Saturday, July 4, 2015

Lamoille Canyon - Island Lake Trail Hike

Me post hike.


Part of me wasn't sure I was going to do this hike today, despite one of the primary reasons I am visiting Elko is so that could revisit Lamoille Canyon.

Faithful readers will recall that I was completely in awe of Lamoille Canyon -- Nevada's Swiss Alps.  Located about 25 minutes south of town Lamoille canyon offers some of the best hiking and views that I've ever experienced.

Part of me definitely wanted to simply nap and sit by the pool all day.  But I don't like to let "grass grow under my feet" so once I had probably cleaned up from the parade, I loaded some bottles of water and some snacks and decided that I'd at least do a shorter hike and not a super long one.

Island Lake Trail

I made the trip in about 25 minutes and reached the top of the canyon in short order.  I was in awe of just how fast the temperature had dropped.  In Elko, my car's temperature read 94 degrees.  At the top of Lamoille Canyon, the temperature was just 58 with dark brooding clouds.  In fact, on the way up, it was starting to rain a little.

Thanks to a kindly stranger who pointed me in the right direction, I found the trailhead for Island Lake (it isn't easily found) which was near the entrance to the parking lot.

I was the only one on this trail and it is a 2 mile trail that leads to a snow fed lake in a gulley near the top of the canyon.  The trail pretty much ends at the lake, but if you want to explore you can scurry about on your own.

As I got closer to the top I saw little clusters of ball bearing sized hail.  That sort of made me nervous and sadly I would've spent a lot more time at the top of the lake except I heard the rumbling of thunder.  The trail is 100% exposed so I would've taken the brunt of it.  It also was getting some gusting winds.

I did manage to find a cluster of unmelted snow and the entire area was extremely peaceful.

The smells going up to the top were just incredible.  Those my age might recall Hubba Bubba or Bubbalicious bubble gum and they had some tropical flavor and whatever wildflower it was, it smelled exactly like that.  Also there were notes of pine and sagebrush in there as well.

I was at the tail end of the wild flower season but there were still plenty to see and admire.

The high point (aside from the lake) was crossing a roaring water fall / river.  The forest department is building a nice bridge over it and it was just super nice to sit by it and listen to the water and look at the cars thousands of feet below me.


The trail is fairly easy -- at least technically.  It is incline that includes a lot of switchbacks.  I wasn't wearing a Garmin but I would estimate that it was indeed 2 miles long. I managed to make the trek in about 40 minutes, which included taking lots of pictures.

If you have a few hours to spend in Lamoille, this hike is worth doing.

Typical stretch of early trail

Approaching the under construction bridge

Roaring waterfall.

Water spilling below

Island Lake

Island Lake

Snow?!?!? In July?!?!!?

I think these flowers were what I was smelling. Just delicious

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