Lamoille Canyon, Nevada
What would happen if you took a dash of the Grand Canyon’s rugged terrain and blended it with a hearty serving of Yosemite’s waterfalls, wildflowers and greenery — but without all the traffic and crowds? You’d get Lamoille Canyon.
Situated roughly 22 miles south of Elko, Nevada, Lamoille Canyon is the jewel of the Ruby Mountains (and that’s saying something for a mountain chain named after precious minerals). From canyons carved from ancient Ice Age glaciers to the 11,387-foot summit of Ruby Dome, the beauty of Lamoille Canyon is a lot to take in, so we suggest planning a day of it.
Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway
The Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway serves as the gateway to the Lamoille Canyon Scenic Area and Ruby Mountain wilderness. To get there from Lamoille, head roughly 22 miles southeast on State Route 27. Turn right approximately one mile before you reach the town of Lamoille, following signs that read, “Lamoille Canyon Recreation Area.” Officially known as FS Road 660, the Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway is paved, but watch for sudden changes in the weather if you’re not in an all-wheel drive vehicle.
Along the way, you will pass camping sites, fishing spots and plenty of areas to pull over and grab your camera. Keep an eye out for wildlife — elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep and other inhabitants can often be spotted as you drive the byway.
The byway is generally open from May to October, but this is subject to change due to weather conditions.
Once in the canyon, a four-stop self guided auto tour with geology interpretive exhibits leads visitors past meadows full of flowers, quiet alpine lakes, abundant wildlife, waterfalls and avalanche chutes. Nature trails and picnic grounds are available for those looking to linger in the valley just a little longer.
Seasonal Activities in Lamoille Canyon
In late spring and summer, Lamoille Canyon is popular with photographers, hunters and hikers looking to soak in the landscapes, wildflowers and big game offered in this portion of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. Rock climbers will find challenges in the canyon all year long. Come winter, Nordic skiing, heli-skiing and snowmobiling rule the day.
Lamoille Canyon Rock Climbing
Rock climbing in Lamoille Canyon is among some of the finest in the state of Nevada. Big walls — including several ice walls — are perfect for climbers of all skill levels.
The canyon features easy access on paved, maintained roads with glaciated granite formations. Top roping and rappelling are possible here, and climbers will often find hardware in place from earlier climbing pioneers. The climbing in Lamoille Canyon features all types of rock and slopes, leaving the route selection up to the individual and their skill level.