Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ruby Mountains - Island Lake

Thursday afternoon I drove down to Elko (in a big thunder storm!) to the Forest Service for a map of the back country trails. It was easy to choose Island Lake for my second day hike. On the south side of the canyon so free of snow, the trail begins at elevation 8800 and climbs to 9600 over two miles.

Looking back down the trail, my van is in the upper left corner of the parking lot.

The trail has nine switch backs. Some crafted with beautiful rock walls.

The creek from Island Lake was roaring, but from the looks of the bridge it had been it had been significantly higher before. The up stream section is constructed of 8 2x8s (or maybe 10s) layered on edge. Look closely in the pic to see the damage caused by the high water.

After some rock scrambling across melting snow and mud at the top, I found Island Lake still mostly frozen over. A local hiker just ahead of me on the trail said she had *never* seen it like this so late in the season.

It won't be many warm days before the ice on the lake is gone, but I bet there will be plenty of snow left on the mountain the whole summer.

On the trail back down I came across a chipmunk gather material for her nest. In case you're wondering....she won the stare down!

The U shape of the Lamoille Canyon is so dramatic, I just couldn't capture it in a picture, although I kept trying!

From a pull out on the road at the bottom of the canyon I could look up the creek and see the notch that marks the location of Island Lake.

It doesn't look like two miles does it? But believe me, at 9000 feet, it felt like that and more!


  1. This is an area that I have always wanted to investigate more. I was there once in 2007 and hiked to Lamoille Lake. It was beautiful of course. By the way, the new Elko phone book coming out in August will have my photo of Lamoille Canyon on the cover!

  2. Great pictures. You really have a talent.


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