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Virginia City Hill Climb

Updated on January 17, 2013

Most challenging and fastest Father's Day weekend destination

The Virginia City Hill Climb in Nevada's historic mining town will always be the most rip-roaring and exhilirating Father's Day road racing experience in my husband's life. Where else in the world can a truck route be blocked off for the open-track weekend by the local law enforcement so that 70 high-horsepowered cool cars can be turned loose every 60 seconds on a 5 1/2 mile stretch of paved road with 21 turns and a 1216-foot rise in elevation to see how fast they can complete the hill in record time. It is a solo race against the clock.

All photos belong to me (Bakerwoman) and on Flickr as jennysh_who.

What is the Virginia City Hill Climb? - Rip-roaring open-track weekend

The Virginia City Hill Climb is an annual car event co-sponsored by the Ferrari Club of America Pacific Region and the Northern California Shelby club. The club rents a stretch of the Nevada State Highway for the open-track weekend which is blocked by the local law enforcement for club members' use only. Hill climbs have a long tradition going back to the early days of motoring competition.

Highway 341 North from SIlver City to Virginia City is the 5.5 miles of paved road with 21 turns and 1216-ft elevation that makes up the hill climb. Shelbys and Ferrari 360, 355, 430, Spyder, Testarossa, Daytona in reds, whites, blues, and yellow zigzag on both lanes to see who gets to the top of the hill in record time. Highway 342 is the return route for cars that have completed the run up the hill and drivers will have to drive with caution as this becomes a public highway again.

Horsepower, handling, age and condition of the car are only some factors that can get one as the King of the Hill. And what kind of prize does the fastest driver get? A trophy, and for the honorable mentions, smaller trophies; and for those that were lagging behind, bragging rights.

The drive is not always smooth as there may be mechanical failures, blown engines, going offroad on some of the blind bends, to name a few. The local sheriffs, fire truck, ambulance and paramedics are at hand to deal with occasional mishaps.

Highway 341 is the same truck route that was used to haul ore during the gold and silver rushes of the 1850s which made Virginia City the riches spot on earth. It is also referred to locally by the Nevada Department of Transportation as the Comstock HIghway.

Early birds get the best parking spots

Photo Credit: jennysh_who

The early birds parked their Ferrari "prancing horses" while waiting for the arrival of 50-70 more cars. It is not surprising that all were red, except for our silver car. As you can see from the picture, this highly social weekend has all the conveniences available for the participants.

Number 77C

Photo Credit: jennysh_who

Racers were separated into groups as indicated by the sticker on the side of the car. Our car belonged to Group C. All drivers took their turns as volunteers aside from completing the hill climb. The flag men were stationed at the beginning and end of the course, and corner workers communicated any spinouts, crashes, engine problems with their walkie talkies. It was teamwork and good-natured rivalry at their best.

Our car did not go "braless" - Some cars chose to go "topless"

Photo Credit: jennysh_who

More drivers showed up with their cool cars and spent time exchanging stories about their past hill climb experiences. Every hill climb event has its own unique ups and downs, literally. One driver was saved by a tree; there are only 3 guardrails along the hill climb course. Like every sport event, there is a lot of risk-taking involved.

My husband made sure his 360 Modena F1 was not "braless" to keep rocks from dinging the car when going at high speed. Unfortunately, that did not prevent the car from spinning around 1 1/2 turns.

Gentlemen, start your engines - Cars get in line

Photo Credit: jennysh_who

Gentlemen, start your engines!! The race begins and every 60 seconds, a high-performance Ferrari, vibrant in red, fly yellow, blue or silver grey tears down the highway with a familiar loud hum on its way to the top of the hill. This is where high horsepower, driving skill, and ability to accelerate to the high elevation (1216-ft) in the shortest amount of time along a 5.5 mile course becomes a challenge.

Red Ferrari 355 Spyder

Photo Credit: jennysh_who

H ere we see a red Ferrari 355 Spyder let loose and zigzagging with wild abandon up the Hill Climb route at full throttle. You can smell the hot oil and rubber. Three-quarter of the way is an uphill climb to 1,216-ft elevation with 21 turns and a few straight routes and the last quarter of the course is mostly flat. The fastest time up the hill was 3:10 by a Ferrari F40. My husband was at 3:56 in his 360 modena F1 and received a gag prize.

Where else would you get a thumbs up from a Sheriff for speeding up the hill?

Read more about the Virginia City Hill Climb with all the details

Ferrari Club of America Pacific Region Virginia City Hill Climb History Photo Album

Conquering the Last Frontier - cool blog not to be missed

Experience the sights and sounds of the Virginia City Hill Climb - Turn on your volume

Nothing sounds so distinctive as the hum of a high-horsepowered car engine. As most car nuts would say, the engine is music to their ears. Here are excellent videos of the Virginia Hill Climb with Ferraris and Shelbys making the rounds. Some of them have a videocam inside the race car so you can vicariously experience the exhiliration and excitement of the Hill Climb, 21 turns, screeching tires and all.

Virginia City holds a special place in history of the West and America - A unique place to take dad on Father's Day

You do not have to be a car club member to enjoy Virginia City. There is more to Virginia City than meets the eye. The great author, Samuel Clemens became Mark Twain in Virginia City; grubby prospectors became instant millionaries because of the Comstock Lode of the gold and silver rushes of the 1850s; the tv series Bonanza brought back to life a declining city. The Old West with its historic buildings and saloons are still preserved as they were during the bonanza years. Take the mine tours and visit the museum and shops.

Books and DVDs about the rich history of Virginia CIty - The Old West and Boomtown and hill climb cars

Virginia CIty is rich with history of the old mines which made it the riches spot on earth during the gold and silver boom of th 1850s. The Old West with its wooden sidewalks, buildings, saloons and even bawdy houses were part of what made Virginia City a boomtown where prospectors from all over the world came here and made it rich. Even the TV series Bonanza has a fictional Ponderosa Ranch near Virginia City which made this once thriving and raucous town come back to life.

The Roar and the Silence: A History of Virginia City and the Comstock Lode (Shepperson Series in History Humanities)
The Roar and the Silence: A History of Virginia City and the Comstock Lode (Shepperson Series in History Humanities)

An excellent book that brings to life the boom and bust of the Comstock Lode that made Virginia City the richest spot on earth during gold and silver rush of the 1850s.

This book will will hold your interest from beginning till end.

Boomtown Saloons: Archaeology And History In Virginia City (Shepperson Series in Nevada History)
Boomtown Saloons: Archaeology And History In Virginia City (Shepperson Series in Nevada History)

Archaeologist and author Kelly J. Dixon unveils the stories behind the old mining town's saloons, of powerful men and politicians who passed their leisure time in these drinking places, the intrigues that went on in these establishments aside from the raucous happenings expected from saloons. Artifacts and remains of old saloons paint a different picture from what the stereotypical images of drinking houses portrayed in the cinema.

Death at Dawn
Death at Dawn

The NBC produced tv series brought back to life Virginia CIty through the Cartwright family. There series ran from 1959-1973 and people from around the world sought to visit Virginia City due to the shows' popularity.

FERRARI DVD: Victory by Design. historic, race-winning cars driven hard. Unique footage of rare cars, hidden in private collections; until now.
FERRARI DVD: Victory by Design. historic, race-winning cars driven hard. Unique footage of rare cars, hidden in private collections; until now.

This DVD will make a perfect Father's Day gift for the car enthusiasts. Outstanding reviews of one of the world's most outstanding cars with great stories, gorgeous photography and camera work. This is as close as one can get to one of these red beauties. Turn up the volume to appreciate the sound of the engine.

Shelby Cobra Fifty Years
Shelby Cobra Fifty Years

This has to be one of the best books ever written about the Shelby AC Cobra. Great photos and descriptions of the Shelby through 50 years will leave you spellbound. Another great Father's Day present for the car enthusiast for a car that is uniquely American.


Timeout! Let me know you stopped by.

Timeout! Let me know you stopped by.
Timeout! Let me know you stopped by.

I would love to hear from you - Wasn't this a great Father's Day destination?

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    • biminibahamas profile image

      biminibahamas 5 years ago

      Sounds like fun!

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 5 years ago

      I'm sure many father's would love this experience. Great job on this lens.

    • profile image

      Sanja94 5 years ago

      Excellent lens, nice cars:)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      i live in nevada, definitely going to check this out

    • NightMagic profile image

      NightMagic 5 years ago

      Good Lens. I loved the video and doll.

    • Scotties-Rock profile image

      Clairissa 5 years ago from OREFIELD, PA

      The Virginia Hill Climb looks fun! I wish I lived closer. :)

    • jlshernandez profile image

      jlshernandez 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Errm, thanks for the comment in the form of a humorous limerick. So glad you enjoyed the Viriginia HIll Climb in NV.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      There was a hot lady, her name? Mata Hari!

      She went to the desert to drive a Ferrari.

      The heat was so bad that she wore a silk sari.

      By the end of the day her hair looked Rastafari!

      Then they went to a restaurant and ate calamari.

      Next year she plans to go on a safari.

      ....I think I need a timeout!


      Very nice story about driving in NV.