Nevada: Discover the Ruby Mountains

Nevada's Ruby Mountains; Photograph by Tomas Kaspar, Alamy
Nevada’s Ruby Mountains; Photograph by Tomas Kaspar, Alamy

Explore “Nevada’s Swiss Alps” on foot.

What Is It? Nevada has a lot more to offer than the lights, casinos, and showgirls of Las Vegas. Take your time getting to know some of its more natural features with a day hike or backpacking journey through the rarely visited Ruby Mountains, located 20 miles south of Elko in northeastern Nevada. Thru-hike the 42-mile Ruby Crest Trail, which traverses the Rubies north to south and is the longest trail in the range. Or choose from a variety of shorter trails (3 to 15 miles round-trip) leading up to canyons and alpine lakes, over mountaintops, around mining remnants, or to an old water flume.

Why Do It? A visit to “Nevada’s Swiss Alps” comes with countless rewards. Within this isolated, untouched territory you’ll find ten peaks over 10,000 feet, more than 20 lakes, 900,000 acres of wilderness, and the rare commodity of solitude. You won’t have to compete for campsites with many people, but you will share the landscape with Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, mountain goats, mountain lions, wild turkey, and the Himalayan snowcock, a bird native to mountain ranges in Central Asia. The Rubies are the only place in the U.S. where this transplanted bird lives.

Make It Happen: For the definitive guidebooks about the area visit Gray Jay Press. For trail and guide information visit the Ruby Mountains Express website.

See all the summer weekend adventures.

More: See America’s 100 Best Adventures and Long Weekends Like a Local

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50 Best Summer Weekend Adventures: Great adventures are all around us—and summer is the ideal time to seek them. To give you some ideas and inspiration, every weekday we will be sharing a different U.S. summer weekend adventure, state-by-state from A to Z. We invite you to share your favorite summer weekend adventures in the comments section below when your favorite state is featured. Report back after the weekend to tell us about the outdoor adventures you had.