Ruby Mountains Exploration

Last week my wife and I decided to take our second trip up to Northern Nevada to do some hiking up in the Ruby Mountains/Lamoille Canyon National Forest.  For those of you who have not ventured up to this part of our state, it is a beautiful area that is primed for wildlife viewing and great hiking.  It is also one of the least used areas of our state which lends itself to a nice peaceful vacation.

As we did last time, we brought our 2 dogs with us and stayed in a hotel in Elko, Nevada.  Elko is located about 45 minutes from where the Lamoille Canyon trailheads are.  With Elko being much lower in elevation at around 5000 feet, it can be kind of warm in the summer but once you get up to the Lamoille Canyon area the elevation jumps up to around 8800 feet so it is much cooler in the hiking area.

The last time we went there was about 4 years ago in August so we were surprised at how much snow was still on the ground and on the trails.  The dogs of course loved it as it gave them a chance to roll around and cool off.

The first hike we did was up to an alpine lake called Island Lake.  This is approximately 2 miles one way with an elevation of around 950 feet.  This puts the lake at just over 9700 feet.  This was an awesome hike.  Not too steep, with mostly switch backs so the elevation gain was very gradual.  The attached pictures were from this hike.  At the end of the trail is a breathtaking view of the beautiful lake surrounded by snowy mountains.  The water is very cold and actually has floating ice chucks.  The snow runoff from the mountain tops is also a sight to see.

Another hike that we completed was up to Thomas Canyon.  This trail begins at the Thomas Campground which is not all the way the Lamoille Canyon road.  It is about 2.5 miles one way with an elevation gain of about 1250 feet.  This one is much steeper as there are no switch backs.  The trail runs along a creek that leads up to some of the higher mountains in the area.  You can see many waterfalls and there are a few spots to jump in if you can tolerate the cold water.  The dogs and I both jumped in on a few occasions.  We were lucky enough to run into some local animal biologists along this trail who pointed out to us some mountain goats that were very high up in the hills and would not have been seen by our naked eyes.  With binoculars or our cameras zoom lens you could make out a mother with her 4 babies.   This trail look awhile as parts of it were very steep so we went along a little slower than normal.

We spent 4 nights at our hotel in Elko and enjoyed the peace and quiet of the small town and local hospitality.  It is a little over 400 miles to get there and take around 7 hours with stops.

If anyone wants more information on this beautiful area please let me know and I can point you in the right direction.

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