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Home > United States > Nevada > Ruby Mountains, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forests

Ruby Mountains, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forests, Nevada (View Photos):

The Ruby Mountains have been referred to as Nevada's most scenic mountain range. Ice age glacial activity has worked wonders on this landscape, producing sharp ridges and hanging valleys that bear a striking resemblance to some of Yosemite's high country.

The Ruby Mountains are part of the Great Basin region which is situated between the Wasatch Mountains in Utah and the Sierra Nevada range in California. This basin and range country is characterized by arid sagebrush desert and stark, windswept mountain ranges that stand in splendid isolation. It is one of the wildest and most sparsely populated areas in the continental United States. There is a raw, primordial quality to the landscape which has to be experienced first hand. Few tourists bother to explore these mountains, although the Great Basin's scenery is easily comparable to any other part of the West.

This is especially true of the Ruby Mountains. Alpine lakes are sprinkled throughout these rugged peaks and an intriguing variety of wildlife can be found here, including (transplanted) Himalayan snowcock, mountain lions, bighorn sheep and elk.

The easiest way to explore the Rubies is to drive up Lamoille Canyon on Forest Road 660 near Elko Nevada. The paved 12-mile drive passes roadside exhibits and overlooks explaining the geology of Lamoille Canyon, a deep trough formed by powerful glacial action. As you continue the drive, you will see willow thickets, aspen groves and lush meadows containing wildflowers and grasses.

At the end of the drive, you enter a parking lot and it is here where the spectacular Ruby Crest National Recreation Trail begins. It would be hard to imagine a more beautiful trailhead. A fantastic ring of peaks rises above sub-alpine forests, an enchanting sight that invites serious exploration.

Recommended Day Hikes:
Ruby Crest National Recreation Trail
Round Trip Length: 10 miles
Trailhead location: The parking lot at the end of Lamoille Canyon Scenic Drive (FR 660) in Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
Attractions: The Ruby Crest trail is 40 miles long, but day hikers only need to rough it on the first 5 miles in order to access some of the prime scenery. Climbing upwards from the parking lot trailhead, this astounding section of the trail supplies a non-stop cavalcade of gorgeous sights, including glacial mountain peaks, whitebark pine forests, and crystalline alpine lakes. Day hikers should stop when they arrive at a rock ledge overlooking Liberty Lake, an alpine jewel. Return the same way you came.

Helpful travel tips and observations
The nearest town to the entrance of Lamoille Canyon is Elko, a small, isolated community, but with enough services to make your stay in the area comfortable. The scenic drive is closed in winter.

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Photos: Page 1 > Page 2

Aspens glowing on the slopes of Lamoille Canyon, Ruby Mountains, (September 2009)

Aspens lighting up the sides of Lamoille Canyon, Ruby Mountains

Aspens adding color to Lamoille Canyon, Ruby Mountains, (September 2009)

Aspens turning on the slopes of Lamoille Canyon, Ruby Mountains

Viewing an alpine paradise from the Dollar Lakes area, Ruby Crest National Recreation Trail, (September 2009)

Dollar Lakes area, Ruby Crest National Recreation Trail

Aspens adding color to Lamoille Canyon, Ruby Mountains, (September 2009)

Aspens turning on the slopes of Lamoille Canyon, Ruby Mountains

Dollar Lakes area, Ruby Crest National Recreation Trail, (September 2009)

Dollar Lakes area, Ruby Crest National Recreation Trail

Liberty Lake, Ruby Crest National Recreation Trail, (September 2009)

Liberty Lake, Ruby Crest National Recreation Trail

Jagged peaks as viewed from the Ruby Crest National Recreation Trail, (September 2009)

Ruby Crest National Recreation Trail

Aspens glowing on the slopes of Lamoille Canyon, Ruby Mountains, (September 2009)

Aspens glowing on the slopes of Lamoille Canyon, Ruby Mountains

Photos: Page 1 > Page 2

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