The East Humboldt Range is known for dramatic, expansive views and alpine lakes that are pristine beyond belief, and Angel Lake Recreation Area is an ideal basecamp for getting after all of it. An extension of the Ruby Mountains, the East Humboldt Range is found in northeastern Nevada, hidden in plain sight just 12 miles from Wells and I-80 and yet a world away. Perched at 8,500 feet, the lake itself is surrounded by stunning glacial cirques, making you feel like you’re one with the impressive backcountry.
Hiking, fishing, wildlife viewing, stargazing, and camping are popular activities in this majestic part of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. The Smith Lake Trail, which begins at Angel Lake Campground, carries you to the northern edge of the East Humboldt Wilderness. The trailhead for Winchell Lake is situated along the main road, about halfway between Angel Lake Campground and lower Angel Creek Campground. Hikers should also take note of Hole-In-the-Mountain Peak, the highest point in the East Humboldts. Filled with wildflowers and several hundred foot high cliffs, the area is gorgeous and definitely one you’ll want to return to.
Angel Lake Campground & Wildlife
Angel Lake, Nevada has 26 campsites available by reservation, several day use picnic areas, and a subalpine dwarf aspen forest area. Setting up camp with friends and family is beautiful any time of year, but particularly spectacular during the spring, when wildflower season is in full force. The autumn foliage is equally as dazzling! To get there from Wells, head south on State Route 231, AKA Angel Lake Scenic Byway.
Fishing at Angel Lake, NV is popular among visitors and locals alike. Motorized boating is prohibited, but anglers can fish from canoes, float tubes, and other non-motorized watercraft. Anglers delight in fishing for rainbow, brook, and even tiger trout.
Keep your eyes peeled for an extraordinary range of wildlife who call the East Humboldts home, like bighorn sheep, mountain goats, mule deer, and pronghorn antelope. You may spot some on the short drive up to the recreation area, or see some wildlife at the lake itself. Be sure to pack the binoculars and camera for some unmatched photo ops.
Angel Lake Scenic Byway
This beautiful 12-mile paved road twists and turns 3,000 feet sharply upward, leading directly to Angel Lake Recreation area. The short but mighty Angel Lake Road begins in Wells and ascends along rushing Angel Creek through sagebrush-swept high desert, groves of piñon pine, mountain mahogany, and aspen, ultimately arriving at the Angel Lake’s slice of glacier-carved paradise. As you drive, keep your eyes peeled for bighorn sheep, mountain goats, pronghorn antelope, and much more.
Angel Lake Scenic Byway is open seasonally, dependent on snowpack and road conditions, but is typically accessible from June through October. For the most current road conditions and accessibility updates, get in touch with the Angel Lake USFS office directly at (775) 752-3357.
Angel Lake, NV camping is $16 per night for a single campsite and $32 per night for a double unit. You can make reservations in advance here.