The Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway follows a U-shaped, sheerwalled canyon flush with summer wildflowers and spectacular colors in the fall. Campgrounds and picnic areas are available. At the top are restrooms and trails leading to the backcountry. Fishing, biking, and snowmobiling are some of the more popular activities in the area.
Location: Follow SR 227 southeast from Elko toward Lamoille. Before Lamoille, turn right on Lamoille Canyon Road. This is the state byway, which proceeds southeast into the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and ends at aptly named Road’s End Picnic Area near the Ruby Mountain Scenic Area. The route state byway is a 13-mile route. The route makes its way through Lamoille Canyon, formed by glaciers, and heads toward the base of the 11,249-foot Ruby Dome.
The Ruby Mountains are Nevada’s wettest, providing a verdant and lush landscape, a refreshing contrast to the surrounding area’s desert ecosystem. The Ruby Crest Trail, a 40-mile route across the Ruby Mountain Ridge, is known worldwide, and Lamoille Canyon hosts the northern trailhead. The trail ends at Harrison Pass. Lookout spots along the Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway offer spectacular views of the canyon’s seasonal foliage and waterfalls. Interpretive signs explain how hot the valley was formed. For camping, the Thomas Canyon Campground on the south end of the byway offers 40 sites in a wide-open area with Lamoille Creek running through and aspen and cottonwood trees surrounding it. Natural terraces abound at the campground. Offering perfect picnicking spots.
Along the byway, you’ll find a developed, self-guided car tour with interpretive signs describing the geology of the canyon. At the culmination of the paved road, the parking lot sits at 8,800 feet, and trailheads begin for short and long hikes. This area offers more than 100 miles of hiking trails. Island Lake is an easy two-mile hike, and numerous alpine lakes can be found in the area. Although Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway closes for driving in the winter, the canyon is alive with snowmobiles and cross-country skiers who access the area from the parking lot at the entrance.
Fishing: Lamoille Creek winds throughout this scenic glaciated canyon and includes several beaver ponds and open, winding stretches of water. Fly fishing for trout is available in abundance. Easy access is provided on this paved road. Getting There: From Elko, take State Route 227 south to experience the Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway.
Biking: One of Nevada’s most scenic bike tours is on this little spur that begins in Elko. Bikers slowly ascend to Spring Creek and Lamoille, a rural community populated by ranches, bed-and-breakfast inns and pine-covered views of the Rubies. The road slowly climbs as it enters the Ruby Mountains, ending at a scenic picnic area. The ride back downhill is the reward. Begin in Elko on State Route 227 and head south toward the Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway. Type: Road biking Distance: About 97 miles Elevation Gain: Moderate Difficulty: Advanced
Snowmobiling: Enjoy gorgeous scenery through this rugged glaciated canyon on a paved road that winds to an unloading spot at snow line. Remember snowmobiling is permitted only in designated areas. Getting There: Begin in Elko on State Route 227 and head south toward the Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway.
Climbing: Easy access and approach on paved, maintained road with glaciated granite formations. Top roping/rappelling and occasional hardware from earlier climbing pioneers. This climbing has all types of rock and slopes leaving the route selection to the individual and their skill level.