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Ruby Dome is the tallest peak in the Ruby Mountains and Elko County at 11,387 feet in elevation. The hike to the summit of Ruby Dome is around 6 miles long with an elevation gain of almost 4,800 feet. This peak can be easily seen from Elko and Spring Creek as it towers above the valley below. You can hike Ruby Dome as a day trip but most people spend the night at Griswold Lake and then hike to Ruby Dome the next Day.
This hike starts at the trail head at the top of the Spring Creek Campground, site #1. You will need a key to get through the gate and into the campground. To obtain a key contact the Spring Creek Association office at (775) 753-6295 8am-5pm Monday - Friday. There is a $25.00 refundable key deposit and it costs $10.00 per person per day (non-refundable). We base days on actual days not nights camped.
The hike to Ruby Dome starts at an elevation of about 6,600 feet at the trail head. The trail heads up Hennan Canyon along Bufferfield Creek. This part of the hike can be hot but luckily the trail weaves in and out of aspen trees and runs very close to Butterfield Creek from time to time.
As you hike up the canyon the terrain changes and gets rockier. Once you get closer to Griswold Lake the trail gets steeper and you can lose the trail in the rocks and vegetation very easily. Some people make this hike late in the hiking season because the traffic on the trail makes it easier to find your way through this section.
Once you arrive at Griswold Lake you are approximately half way to the summit. Griswold Lake is at 9,220 feet in elevation and is a popular place to spend the night before the steep climb to the summit of Ruby Dome. It is estimated to take between two (2) to two and a half (2 1/2) hours to get to Griswold Lake. The time to the summit is also around two and a half hours (2 1/2) from Griswold Lake.
From Griswold Lake the hike really starts to get steep. Hike to the back of the lake on the left side you can find a trail that heads up the slope to the ridge above. Once you make it to the top of this ridge you will be at 10,200 feet in elevation and can see Ruby Dome as the peak to your right.
From here you have the choice to summit Ruby Dome from the ridge on the left or a chute on the right. The ridge on the left is not a difficult route but if you do not like heights, BEWARE as there are huge drop offs on both sides of this ridge.
The chute works well except for the fact that there is usually still deep snow in it until later in the summer. The snow in some of these areas can still be over your head even into late August. Crampons would make this part of the hike easier.
After you exit the chute keep heading up the rocky slope and before long you will see the two karns on the summit of Ruby Dome, here you can enjoy the view and write your name in the book.
SCA - Campground Rules and Regulations
The following is a list of rules that must be observed when using the Spring Creek Campground.
CURRENT PROPERTY OWNER/RESIDENT CARDS ARE REQUIRED
ALL CAMPERS MUST BE IN GOOD STANDING WITH COA
AND ASSOCIATION DUES ARE CURRENT
The following is a synopsis of the department’s campground rules and regulations.
Spring Creek Association.
This is a private campground. Groups and organizations may lease this facility. Groups of 10 to 75 individuals will be charged $1.00 per person, payable in advance. Campsites must be reserved and assigned by the Spring Creek Association. Individual waivers will be required.
Nestled in the foothills of the Ruby Mountains, our beautiful, quiet campground encompasses 630 acres of pristine Nevada Terrain.
The campground offers trailhead access to Ruby Dome and Griswold Lake as well as many other wonders in the Ruby Mountain Wilderness.
Spring Creek Association
Photo By: Famartin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by: http://alfa-img.com/show/nevada-mountain-range-ruby.html