LAMOILLE CANYON is the largest valley in the
Ruby Mountains , located
in the central portion of Elko County in the northeastern section of
the state of
Nevada , in the western
United States . Approximately 12
miles (19 km) in length, it was extensively sculpted by glaciers in
previous ice ages .
Lamoille Canyon begins at
Liberty Peak at an elevation of 11,032 ft
(3,363 m). It quickly descends to a glacial basin now occupied by
Lamoille Lake . A nearby granite shelf contains the picturesque Dollar
Lakes . Further down the canyon is a large stand of Whitebark pine and
the Road's End Trailhead, the high point (8,800 ft (2,700 m)) of
Lamoille Canyon Road , which is a
National Forest Scenic Byway . This
is also the northern terminus of the 38-mile (61 km) Ruby Crest
National Recreation Trail , and the start of the much shorter trail to
Island Lake .
Road's End is where
Lamoille Canyon begins a sweeping turn around the
Thomas Peak , 11,325 ft (3,452 m). The glaciers have deeply
carved the canyon, leaving a classic U-shaped cross section and, high
on the side of Thomas Peak, four hanging valleys (including Island
Lake). The road then passes the Terraces Picnic Area (featuring more
glacial remnants) and Verdi Peak . A nearby nature trail exhibits the
diverse plant life in the canyon bottom.
The canyon continues to descend to its junction with Thomas Canyon,
which enters from the south. At the head of Thomas Canyon is majestic
Mount Fitzgerald (11,215 ft (3,418 m)), and at its outlet is the
Thomas Canyon Campground. About a mile below the campground, Lamoille
Canyon passes through a narrow slot and then drops quickly to its
Right Fork Canyon
Right Fork Canyon , which also enters from the south.
Near this point are Lamoille Falls, Camp Lamoille (available for group
rental), and the precipitous north face of Mount Gilbert (11,120 ft
At Camp Lamoille the canyon has descended to 7,100 ft (2,200 m). In
the remaining 3 miles it descends another 1,000 ft (300 m) and exits
the range at the Powerhouse Picnic Area, the site of a powerhouse
built in 1913 for the Elko-Lamoille Power Company. It burned down in
1971, leaving only the foundation. Nearby are the communities of
Lamoille and Spring Creek .
View from the northwest end of the right (southwest) rim
Lamoille Canyon in the winter
Aspens along the nature trail
Lamoille Canyon and
Thomas Peak , viewed from atop
Verdi Peak .