Your Guide to Nevada’s Ruby Mountains

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.

Insider Tips

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…

Cheers!

Keelie

Which Country Has the Prettiest Sheep?

This is a little outside my normal realm of blogs, but with an open mind, it should be entertaining nonetheless. When I was planning my trip to New Zealand, I read numerous articles about there being more sheep than people on the small island. This is 100% fact. There would be times when I would go on a walk and not see anyone for hours, but I would see about 500+ sheep. There are also a lot of jokes between the Aussies and Kiwis about how they treat their sheep – perhaps a little too friendly. After returning from my trip, my friends had found a movie for me to watch titled Black Sheep. It was a horror film about New Zealand and their sheep.

As I continued my travels, I found more sheep. These countries didn’t necessarily have more sheep than people, but they still had a lot of sheep that were a huge part of their economy. This sparked a debate amongst my close group of friends. Which country has the prettiest sheep? I told you this blog was going to be entertaining.

Ireland

I was in Ireland for about a week. I had hired a car and planned to drive around the whole country. It was February, so not a lot of tourists, and I felt pretty lucky with the weather. I’d heard an Irish winter can be quite rough. The countryside was beautiful. Lush rolling green hills, pristine beaches and old castles and churches. When I would reach my nightly destination, each town was as lively as the next and offered a true Irish experience. Cold Guinness, and a lot of Irish folk music. I was driving from the Dingle Peninsula to the Cliff of Moher and would spend the evening in Galloway. Driving on these tiny roads on the left side was a little challenging for me, but I was gaining more confidence each day. On this particular day, I turned a tight corner and saw a herd of sheep! They were headed right for me and taking up the whole road. At this point, all I could do was stop the car and grab my camera. I just stood still while the herd of sheep swarmed me and the car. The farmer was close behind on a quad and continued to herd the sheep past me. Welcome to Ireland, Keelie.

Peru

I went to Peru with two intentions. I wanted to hike to Machu Picchu and I wanted to do some volunteer work. I was there for three weeks. I volunteered at a local school where I helped make lunch in the morning and taught the children English in the afternoon. It was a humbling experience. After my volunteer work was complete, it was time to hike Machu Picchu. If you would like to learn more about the Lares Trek, you should check out my blog on Machu Picchu. During the trek, we walked through villages and farms of alpacas and llamas. They were everywhere! I know alpacas are more related to camels than sheep, but they have some sheep like qualities. I did manage to find some sheep sprinkled throughout a herd of alpacas, but they looked a little out of place.

New Zealand

The sheep capital. Technically, there are other countries that have more sheep than New Zealand, but they might win the category of most sheep per square mile. When I was on my Hobbiton tour, our guide told us that they used to let the sheep graze near the Hobbit house to keep the grass short. The Hobbit houses consist of the outside, and enough room inside for someone to walk in and shut the door. All the filming inside the houses took place in a studio in Wellington. Anyway, the guide said they can no longer use the sheep to mow the grass because one day a sheep wondered inside the small area inside the house and managed to shut the door on itself. The sheep panicked and busted out the fake window of the Hobbit house and destroyed the front area. It was quite expensive to fix, so now sheep are not allowed to graze near Hobbiton.

Another funny story about sheep and Hobbiton is that when they were filming Lord of the Rings, they brought in stunt sheep. The country of New Zealand has around 30 million sheep, but they thought the sheep looked too happy and the landscape wouldn’t look like dreary England. So, they hired some sad looking stunt sheep for the films.

United Kingdom

Speaking of England, the UK is home to a lot of sheep. While most of the sheep can be found in Wales, I did see some when traveling around England and Scotland. It was winter, so the weather was rather dreary, and the sheep were grazing through grass and mud. Stonehenge is located near a sheep farm, so as I gazed upon the ruins I also saw sheep, I couldn’t help but think about how they had to import sheep from England to New Zealand because they needed sadder looking sheep. And then it started to rain. Yeah, I’d be kind of sad too.

Now that you’ve heard my stories and seen pictures of the sheep, what country do you think has the prettiest sheep? Tell me in the comments below or tweet me at @keeliec5. Hopefully, my stories weren’t too bias to sway your opinion. 😊

Until next time…

Cheers!

Keelie