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Backpacker Magazine – May 2002

Hike Nevada's Sagebrush Oasis

Hiding in the arid plains of Nevada you'll find a cool refuge from the desert heat and room to let your imagination soar.

by: Steve Howe

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Expedition Planner

Getting there: Elko lies 230 miles from Salt Lake City, 295 miles from Reno, and 486 miles from Las Vegas. To reach Lamoille Canyon trailhead from Elko, take NV 227 south to County Road 660 (Lamoille Canyon Road) and drive 12 miles to Road's End. To reach Harrison Pass, go 5 miles east of downtown Elko, then turn south on NV 228, which leads to Harrison Pass.

Route: The Ruby Crest Trail (FT 043) runs from Lamoille Canyon to graveled NV 228 at Harrison Pass. Best campsites are at Castle Lake, the north fork of Overland Creek, Overland Lake, McCutcheon Creek, and springs 1.5 miles south of McCutcheon Creek. In dry months, water is unavailable for 13 miles between North Furlong Lake and the north fork of Overland Creek. The southern 6 miles to Harrison Pass are also dry.

Echo Canyon provides access to Ruby Dome, the range's highest peak at 11,387 feet. The Soldier Basin (031) and Soldier-Griswold Trails (032) begin 20 miles north of the town of Lamoille, climbing 5 miles to lakes in Soldier Basin and beyond. Other useful trunk trails ascend North Furlong Canyon (045), Long Canyon (046), and Overland Canyon (047).

Guides: A waterproof Ruby Mountain Wilderness topo ($7) is available from the Forest Service (see Contact below). Hiking Nevada, by Bruce Grubbs (Falcon Press, 888-249-7586; $14.95).

Contact: Humboldt-Toiyabee National Forest, (775) 738-5171; Ruby Mountains Ranger District, (800) 764-3359; maps and pamphlets in advance if arriving on the weekend.

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