Ruby Mountains, Nevada

However you get to Nevada’s Ruby Mountains — be it by car, foot, snowmobile or helicopter — just get here because this mountain range is something to behold in person. Situated less than a half-hour southeast of Elko, the Ruby Mountains have been called America’s answer to Europe’s Pyrenees and Swiss Alps, and for good reason.

Named after the sparkling red garnets often found here, the Ruby Mountains encompass 92,650 acres of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. Alpine lakes sit serenely among stunning glaciated peaks which soar over 10,000 feet, making the Ruby Mountains the prime choice for hikers, fishers, winter sports enthusiasts and photographers from around the world.

Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway

The Ruby Mountains are reached by most via the Lamoille Canyon National Scenic Byway, 26 miles southeast of Elko on State Route 227. Traversing the breathtaking Lamoille Canyon Scenic byway, the mountains offer a perfect choice for activities ranging from a leisurely drive to a week-long backpacking adventure.

At the end of the road lies the awesome Ruby Crest Trailhead, the ultimate hiking experience. For those seeking a shorter nature outing, other trailheads are accessed at Road’s End to reach several of the alpine lakes located throughout the Rubies. For the ultimate outdoor adventure, head up to Ruby Dome, an 11,387-foot glaciated peak that harkens back to the previous Ice Age. Year round, snowy fields serve as a testament to this area’s ancient natural history.

Consider this drive a can’t-miss item on any Western travel bucket list.

More About Lamoille Canyon

Ruby Mountains Camping & Hiking

Whether you’re looking for Ruby Mountains camping fun or a day of hiking, adventure takes the spotlight here, with a wide array of outdoor options for all seasons.

Some of the West’s most challenging — and rewarding — hikes can be found in the Ruby Mountains, allowing visitors to soak in the scenic beauty of Yosemite without all the crowds. For the whole kit and kaboodle, hike the 36-mile Ruby Crest Trail or take in portions of it by hiking from Lamoille Canyon to Liberty Peak, another of the Ruby Mountains’ 10 peaks above 11,000 feet. Other popular hikes include the 10-mile Soldier Lake Basin trail and the 13-mile Overland Lake trail. If you find yourself short on time, Island Lake is only two miles from Road’s End and offers some spectacular views back down Lamoille Canyon.

From solo in tents to full groups in trailers, the Rubies are your home for your next trip. Enjoy tent and trailer camping at Angel Creek campground outside of Wells, the Thomas Canyon campground in Lamoille Canyon and the South Ruby campground in Ruby Valley. Tent-only campers will soak in the solitude of the Terraces campground. Camping season typically runs May through October in the Ruby Mountains, and many grounds include amenities such as picnic tables, fire rings and other features. For a full list of campgrounds and other activities, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website. The Lion’s Camp Lamoille is under reconstruction following a devastating fire in 2018.

Take in some traditional downhill skiing, snowboarding or tubing at the Elko Snobowl, or let loose on a backcountry heli-skiing tour. Race snowmobiles across vast stretches of Elko County’s wintry landscape or enjoy the solace of a quiet day on cross-country skis or snowshoes. Whatever your sport, it’ll be the right one when placed against the backdrop of the gorgeous Rubies.

For trout-seekers, it’s hard to beat Ruby Lake or Robinson Lake for both lake and fly fishing. Dozens of other lakes dot the landscape in the Rubies, with stream, pond, lake and river fishing all found in abundance here. The only thing more impressive than Elko’s range of bodies of water are the size of the trout you’ll pull from them.

Hunting

Northeastern Nevada offers supreme hunting opportunities. Big game animals living in the Elko area include mule deer, antelope, mountain lion and some elk. Upland game birds include sage grouse, chukar partridge, Hungarian partridge, quail, blue grouse and the exotic Himalayan snowcock. Upland game licenses can be purchased at a variety of local outlets. For more information visit the Nevada Division of Wildlife.

lamoille canyon nevada
Hiking Adventures in Lamoille Canyon
lamoille canyon heliskiing
Ruby Mountain Helicopter Experience
elko fishing
Fishing in the Rubies

Ruby Mountains Wilderness Areas

Described by many as one of America’s most beautiful mountain ranges, Ruby Mountains Wilderness Area offers endless miles of hiking along rushing waterfalls and fields of blazing wildflowers. Hike the area’s top trails or see the area from horseback as you explore areas such as Liberty Lake and Wines Peak, photograph hanging valleys, fall color and glacial peaks either up close or — for the more cautious — from a safe distance.

From the uniquely imported Himalayan snowcock to mountain goats and elk, the area is home to more wildlife than some people see in a lifetime. Safe to say, you will find plenty to see and do here.