Known as the Nevada Swiss Alps, The Ruby Mountains are located near the town of Elko in eastern Nevada. Home to Big Horn Sheep and steep jagged mountains, this place was made for the adventurist. The Ruby Mountain are about 5 hours east of Reno and right of I-80, which makes this the perfect weekend getaway if you’re coming from Reno, or a great pit-stop if you are road tripping along I-80. So, what should you do in the Ruby Mountains? Where should you stay? Keep reading to find out.
Where to Stay
If you prefer a hotel, you can stay in Elko and drive in, but there are plenty of great camping options in the Ruby Mountains. Popular places include Thomas Canyon Campground in Lamoille Canyon or South Ruby Campground located near the Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge. There are around 10 different camping areas nearby, so visit recreation.gov and take your pick.
What to Do
The area is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream come true. They have hiking trails galore. I would start inside Lamoille Canyon. If you are staying at Thomas Canyon Campground, there is a hiking trail inside called Thomas Creek Trail. This trail is an out and back and follows the creek to a vast meadow and a waterfall. I went in August, so the waterfall was a trickle, but I imagine it’s much larger in the spring. This trail is not well traveled, so do keep an eye out for the path. My sister and I got lost a couple of times. She decided to turn back, but I was determined to find this waterfall (and I did).
Another great hiking area is at the end of Lamoille Canyon. This out and back trail will take you by alpine lakes, granite cliffs and rocks, and you’ll even find some patches of snow. The trek is part of a hike through called the Ruby Crest Trail. The Ruby Crest Trail is 42 miles longs, so you could hike a part of it as a day hike, or backpack the trail in a few days.
Hunting and fishing are also popular near the Ruby Mountains. When I went with my dad and sister, we didn’t catch any fish but did see a rather large marmot.
In the winter you can heli-ski! I don’t know much about heli-skiing in the Ruby Mountains, but you can read more here.
Whether you are staying in Elko or camping out, if you get a chance to go out to dinner one night, you have to try the Star Hotel. This place has some of the best Basque Food you’ll find in the U.S. Another great tip is beware of the altitude. If you are coming from Reno, you probably won’t have an issue with the altitude, but if you’re like my sister and coming from sea-level, it might take a bit to get used to. Adjust, take it easy and try to wait a day or two before doing anything strenuous. Also, the nights will be cool! So, come prepared for warmer days and cool nights, but most importantly remember to have fun!
Did you know Nevada is the most mountainous state? You’ve probably heard of the Sierra Nevada, so now it’s time to check out the Ruby Mountains. Have you been before? What were some of your favorite trails or camping spots? Tell me in the comments below.
Until next time…