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Overland Lake Trail
3 Photosets

mini location map2019-07-14
15 by photographer avatarLindaAnn
photographer avatar
Overland Lake TrailElko, NV
Elko, NV
Backpack avatar Jul 14 2019
Backpack10.94 Miles 2,865 AEG
Backpack10.94 Miles2 Days         
2,865 ft AEG
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Original plan was for part of the group to complete the northern portion of the Ruby Crest Trail, but persistent snow and ice on the trail thwarted that plan. We had checked around Lamoille Canyon at the northern terminus the afternoon prior and found a ton of snow up there. So we all decided to cut a day off the Rby Mtns and spend additional time at Great Basin.

We got started from the Overland Lake trailhead around 9:30. Despite the elevation, the trailhead is basically in high desert/low scrub and is pretty warm. There is very little shade to be found along the entire length of the trail. It's a steady uphill hike from the start, but luckily temps cooled as we climbed. Slow pace for the kids, with plenty of breaks. Lots of wildflowers along the way, which was nice. Just below the big switchbacks about 1.50 miles in, we ran into 4 backpackers on their way out. They had started at the very southern (the hotter & drier) end of the RCT, and had decided to bail out at Overland due to the snow up high. They said it took them 2 hours to navigate 1/2 mile down the ridge above Overland Lake. I've hiked that entire section before, and knew that if the snow was that bad through there, then we had made the right call to not pursue the northern section on this trip--the snow would be even worse to the north, between Overland and Lamoille.

After the switchbacks, we took a lunch break, then made our way up the steeper last 1.50 miles to the lake. The trail gets steeper as you get closer, but the improving scenery helps the spirits. The kids actually sped up through this section, leaving the adults huffing and puffing behind them. There were 3 short sections of snow, of course on steeply angled slopes, just before reaching the lake. I kicked decent foot tracks for the kids to safely follow through, and we made it to the lake without incident, arriving around 4:30.

The kids played in the snow surrounding the campsite, and marveled at the ice still remaining in the lake while we got camp set up. Temps were not as cold as I thought it might be, and a light jacket was sufficient for the evening. The kids passed out pretty early, and the rest of us sat around for a while before the wind kicked up. It had been calm all day, but by 9:00pm, it was pretty strong, but actually getting warmer. We retired to our tents, where I didn't get much sleep due to the noise of the wind. By the next morning most of the remaining ice on the lake was gone.

We took our time breaking camp, and started heading downhill around 9:00 or so. I had brought cooling towels for the kids and enough water to keep the towels wet until we reached the trailhead. Quick, kind of dull, hike downhill as the temps steadily increased. Getting to the A/C of the vehicle was a welcome relief. Great hike, and everyone had a great time. The kids were proud of themselves for accomplishing such a big hike, and the novelty of snow in July kept their interest.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
Wide variety of wildflowers along about 2/3 of the trail.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Overland Lake 76-100% full 76-100% full
Lake was full, and the stream out of the lake was flowing steadily.
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