Hike a portion of the Ruby Crest Trail in the Ruby Mountains to beautiful Lamoille Lake for a breathtaking adventure in the Humbolt-Toiyabe National Forest.
Chris & Mac
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Length: 4 Miles Round Trip *
Trailhead(s): Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway Roads End
Elevation Gain: 940’ *
Trail Type: Out & Back
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous
Permit Required? No
Season: Summer to Early Fall
* Hiking above Lamoille Lake to Liberty Pass adds 2 miles and 763′ of elevation gain.
Enjoy the majestic scenery of the Ruby Mountains when visiting Elko, Nevada by hiking a portion of the Ruby Crest Trail to Lamoille Lake.
RUBY MOUNTAINS – HIKE TO LAMOILLE LAKE
Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway
Getting to the trailhead for this hike is a breathtakingly beautiful drive through Lamoille Canyon. The Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway is a twelve mile, two-lane road which climbs up through the largest valley in the Ruby Mountains. To say Lamoille Canyon is gorgeous is an understatement. This canyon is pure Ruby Mountain majesty, decorated with flora that changes throughout the seasons. In the summer Lamoille Canyon wears pretty wildflowers, and in the autum it dazzles with vibrant fall color. For the adventurous, when the pavement ends at an elevation of 8,800 feet, there is a trailhead with plenty of parking.
Ruby Crest Trail
The Ruby Crest Trail is a roughly 38 mile (distance estimates vary) point to point trail that runs from the Roads End Trailhead to Harrison Pass. Whereas backpackers shuttle this trail for a multi-day adventure, day hikers explore the prettiest portion of the trail which departs from the Roads End Trailhead in Lamoille Canyon.
Getting to Lamoille Lake
The Ruby Crest Trail departs from the south end of the parking area at the end of the Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway. Relatively flat, it starts off through a lush meadow. Once it crosses Lamoille Creek (the first of several crossings) things change quickly. First, the ascent begins. Second, the landscape changes to a mix of forest and rock. The trail is interesting, with switchbacks leveling out some of the climb and rocky outcropping providing periodic glimpses of mountain peaks through the trees. After about a mile and a half the trail flattens out, and trees retreat to reveal incredible views of Lamoille Canyon. Take a break to enjoy the scene. It is splendid.
Soon the trail enters a marshy area with plentiful scrubby vegetation as it skirts the Dollar Lakes. Excepting a small climb after the second lake, the trail remains flat. These small, mountain ringed glacial lakes are charmingly pretty. Were it warmer we might have lingered, but it was a chilly October day and snow covered the trail shortly after it started to climb. As such, we pushed on. Shortly after passing the stock/equestrian trail the green blue waters of Lamoille Lake came into view.
RUBY MOUNTAINS – ABOVE LAMOILLE LAKE
Lamoille Lake to Liberty Pass
Upon arriving at the lake we still had energy to burn and clearly there was more to see. Thus our Ruby Mountains hike to Lamoille Lake on this chilly day simply had to be extended. Since the hike to Lamoille Lake was so short, and we still had energy and daylight to burn, we decided to climb another 760 feet up the snow covered trail to Liberty Pass. We were glad we did shortly after starting up the trail above the lake. The views looking down on Lamoille Lake were spectacular. Even if not going to Liberty Pass, hike up the trail a bit and see for yourself.
High Elevation Snow
The snow which began on the trail shortly after leaving the meadows near the trailhead got much deeper as we climbed above Lamoille Lake. Because we were now hiking above 9,700 feet and most hikers turned back at the lake, the trail became less obvious since it was not well trampled. As such, we now followed footsteps in the snow. There weren’t many, so we also used Gaia to ensure we stayed on the trail. It was only another mile to the pass, however it was a steep, strenuous climb because of deep snow drifts. At the top of Liberty Pass we decided it was time to terminate our forward progress. We sat on the rocks to survey the Ruby Mountains from our top of the world vantage point at 10,500 feet. Some scrubby trees, lots of snow covered rocks, and incredible views were our rewards for the additional mile we hiked up. We were glad we did.
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Hike to Lamoille Lake Slideshow
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