Nevada in Spanish means, covered in snow. The Great Basin is a desert made up of many mountain ranges and vast valleys. Many of these mountain ranges still have glaciers or have snow more than 10 months a year. These mountain ranges are a sharp contrast to the desert. Referred to as sky islands, they offer a unique environment for plants and animals. Outside Elko, in east central Nevada you can take a paved National Scenic Byway up Lamoille Canyon thru mountains of steeply carved granite. These are the Ruby Mountains. Named for the beautiful garnets that miners found, this area became protected in 1989 as the Ruby Mountain Wilderness. The mountain range is roughly 80 miles long topped off by Ruby Dome which stands 11,387 feet. At roads end is the trailhead for the Ruby Crest National Recreation Trail. The trail is about 43 miles long and can be done in segments or as a thru hike, weather permitting. Many alpine lakes are encountered and fed by the melting snows.
This hike starts at the roads end trailhead. There is ample parking and restrooms. The trail is at the south end of the parking lot and has a plaque engraved with a map of the trail with mileage. The distances are one way and generally are gauged by the arrival to different alpine lakes. This hike will take us to Lamoille Lake which is one of the larger alpine lakes. It was created by the carving of glaciers and is know as a tarn, a mountain lake. The steep terrain has you climbing right from the start and at a trailhead elevation of 8813 ft you might be feeling short of breath. Much of the Ruby Crest Trail is over 9500 ft. There are seasonal waterfalls generally well into summer and the mountain flowers begin in earnest during the month of July. As you gain altitude look back at the vast valley behind you. It seems to have you in a gigantic box canyon. Sheer cliffs of granite surround you as you top the first of many false summits. Ahead lie the first of three small lakes or tarns. These are called dollar lakes. Circular, like silver dollars, they are fed by snow melt and the granite lining keep them crystal clear with a beautiful blue color and are only about 15 feet deep. The hike continues over meadows and thru stands of White Bark and Limber Pine trees. The next false summit brings you to Lamoille Lake. Lamoille Lake is located at 9740 elevation and is about 13.5 acres. Bring a fishing rod and a picnic lunch for a fun afternoon before heading back the way you came.
Check out the Official Route and Triplog.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
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