Smith Family, Cottonwood Ranch, HC 68 Box 300, Wells, Nev. 89835; (702) 752-3604 or (916) 832-4861.

Finally, in the tiny mining town of Jarbidge is a surprisingly civilized bed-and-breakfast: the Tsawhawbitts Ranch, with rooms from $65. Write or call the ranch, Box 260090, Jarbidge, Nev. 89826; (702) 488-2338.
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Title Annotation:Jarbidge Mountains
Author:Fish, Peter
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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