Humboldt National Forest
The Humboldt National Forest was named after Alexander Von Humboldt, a well known German naturalist. This 2 1/2 million acre National Forest is composed of nine separate units distributed over eastern Nevada. The Forest Supervisor's office is in Elko, Nevada.
From lowlands covered with sagebrush to mountain peaks frosted with snowfields, the Forest is a country of different faces and many moods. The contrast of the scenery is reflected by the activities pursued by Forest visitors and users.
It often comes as a pleasant surprise to tourists when sagebrush-dominated rangelands give way to alpine meadows and sparkling streams. One can travel through many life zones while exploring the Humboldt.
Climate varies greatly from summer to winter. Daily temperature fluctuations of 50 degrees are not uncommon. Winters are moderate, with heavy snows in the mountains and light snows in the valleys. Precipitation occurs mainly during the winter and spring months. Summer temperatures range into the high 90's, while winter temperatures seldom go below zero.
The Wilderness Act of 1964 designated the 65,000-acre area of Jarbidge as Jarbidge Wilderness, which contains rugged, glaciated, mountainous terrain. This Wilderness includes over 100 miles of hiking trails.
The Nevada Wilderness Protection Act of 1989 added six new wilderness areas and enlarged the Jarbidge Wilderness. The Act designated an additional 401,400 acres of wilderness. The additional six wilderness areas are Mount Moriah, Currant Mountains, Quinn Canyon, Santa Rosa-Paradise Peak, East Humboldt and Ruby Mountains.
The Forest has 20 developed camp and picnic grounds. Daily fees are charged at the more highly developed sites. Connections for electricity, sewage, and water are not provided. For those desiring a more challenging experience, backpacking and hiking opportunities are unlimited on the Forest, with nearly 1,000 miles of trails to explore. Lesser known backcountry areas, like the Santa Rosa Mountains, offer recreation experiences similar to those in the more heavily visited Ruby Mountains. Backpacking stoves are recommended to minimize impact in the higher elevations. Warm clothing is a must, because night-time temperatures can drop to 25 degrees Fahrenheit at the higher elevations even during the summer.
In the Ruby Mountains, the Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway is a paved road extending 12 miles up Lamoille Canyon into the Ruby Mountain Scenic Area, providing spectacular views of the rugged mountain peaks and glaciated canyons. Three pullouts with interpretive signs explain some of the natural features along this road. At the end of the road, a trailhead provides access to the 40-mile-long Ruby-Crest National Recreation Trail.
A variety of other activities are available for your enjoyment. Sparkling streams and pristine lakes provide numerous cold-water fishing opportunities. Resident game fish include rainbow, brook, cutthroat and Dolly Varden trout. You may glimpse some of the wide variety of wildlife on the Forest. Mountain goat, bighorn sheep, and elk inhabit portions of the Forest, and populations of mule deer are scattered throughout the entire Forest. Sage grouse, blue grouse, and chukar partridge are also found here. Many species of small mammals and birds abound and provide a good food source for predators, such as the coyote and golden eagle. Good hunting opportunities are also available. Winter provides many different recreation possibilities. Helicopter skiing is available in the Ruby Mountains. Snowmobile areas are available on many parts of the Forest. Cross-country skiing continues to increase in popularity.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication