Angel Lake: a jewel in the Ruby Mountains

Aspen trees provide shade at the Angel Creek Campgrounds southwest of Wells.

Aspen trees provide shade at the Angel Creek Campgrounds southwest of Wells.

We’re just into the summer season, but many visitors to the northeastern part of the Silver State don’t realize the Ruby Mountains are also known as the Alps of Nevada with its majestic peaks, scenic valleys and abundance of wildlife.

While most travelers associate Lamoille Canyon with this well-known mountain range, others also know of a hidden jewel 12 miles southwest of Wells.

Angel Lake sits in a bowl high in the mountains, ringed by 10,000-foot snow peak caps for most of the year except for those dog days of summer. The crystal clear lake has been a favorite with northeastern Nevada residents for generations and provides a serene spot either for the daily user or for campers wanting to escape the crowds and heat.

On this particular summer day with temperatures beginning to rise into the 90s, boaters brought their rubber rafts, canoes or kayaks to Angel Lake, while campers took advantage of the cooler days and nights to set up their tents or bring trailers.

Managed by the U.S. Forest Service, the recreation area has an 11-unit picnic area, and for those wanting to spend a little more time there, the lake has 26 single family-unit camping spots, many of which are separated by dwarf Aspen trees.

According to the Forest Service, Angel Lake offers fishing for rainbow and brook trout. For those who want to see more of the area on foot, the Greys Lake Trail that begins at the campground’s entrance offers a 4.75-mile round-trip path to a hidden alpine lake. Just bring plenty of sunscreen and water.

The area’s wildlife makes this a spectacular location, as visitors may have an opportunity to see bighorn sheep, mountain goats, deer and perhaps a hawk or eagle circling neat the lake.

The two-lane road from Wells to Angel Lake presents its challenges for visitors towing trailers because of its sharp curves and climb, but the journey is well worth the effort.

Others, may decide to avoid the windy road and set up camp four miles below the lake at the Angel Creek Campground, another picturesque spot in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.

Aspens surround the 18 single camping sites, one double tent site and one group tent site, while the campgrounds are near the trailheads leading into the Humboldt Wilderness area.

Before heading to either site, many campers have also loaded up on additional supplies at Roy’s Market, which is near the turnoff for the campgrounds. Truck stops and gasoline stations are in abundance at the second exit heading east toward Wendover.

Wells, which is 45 miles east of Elko, is a five- to-six hour trip from western Nevada. The first Wells exit for travelers coming from the west has signs indicating the recreation areas.


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