Winter is coming, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t get outside and enjoy the great outdoors.   

For a unique, wild western winter adventure, load up the snowmobiles and head to Northern Nevada for a loop like no other.

Often blanketed by snow in the winter, the wide open spaces make for excellent snowmobiling conditions. Here’s how to plan your perfect four-day snowmobiling tour.

Day 1: Ely

While Ely has made a name for itself as an off-the-beaten path hotspot for mountain biking, there’s no shortage of trails for cold weather adventure seekers. 

The limestone desert background makes for a unique backdrop to the hard-packed play or huge powder fields and bowls of the high desert mountains. Cave Lake State Park is one of the best areas for snowmobiling and backcountry snowboarding/skiing.

It’s also a great spot for ice-fishing, skating and snow-shoeing.  

Be sure to check out Cave Mountain and Success Summit — two prime spots for OHVs in the  summer, as well. Ward Mountain is another great location out of the mining district. 

Note: there are no snowmobile rentals in Ely, so you’ll need to be an experienced rider with your own machine.

Ely is a perfect basecamp with a slew of restaurants and murals throughout town to enjoy. 

There’s always plenty of winter fun in Ely, with popular annual events like the Fire and Ice Festival (Jan. 15 - 17, 2021) and the Rotary Ice Fishing Event (Jan. 30, 2021). 

The former offers everything from a fat tire bike race on the snow, to a cross-country ski race, to an ice sculpture contest and a fireworks train ride.

Day 2: 

Ruby Mountains 

(Elko, NV)

The Elko area has been voted one of the “Top 10” snowmobiling destinations in the world by SuperTrax Magazine. 

Elko is surrounded by pristine forests and meadows, crisscrossed in nearly every direction by numerous trails for snowmobiles. Just south of Elko, the Ruby Mountains feature remote trails into Nevada’s backcountry. 

The 10,000-acre Lamoille Canyon Scenic Area (often referred to as the Alps of Nevada) is one of Nevada’s most spectacular landscapes. 

Follow the 12-mile, paved road through the canyon to the unloading area at the snow line. Remember, snowmobiling is prohibited in designated wilderness areas, but there are plenty of legal riding opportunities within the canyon itself.

Other areas to hit while you’re there: Wild Horse Reservoir or Gold Creek and Merritt Mountain  

Jack Creek, with miles of open range snowmobiling and a wide variety of terrain. Jack Creek and Independence Mountains offer a near 4,000 foot elevation climb and terrain for all levels of experience.

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Day 3: Jarbidge

For brave travelers looking to get really off the grid, Jarbidge is the place to go. The area sees up to 30 feet of snow in winter, offering a unique array of challenges for all skill levels. It is advised to fuel up before you get there. 

Snowmobiling is prohibited in designated Wilderness areas. For information on restricted areas, contact the U.S. Forest Service office in Elko at 775-738-5171

(Info from

Day 4: 


The fabulous winter scenery of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest is accessible to people of all ages who enjoy the excitement of snowmobile travel. 

Routes are open when there is sufficient snow to protect resources (approximately eight inches in most places). Snowy conditions can start as early as late October and can last until April or May. Snowmobiling is not allowed in Wilderness areas. 

Two of the highlights for riders include Hope Valley and Tahoe Meadows. 

For a full list of snowmobiling areas in the forest, click here: