Ruby Crest Trail In Nevada

Here is everything you need to know about the Ruby Crest Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Nevada
  • Length: 40 miles.
  • Type: Hiking
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Managed By: Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website:

The Ruby Crest Trail, located in northeastern Nevada, holds a rich historical significance that dates back centuries. The trail traverses the stunning Ruby Mountains, which were named after the vibrant red hue of the garnets found in the area. Native American tribes, including the Shoshone and Northern Paiute, have inhabited these lands for thousands of years, relying on the mountains for sustenance and spiritual connection.

European exploration of the Ruby Mountains began in the early 1800s when fur trappers and explorers ventured into the region. In 1828, the famous mountain man Jedediah Smith led an expedition through the area, mapping the terrain and establishing trade routes. The discovery of gold and silver in the nearby towns of Elko and Lamoille in the late 1800s further increased interest in the Ruby Mountains, leading to the establishment of mining camps and the construction of roads and trails.

The Ruby Crest Trail itself was not officially established until the 1970s when the U.S. Forest Service recognized the area’s natural beauty and recreational potential. The trail spans approximately 33 miles, offering hikers and backpackers a chance to explore the rugged peaks, alpine lakes, and lush meadows of the Ruby Mountains. Today, the Ruby Crest Trail remains a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, providing a glimpse into the region’s rich history and natural wonders.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Harrison Pass Trailhead: This is the southern terminus of the Ruby Crest Trail, located near Harrison Pass in the Ruby Mountains Wilderness. It can be accessed via Harrison Pass Road.

2. Lamoille Canyon Trailhead: This is a popular access point for the Ruby Crest Trail, located at the end of Lamoille Canyon Road. It provides easy access to the trail and is a common starting point for hikers.

3. Overland Lake Trailhead: This trailhead is located near Overland Lake, providing access to the Ruby Crest Trail from the eastern side. It can be reached via Forest Road 660.

4. Liberty Pass Trailhead: Situated near Liberty Pass, this trailhead offers access to the Ruby Crest Trail from the northern side. It can be accessed via Forest Road 660.

5. Soldier Canyon Trailhead: Located near Soldier Canyon, this trailhead provides access to the Ruby Crest Trail from the western side. It can be reached via Soldier Canyon Road.

6. Angel Lake Trailhead: This trailhead is located near Angel Lake, offering access to the Ruby Crest Trail from the southern side. It can be accessed via Angel Lake Road.

These are some of the major access points or trailheads along the Ruby Crest Trail. There may be additional access points or smaller trailheads along the trail as well.

Transportation Available

1. Ruby Crest Shuttle – Provides shuttle services to and from the Ruby Crest Trailhead.
2. Elko Taxi – Offers taxi services for transportation to and from the Ruby Crest Trail.
3. Ruby Mountain Heli-Ski – Provides helicopter transportation for backcountry skiing and hiking in the Ruby Mountains.
4. Ruby Mountain Balloon Adventures – Offers hot air balloon rides with scenic views of the Ruby Mountains.
5. Ruby Mountain Motorsports – Provides ATV and off-road vehicle rentals for exploring the Ruby Crest Trail area.
6. Ruby Mountain Helicopter Tours – Offers helicopter tours for sightseeing and transportation around the Ruby Mountains.
7. Ruby Mountain Cycles – Provides bicycle rentals for exploring the Ruby Crest Trail and surrounding areas.
8. Ruby Mountain Aviation – Offers private charter flights for transportation to and from the Ruby Crest Trail region.
9. Ruby Mountain Shuttle – Provides shuttle services for hikers and backpackers along the Ruby Crest Trail.
10. Ruby Mountain Rides – Offers horseback riding tours and transportation services in the Ruby Mountains.


The Ruby Crest Trail offers several amenities for hikers and visitors. Some of the amenities available at the Ruby Crest Trail include:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available at certain trailheads and campgrounds along the Ruby Crest Trail. These restrooms may vary in terms of cleanliness and availability, so it is advisable to carry your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

2. Parking: There are designated parking areas at various trailheads along the Ruby Crest Trail. These parking areas provide a safe place to leave your vehicle while you explore the trail.

3. Camping Sites: The Ruby Crest Trail offers several camping sites along its route. These sites may have designated tent pads, fire rings, and picnic tables. However, it is important to note that some camping areas may require permits or reservations, so it is recommended to check with the relevant authorities beforehand.

4. Picnic Areas: There are scenic picnic areas along the Ruby Crest Trail where hikers can take a break, enjoy a meal, or simply soak in the beautiful surroundings. These areas may have picnic tables, benches, or open spaces for picnicking.

5. Water Sources: The trail passes through various streams, lakes, and springs, providing hikers with access to water sources. However, it is essential to treat or filter the water before consuming it to ensure safety.

6. Trail Markers and Signage: The Ruby Crest Trail is well-marked with trail markers and signage, making it easier for hikers to navigate the trail. These markers help in identifying the trail route, junctions, and points of interest.

7. Information Boards: At certain trailheads or visitor centers, you may find information boards providing details about the Ruby Crest Trail, its history, rules, regulations, and safety tips. These boards can be helpful in planning your hike and understanding the trail better.

It is important to note that amenities may vary along different sections of the trail, and it is advisable to research and plan accordingly before embarking on your journey.

Nearby Services

1. Lamoille Canyon Campground – Campground located at the trailhead of Ruby Crest Trail.
2. Ruby Mountains Wilderness – Primitive camping available along the trail.
3. Ruby Dome Campground – Campground with basic amenities near the trail.
4. Ruby Mountains Motel – Motel offering lodging near the trail.
5. Lamoille Lodge – Lodge providing accommodation and dining options near the trail.
6. Mountain View RV Park – RV park with facilities near the trail.
7. Elko Regional Airport – Nearest airport for emergency services and transportation.
8. Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital – Hospital providing emergency medical services in Elko.
9. Elko Police Department – Local police department in case of emergencies.
10. Elko Fire Department – Fire department for emergency fire services.

Ruby Crest Trail Difficulty Notes

The Ruby Crest Trail is known for its challenging difficulty level, making it a thrilling adventure for experienced hikers. With its steep ascents, rugged terrain, and high elevation, this trail demands physical endurance and mental resilience. Hikers must navigate through rocky sections, narrow ridges, and potentially treacherous weather conditions. The trail’s remote location adds to the difficulty, as there are limited access points and minimal amenities along the way. However, those who are up for the challenge will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Ruby Mountains and the opportunity to immerse themselves in the untouched beauty of the Nevada wilderness.

Features And Attractions

The Ruby Crest Trail is a stunning hiking trail located in the Ruby Mountains of northeastern Nevada. Along this trail, you can find various scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and more. Here are some notable points of interest along the Ruby Crest Trail:

1. Lamoille Canyon: The trailhead for the Ruby Crest Trail is located in Lamoille Canyon, a breathtaking glacially-carved canyon known for its towering cliffs, alpine lakes, and lush meadows.

2. Liberty Pass: As you ascend the trail, you’ll reach Liberty Pass, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

3. Overland Lake: This picturesque alpine lake is nestled in a basin surrounded by rugged peaks. It’s a great spot to take a break and enjoy the serene beauty of the Ruby Mountains.

4. Favre Lake: Another stunning alpine lake along the trail, Favre Lake is known for its crystal-clear waters and scenic surroundings.

5. Ruby Dome: Standing at 11,387 feet (3,471 meters), Ruby Dome is the highest peak in the Ruby Mountains. While not directly on the trail, it can be seen from various points along the Ruby Crest Trail.

6. Island Lake: This small, secluded lake is located in a picturesque basin and offers a tranquil setting for hikers to enjoy.

7. Thomas Canyon Campground: Towards the end of the trail, you’ll find the Thomas Canyon Campground, a popular spot for camping and picnicking. It’s a great place to relax and unwind after completing the trail.

8. Historical Sites: While the Ruby Crest Trail is primarily known for its natural beauty, the surrounding area also has some historical significance. You may come across remnants of old mining operations or other historical sites along the trail.

These are just a few examples of the scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks you can encounter while hiking the Ruby Crest Trail. The trail offers a diverse range of landscapes and is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets are allowed on the Ruby Crest Trail but must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Camping is allowed along the trail, but campfires are only permitted in designated fire rings or stoves.
3. Leave No Trace principles should be followed, including packing out all trash and minimizing impact on the environment.
4. Permits are not required for day hiking or overnight camping on the Ruby Crest Trail.
5. The trail is open year-round, but certain sections may be inaccessible or dangerous during winter months due to snow or ice.
6. Hikers should be prepared for changing weather conditions and carry appropriate gear, including extra layers, rain gear, and plenty of water.
7. Hunting is allowed in designated areas along the trail during specific seasons. Hikers should wear bright colors to increase visibility during hunting seasons.
8. Motorized vehicles, including bicycles and motorcycles, are not allowed on the Ruby Crest Trail.
9. Hikers should stay on the designated trail to minimize damage to the surrounding ecosystem.
10. Fishing is allowed in certain lakes and streams along the trail, but anglers must have a valid fishing license as per local regulations.

Seasonal Information

The Ruby Crest Trail, located in the Ruby Mountains of northeastern Nevada, offers breathtaking views and a unique wilderness experience. The best times of the year to visit the trail are during the summer and early fall months, typically from June to October. During this time, the weather is generally pleasant, with warm temperatures during the day and cool nights. The trail is accessible and the conditions are ideal for hiking, backpacking, and camping.

One of the highlights of visiting the Ruby Crest Trail is the opportunity to witness the stunning wildflower displays that occur in late spring and early summer. The meadows along the trail burst with vibrant colors, creating a picturesque landscape. Additionally, the summer months offer longer daylight hours, allowing hikers to explore more of the trail and enjoy the scenic beauty at a leisurely pace.

It is important to note that the Ruby Crest Trail is subject to seasonal closures due to snowfall and adverse weather conditions. The trail is typically closed during the winter months, from November to May, as heavy snowfall makes it unsafe and inaccessible. It is advisable to check with the local authorities or the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest Service before planning a trip to ensure that the trail is open and safe for hiking.

During the open season, it is recommended to bring appropriate gear and be prepared for changing weather conditions. The Ruby Mountains are known for their unpredictable weather patterns, and hikers should be equipped with layers of clothing, sturdy footwear, and sufficient water and food supplies. It is also advisable to carry a map, compass, and a first aid kit, as the trail can be challenging at times.

In conclusion, the best times to visit the Ruby Crest Trail are during the summer and early fall months when the weather is favorable and the trail is accessible. The trail offers stunning views, wildflower displays, and a unique wilderness experience. However, it is important to be aware of the seasonal closures during the winter months and to be prepared for changing weather conditions during the open season.


1. Wheelchair Accessibility: The Ruby Crest Trail is not wheelchair accessible due to its rugged terrain and steep inclines.
2. ADA Accommodations: The trail does not have specific ADA accommodations, such as accessible restrooms or designated parking spaces, as it is primarily a backcountry hiking trail.
3. Trailhead Accessibility: Some trailheads may have limited accessibility, but it is recommended to check with local authorities for specific information.
4. Trail Surface: The trail surface consists of natural terrain, including dirt, rocks, and uneven surfaces, which may pose challenges for individuals with mobility impairments.
5. Trail Width: The trail width varies throughout the trail, but it is generally narrow, making it difficult for wheelchair users to navigate.
6. Trail Grade: The trail features steep sections with significant elevation changes, making it unsuitable for wheelchair users or individuals with limited mobility.
7. Trail Obstacles: The trail may have obstacles such as fallen trees, loose rocks, and water crossings, which can be challenging for individuals with mobility limitations.
8. Trail Facilities: There are no accessible facilities along the trail, including picnic areas, campsites, or shelters designed to accommodate individuals with disabilities.
9. Alternative Accessible Trails: For individuals seeking accessible trails in the area, it is recommended to explore other options such as the Ruby Mountains Scenic Area, which offers accessible trails and facilities.
10. Accessibility Considerations: While the Ruby Crest Trail may not be accessible, there are other opportunities for individuals with disabilities to enjoy the surrounding natural beauty, such as scenic drives or accessible viewpoints.

Safety Information

1. Weather conditions: Be prepared for sudden changes in weather, including thunderstorms and extreme temperatures.
2. Water sources: Carry enough water or water treatment options as reliable water sources may be limited along the trail.
3. Navigation: Familiarize yourself with the trail map and carry a compass or GPS device to avoid getting lost.
4. Wildlife encounters: Be cautious of encounters with bears, mountain lions, and other wildlife; store food properly and make noise to alert animals of your presence.
5. Altitude sickness: The trail reaches high elevations, so acclimatize properly and be aware of symptoms of altitude sickness.
6. Physical fitness: The trail is challenging, so ensure you are physically fit and prepared for steep ascents and descents.
7. Trail conditions: Check for trail closures, fallen trees, or other hazards before starting the hike.
8. Lightning safety: Avoid exposed areas during thunderstorms and seek shelter in lower elevation areas.
9. Leave No Trace principles: Practice responsible outdoor ethics by packing out all trash, minimizing campfire impacts, and respecting wildlife and vegetation.
10. Emergency preparedness: Carry a first aid kit, emergency shelter, and communication devices in case of any unforeseen circumstances.

Conservation Notes

The Ruby Crest Trail, located in northeastern Nevada, is a significant natural resource that requires conservation efforts to ensure its long-term sustainability. As a popular hiking trail, it traverses through the Ruby Mountains, a range known for its stunning alpine scenery, diverse wildlife, and unique plant species. The conservation status of the Ruby Crest Trail is of utmost importance due to the fragile ecosystems it passes through and the potential threats it faces.

The trail is situated within the Ruby Mountains Wilderness, designated by the U.S. Congress in 1989 to protect its pristine landscapes and wildlife habitats. This wilderness area provides critical habitat for various species, including the threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout and the sensitive whitebark pine. The conservation status of the Ruby Crest Trail is closely tied to the overall health of these ecosystems, as any disturbance or degradation could have detrimental effects on the flora and fauna that rely on them.

To preserve the conservation status of the Ruby Crest Trail, various management strategies are implemented. These include trail maintenance and restoration projects to prevent erosion and minimize human impact on the surrounding environment. Additionally, visitor education and outreach programs are conducted to raise awareness about the importance of responsible hiking practices, such as staying on designated trails and packing out all trash. By actively managing and conserving the Ruby Crest Trail, we can ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy its natural beauty while protecting the delicate ecosystems it passes through.

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