Thursday, June 9, 2011

For those planning a Ruby Crest Trail trip this year...

I notice that quite a few people are finding this site looking for information on the Ruby Crest Trail. Hopefully the beta here has been useful!

Be advised that we have a HUGE snowpack this year... it's hanging on late... and the high passes could be snow covered later than usual. We're supposed to have hot weather next week and may finally see some melt-off, but right now (9 June) the snowpack at the Lamoille Canyon trailhead is still deeper than I am tall.

If you're planning on doing this trip with a horse you might want to consider waiting until mid-to-late July, in order to give the snow a chance to melt off. Otherwise, you risk injuring your horse and tearing the hell out of the trail. Obviously I'm no oracle, but based on my observations from having lived here most of my life I think that's probably your best plan.

I'll keep an eye out for you and will post up as things melt out a bit more.


  1. Hey remember me, we wrote messages a few times on mtbr (DOB 1962)a couple years ago? I am in Oregon and like to ride and climb. Anyhow I was trying to get info about the trail building progress there in the Ruby Mountains and found your blog. I hope to get out there in late July. Thanks for writing the blog with all the great beta! -d

  2. d-
    Please don't come to Elko. We have enough enthusiastic underachievers.

  3. d- don't pay any attention to my stalker. He/she hates mountain bikes and so finds any opportunity he/she can to spread haterade. I'm glad you found the blog and hope you can make it out here. With the huge snowpack we have you're quite likely to have a peak flower show when you're here!

  4. Howdy MountainGirl - just found your site and appreciate the conditions info and other good stuff. Have been planning to come up to Elko next weekend (July 4th weekend) to backpack the southern end of Ruby Crest trail (Harrison Pass to Overland Lake and out to Ruby Valley from Overland Lake - using just a good pair of hiking boots and poles (no crampons, snowshoes, etc.). Your June 9 post sounds like the practicality of this might be in question until a few weeks later at soonest (mid-late July at earliest). As of today (June 27), do you still feel that is still the case?

    Any help appreciated!

    Thanks and best regards-

    (ex-Elko and Eureka resident)
    Henderson, NV

  5. There's a lot of snow up high still and you'll likely have snow climbing out of the south fork of Smith Creek and in the Overland cirque. That said, it's warm and beautiful out and if you're into summer snow travel it could be really nice. Muddy in spots, clearly, and the creeks are roaring right now.

    I'm going to head up Thursday for some skiing and will report back on conditions up high. Just looking out my window, though, I'd guess that the snow line on north aspects is around 9000' or so.

  6. Summer is getting a very late start this year. The Ruby Crest Trail probably has a lot of snow, the lakes probably are at least partially iced over, and it is probably cold at night. If you have a choice, wait a few weeks unless you like these conditions. I doubt the wildflowers are out there yet.

  7. There are lots of wildflowers at the moment, just lower in the canyon. It's amazingly beautiful up there right now - the waterfalls are really running.

    From what I saw this AM all of the lakes are still frozen, although Lamoille Lake has a big crack in the ice that leads me to believe it's best to stay off of it. Snow level is a little below 9000'... there's >100cm of snow at the Ruby Mountain Heli-Ski snow stake, which is a few hundred yards above the Ruby Crest Trail trailhead. "Anonymous" is right - it's all about snow travel right now. It's a great time to go if that's your thing and you're equipped for it.

  8. I am planning to hike the Ruby crest trail next week but I have heard reports of a lot of snow still on the trail. Does anyone know if it is hard packed snow that can be negotiated with crampons or too soft to support a hiker's weight?