HIKING THE RUBY MOUNTAINS PART 6 Ruby Mountains Express--Logo by Jocelyne Rohrback: www.jrnewmedia.com                       
Liberty and Favre Lakes and Surrounding Peaks as Viewed from Lake Peak

HIKING THE RUBY MOUNTAINS (PART 6)

Contents of this page:
Hiking Difficulty Comparison Chart || Summary of Hiking Destinations || Topographic Map of Ruby Mountains
Topographic Map of East Humboldts || West Side of the Rubies--Lee to Harrison Pass || Hiking the Grand Canyon (Arizona) || Site Search Engine

LINKS TO ASSOCIATED PAGES:
View Photo Preview Page (1) || View Photo Preview Page (2) || Part 1 Trail to Liberty Pass and Beyond || Part 2, Other Wilderness Areas
Part 2 Supplement Other Wilderness Areas, Photos and Information || Part 3 Outfitters, Pack Trips and Backpacking Guide Service
Part 3 Supplement Outfitters, Pack Trips, Thomas Canyon, Right Fork Canyon and Ruby Valley
Part 4 Hiking the Ruby Crest Trail with Lynda Mellows and Rosanne Baker || Photo Page Hole in the Mountain--East Humboldts
Part 5 Birdeye Lake, Overland Lake, Lake Peak, Smith Lake, Lizzie's Basin, Cave Creek
Part 7 C-47 and B-17 Military Aircraft Crash in the East Humboldt Mountain Range


HIKING DIFFICULTY COMPARISON CHART

The descriptions of the various hiking destinations may not always be a good indicator as to whether the hike is easy, very difficult, or something in between. The following chart, with difficulty ratings between 1 and 7 (easy to very difficult), should put the difficulty question in better perspective. The ratings are derived from a consideration of distance, steepness and trail conditions (or lack of a trail). A short but steep off trail climb can have a higher difficulty rating than a hike over a longer distance but with favorable trail conditions.

Distances (one way) indicated as short are up to two or three miles; moderate from three to five miles; and long from five to nine miles.

The Outfitters column shows who can take you there or at least get you most of the way. Some lake destinations, due to the necessity of crossing privately owned land where easements have not been established, are best accessed by the outfitter who goes into the area.

These destinations would include Greys Lake from Starr Valley; Cold lakes from Lamoille Valley; Verdi Lake from Lamoille Valley (although a trail use fee can be paid to access the trail from the Jaz ranch near Lamoille); Overland and Lost lakes from Gennette Creek Canyon; Boulder and Birdeye lakes from Clover Valley (although there is a rather long and difficult public trail available from nearby Secret Valley); and Boulder and Birdeye lakes from Starr Valley.

The Usage column is an indication of the popularity of the destination and how much traffic might be encountered along the way. Where Usage is shown as Heavy, this is relative to the Ruby Mountains and may mean not more than a dozen or so hikers on any one good day (as opposed to Mt. Whitney or Yosemite where Light usage might be in the hundreds). Usage shown as None means that the route is not generally known and is hardly used at all.

Most routes and destinations in the table are discussed in the various site pages.

8/10

HIKING DIFFICULTY COMPARISON CHART

DestinationRatingTrail DescriptionOutfitters Usage
Angel Lake0You can drive to this laken/an/a
Island Lake1Short distance, well defined trail, switchbacksn/aHeavy
Dollar Lakes1Short distance, gradual, well defined trail, switchbacksHiking Only as of 8/10Heavy
Lamoille Lake1.5Continuation from Dollar Lakes, mild ascentHiking Only as of 8/10Heavy
Liberty Pass2.5Continuation from Lamoille Lake, steep with switchbacksHiking Only as of 8/10Heavy
Liberty Lake2.5Continuation from Liberty Pass, trail descendsHiking Only as 8/10Heavy
Favre Lake3Continuation from Liberty Lake, trail descends Hiking Only as of 8/10Heavy
Castle Lake3.5Short and steep off trail ascent from Favre Laken/aModerate
North Furlong Lake4Continuation from Favre Lake, well defined trail, some steepness with switchbacks, descent off main trailHiking Only as of 8/10Moderate
Lake Peak4.5Off trail steep ascent from N Furlong Lake, Wines Peak areaHiking Only as of 8/10Light
Smith Lake from Greys Lake Trail3.5Starts on a well defined trail, ends with off trail steep, loose footing, difficult climb to laken/aNone
Smith Lake from Smith Lake Trail1Generally well defined trail, starts with short, steep ascent followed by mild ascent, no switchbacks neededn/aLight
Winchell Lake2Moderate distance, well defined trail, rolling terrain with little altitude gainNevada High Desert OutfittersLight
Greys Lake from Angel Lake4.5Long distance, well defined trail, steepness with switchbacksNevada High Desert OutfittersLight
Greys Lake from Starr Valley3Starts from private land, medium distance, trail lacking at start, some steepness with rocky trail Nevada High Desert OutfittersLight
Soldier Lakes from Lamoille Valley3Moderate distance, well defined trail, some steepness without switchbacks, starts in the shade and ends in the sun Hidden Lake OutfittersModerate
Robinson Lake3Short distance, mild ascent continuation from Soldier Lakes Hidden Lake OutfittersModerate
Hidden Lakes3.5Mild ascent continuation from main trail near Soldier Lakes or other well defined trail after creek crossing before reaching Soldier Lakes Hidden Lake OutfittersModerate
Hidden Lakes from Ruby Valley4Moderate distance, mostly well defined trail, considerable steepness with switchbacks, connecting with main trail to lakesHidden Lake OutfittersLight
Cold Lakes from Lamoille Valley4.5Starts through private land, long distance, mostly well defined trail, generally mild ascent with steepness at the endNevada High Desert Outfitters, Hidden Lake OutfittersModerate
Cold Lakes from Robinson Lake 5.5 Difficult, off trail ascent over steep ridge from Robinson/Hidden Lakes and descent to Cold Lakes n/aVery light
Griswold Lake3Medium distance, mostly mild ascent over well defined trail until reaching long rocky section before lakeNormally Not Considered to be a Horse Trip Due to Trail ConditionsModerate
Seitz Lake6Medium distance, some steepness, over non-maintained trail, may be wiped out in places, rocky conditions upper trail Hiking Only as of 8/10Very Light
Goat Lake/Right Fork Canyon3Medium distance, beginning steepness through overgrown trail without switchbacks, some rocky sections before leveling out to mild ascent, trail may fade in places but destination is obviousHiking Only as of 8/10Moderate
Thomas Canyon2.5 Short to medium distance, well defined but mostly rocky trail with periodic steepness turning into mild ascent near the end n/aModerate
Verdi Lake from Lamoille Canyon5.5Short distance but extreme steepness up off trail canyon wall and then steep descent to lake n/aNone
Verdi Lake from Talbot Canyon4.5Long distance, well defined trail with some dusty and rocky conditions turning into mild, easy ascent when approaching lakeNevada High Desert OutfittersLight
Echo Lake from Echo Canyon5Long distance, starting over Indian Reservation land, mostly mild ascent without switchbacks over poorly maintained trailNormally a Hike InVery light
Echo Lake from anywhere else7Long distances, generally start out on well defined trails until difficult off trail bushwhacking takes over crossing very steep ridges and scree fields with loose footingCurrently a Hike InLight
Overland Lake from Ruby Valley5.5Long distance, hot, dry, steepness with numerous switchbacks over well defined trail, no water and no shade Secret Pass OutfittersModerate
Overland Lake from Gennette Creek Canyon6Long distance crossing private land over well defined trail with steepness and switchbacks and connecting with Ruby Crest trail before final ascent and steep rocky descent to lakeNot Available as of 8/10Light
Overland Lake from Ruby Crest Trail6.5Very long distance over mostly well defined trail, crossing numerous canyons with steepness and switchbacks, drinking water lacking along sections of route Hiking Only as of 8/10Moderate
Lost Lake from Gennette Creek Canyon6Long distance crossing private land, starting over well defined trail before difficult bushwhacking off trail through rocky, steep and loose terrain to ridge above lakeNot Available as of 8/10Very light
Boulder Lake from Starr Valley6Very long distance with varied steepness, mostly mild ascent, no switchbacks, over poorly maintained, overgrown and rocky sections of trailHumboldt OutfittersVery light
Boulder Lake from Secret Valley6.5Very long distance crossing private land over mostly well defined trail with mild ascent until reaching 3rd Boulder Canyon where extreme steepness with switchbacks takes over Secret Pass OutfittersVery light
Boulder Lake from Secret-Starr trail6.5Very Long distance with varied steepness over poorly maintained trail, connecting with main trail in 2nd Boulder Canyon and continuing over to 3rd Boulder Canyon and lakeNormally a Hike InVery light
Birdeye Lake from Secret or Starr Valleys6.5Lake access requires a difficult, steep off trail climb, or difficult climb and descent, from either the Starr Valley Boulder Lake approach or the Secret Valley approach Secret Pass Outfitters, Humboldt OutfittersVery light
Humboldt Peak from Secret or Starr Valleys6.5Off trail but not exceptionally difficult climbing from the continuation of any of the routes to Boulder LakeSecret Pass Outfitters, Humboldt OutfittersVery light
Steele Lake from Clover Valley5Medium distance with steep ascent starting over a trail and ending with steep off trail bushwhacking through sagebrush Humboldt OutfittersVery light
Steele Lake from Boulder Lake7Continuing from any route to Boulder Lake, a semi difficult off trail climb from Boulder Lake to the ridge and then a very steep descent with very loose footing to the lake Secret Pass Outfitters, Humboldt OutfittersVery light
Hole in the Mountain from Starr Valley7Very long approach to basin over what is generally an unknown route and then a moderately difficult climb to the Hole Humboldt OutfittersVery Light
Hole in the Mountain from Clover Valley7Long approach to basin over a heavy duty 4-WD two tire track road and then a very difficult, even dangerous very steep climb to the Hole n/a Very light

There is a small but scenic unnamed lake or pond located on the north wall of Box Canyon that can be accessed by climbing to the ridge overlooking Lamoille Lake and Box Canyon, and then working around to the lake which sits on a small shelf on the mountainside. The lake is not that obvious from the ridge and may require some scanning of the hillside to find it. This small lake is unofficially named Box Lake due to its location in Box Canyon. Photo can be viewed at Part 3 Supplement Outfitters, Pack Trips, Thomas Canyon, Right Fork Canyon and Ruby Valley. Hiking difficulty rating would be in the order of 5.5 due to steepness and lack of a trail from Lamoille Lake to the ridge and continuing down and around to the lake over loose, rocky and steep terrain.

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SUMMARY OF HIKING DESTINATIONS

For a first time hike, regardless whether overnight or an individual day or two, always start with the popular hike over the beginning of the Ruby Crest trail starting from the parking lot at the end of Lamoille Canyon. The Hiker trail passes by Dollar and Lamoille lakes, continues over Liberty Pass, and then descends to Liberty, Favre and Castle lakes (10 miles round trip). Continuing to North Furlong Lake adds an additional four miles to the round trip.

However you won’t have the trail completely to yourself. There are hikers departing almost daily from the parking lot but many do stop at Lamoille Lake. The number of hikers usually thins out considerably up and beyond Liberty Pass. If you want to pack in and spend a night or two, the best place for this is at Castle Lake. Check the web site home page for best way to get to Castle Lake by skirting Favre Lake on the trail around the left end of Favre.

Island Lake, starting again from the parking lot but proceeding in the opposite direction, should be another initial day hike. This is short and easy but when arriving at the lake, don't just stop there but make your way, mostly off trail, around the right side of the lake and up the nearest bluff on the far side, going as far as possible up the bluff until stopped by rocks that makes further going difficult and dangerous.

The trip to Lamoille Lake and continuing over Liberty Pass to Liberty, Favre and Castle lakes, provides some of the best scenery in the entire mountains. You definitely won’t feel disappointed because of the necessity to share the trail with a few more hikers. And it is easy to drive to the trailheads at the end of Lamoille Canyon without taking any wrong turns along the way. Trail information over Liberty Pass and going the other direction to Island Lake is detailed near the beginning of the home page. Then for any future trips, if desired, consider the following that can be made without the complication of being blocked by private land (but some are difficult and not necessarily recommended).

It is recommended that the following destinations, which include several of the above, be undertaken with an outfitter.

Detailed information on all of the above destinations, including the outfitters who go into all the areas, are furnished on the various pages of the web site and the above Hiking Difficulty Chart.

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RUBY MOUNTAINS TOPOGRAPHIC MAP

Ruby Mountains Topographic Map

Click on map image to expand. The map takes in approximately 45 miles of the Ruby Mountain range extending from Secret Pass in the north to Overland and Lost lakes in the south (but not all the way to Harrison Pass--about another 10 miles). The map features are crowded but all of the Ruby Mountain lakes are within the map area and some of the lake names should be recognizable. The distinctive J shaped Lamoille Canyon is located at the center of the map. The two distinct canyons branching off Lamoille Canyon to the south are Right Fork and Thomas.

To access a scalable topographic map page, link to www.TopoZone.com. Enter a place name and the state where it is located and conduct a search. To read distances on a topo map, the scale 1:24,000 means that one inch on the map is equal to 24,000 inches (or one inch equals 2,000 feet).

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EAST HUMBOLDTS TOPOGRAPHIC MAP

East Humboldts Topographic Map

Click on map image to expand. The map takes in approximately 20 miles of the East Humboldt Range along with the northern tip of the Ruby Range extending from Angel Lake in the north to Secret Pass in the south. All of the East Humboldt lakes are within the map area. Steele and Boulder lakes are located at the center of the map, and the map clearly identifies the little recognized Secret Valley area located just east of Secret Pass.

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WEST SIDE OF THE RUBIES--LEE TO HARRISON PASS

The west side of the Ruby Mountains between Lee and Harrison Pass is generally of little interest since there are hardly any public access roads to the canyons, and the area does not provide access to many lakes or other popular destinations. This section of the mountain range is usually only observed from five to ten miles away when traveling SR228 from Spring Creek to Harrison Pass. It might even be thought that this section is not part of the Rubies.

Echo Lake Bighorn Sheep (ram) above Echo Lake

Horses and Riders above Echo Lake

But the one destination from this area that should be of primary consideration is Echo Lake. A trail up Echo Canyon provides by far the easiest route to the lake. However, this involves some inconvenience since the route into Echo Canyon crosses Indian reservation land which requires making arrangements with the Te-Moak reservation office at Lee and paying a fee ($25 per person for hiking and fishing but $125 per person for hunting). See the Echo Lake section in Part 2 Other Wilderness Areas for contact telephone number and additional information.

In addition to Echo Canyon, access to Box, Kleckner, North Furlong, Rattlesnake and Long canyons is across reservation land and susceptible to the fees.


Miscellaneous Canyon Photos from Lee.


Miscellaneous Canyon Photos from Lee. The left photo shows Rattlesnake Canyon and the center photo shows the road to the canyon.

The map appearing below shows the numerous canyons and creeks that empty into this side of the range. Starting from the vicinity of Lee and extending southward towards Harrison Pass, the following major canyons are mostly visible from SR 228.

Echo Canyon—creek drains Echo Lake.

Box Canyon—creek starts from springs and snow runoff and from a small unnamed lake at head of canyon. Lamoille Lake is located on the opposite side of the ridge at the head of Box canyon.

Unnamed Lake in Box Canyon Lamoille Lake

Ridge Separating Box Canyon and Lamoille Lake

The creeks draining Echo and Box canyons merge in the vicinity of Lee.

Kleckner Canyon—creek drains Favre Lake.

Favre Lake

North Furlong Canyon—creek originates from springs, ponds and snow runoff, but does not drain North Furlong Lake. North Furlong Canyon merges with Long Canyon.

North Furlong Lake

Long Canyon—creek does not drain a lake but the canyon lives up to its name by starting from the general vicinity of Overland Lake with the creek being fed from ponds, springs and snow runoff.

Rattlesnake Canyon—creek starts from ponds, springs and snow runoff and also drains Lost Lake. This is the largest canyon visible from SR228 and is easily recognized.

Gennette Creek Canyon (south of Rattlesnake Canyon and not visible on map)--creek does not drain a lake but originates from springs and snow runoff. Overland Lake, after descending a steep and rocky switchbacked trail, is located some distance beyond the ridge at the head of Gennette Creek Canyon. Lost Lake is located just over another ridge (overlooking Rattlesnake Canyon) towards the end of Gennette Creek Canyon.

Overland Lake Lost Lake

From one section of a mountain range, it is usually difficult to visualize how that area may be associated with another section of the range. The following map shows just how close the area around Lee is tied in with the Lamoille Canyon area.

Most or all the creeks draining the canyons between Echo Canyon and Rattlesnake Canyon merge to form the South Fork of the Humboldt River.

Canyons and Creeks--Lee to Harrison Pass

Click on map to expand.

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HIKING THE GRAND CANYON

Grand Canyon Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon: If you are planning a hiking vacation consider a trip to the Grand Canyon. There is plenty of places for great hiking at the Grand Canyon and plenty of Grand Canyon lodging locations. You can also visit the new Grand Canyon skywalk while you are there.

Grand Canyon Grand Canyon Adventures


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Part 1 Trail to Liberty Pass and Beyond
Part 2 Other Wilderness Areas
Part 2 Supplement Other Wilderness Areas, Photos and Information
Part 3 Outfitters, Pack Trips and Backpacking Guide Service
Part 3 Supplement Outfitters, Pack Trips, Thomas Canyon, Right Fork Canyon and Ruby Valley
Part 4 Hiking the Ruby Crest Trail with Lynda Mellows and Rosanne Baker
Photo Page Hole in the Mountain--East Humboldts
Part 5 Birdeye Lake, Overland Lake, Lake Peak, Smith Lake, Lizzie's Basin, Cave Creek
Part 7 C-47 and B-17 Military Aircraft Crash in the East Humboldt Mountain Range


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