Autumn is spectacular on the remote high bench known as the Table Mountain Wilderness. Fifteen or more of Central Nevada's mysterious mountain ranges fill the horizon, bands of elk drift out of the hollows, and great swaths of aspen turn gold. You can backpack a 24-mile loop that follows Cottonwood Creek, where you'll pass beaver ponds, dimpled by rising trout, up to The Table. This ten-square mile veranda will provide you with a mandatory layover day to take in the sights before returning, off-trail, down Barley Creek's dry wash. After your hike, be sure to stop at Belmont, a relic ghost town from the 1860s mining era.
Bureau of Land Management: (775) 289-1910, www.nv.blm.gov/Ely