Nevada ≠ Vegas. There’s a gem hidden in Nevada’s northeast corner awaiting discovery…a Ruby to be exact.
The Ruby Mountain Range offers a multitude of year-round activities for everyone – extreme outdoor enthusiasts to young explorers will discover snowcapped mountains, alpine lakes, waterfalls, wildflowers, and occasional wildlife in the Rubies. Drive up the Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway and admire glacier-carved canyons while hoping to spot big horned sheep grazing in the rock outcroppings. Along the way you’ll find many trails offering hiking opportunities for all skill levels, leading the adventurer to even more unexpected beauty in what’s otherwise presumed to be a dry, desert, neon state.
The Rubies have been called the “Range of Clouds”, “Nevada’s Swiss Alps” and Andrew at reasonnumber7.com went as far as to say “Lamoille Canyon is the Yosemite Valley of Nevada. Except with 3 billion fewer visitors.” From the roads end trailhead in Lamoille Canyon, there are six trails ranging from two to seven miles, all of which have at least one alpine lake along the way.
For those seeking the greatest challenge, pack your camping gear and head out to hike the Ruby Crest Trail. At 31-43 miles (no two sources agree) and featuring 14 named alpine lakes, the RCT can be covered in one long, intense day or over the course of a week or more depending on how one wants to approach the adventure. While not always clearly marked, there are rock cairns along the way to reassure hikers they’re on the right path. Veteran hikers seem to unanimously recommend starting at Harrison Pass, elevation 7,200’ and ending in Lamoille Canyon at 8,780’. The highest point along the Trail is Wines Peak, reaching 10,893’ in elevation. A point-to-point hike, there is a shuttle service available to get you to the starting point so your car is waiting for you at the end.
Global hiker and RCT veteran Lydia Breidenbaugh, whose photos are featured here, describes the trail as “arid high desert sprinkled with aspen forests on the southern end, sweeping plateaus through the middle, streams, glacial cirques with alpine lakes, and glaciated valleys. The trail is long enough to provide solitude and challenging enough to bring a sense of accomplishment. I’ve made a lot of good memories along this trail and will be back for more.”
Elko, Nevada is located 423 miles north of Las Vegas, conveniently halfway between Reno, Nevada and Salt Lake City, Utah, and halfway from California’s Bay Area to Yellowstone National Park along Interstate 80. Contrary to the neon lights, glitz, and chaos of the south, Elko offers the opportunity to slow down, relax and explore nature, art, culture, and a lively social scene…all after challenging yourself with a hike on the Ruby Crest Trail.
For more information on things to do and places to stay, visit www.ExploreElko.com
Last modified: August 10, 2020