Nevada's Ruby Mountains invite endless comparison to better known landscapes. The range is collectively known as Nevada?s Alps, and Lamoille Canyon as Nevada?s Yosemite. Long and narrow, the Rubies stretch 100 miles and seldom exceed 10 miles in width. Glaciers scoured the northern end of the Rubies during the last ice age, creating the classically U-shaped Lamoille Canyon. Hanging valleys, towering summits, and year-round snowfields characterize the range. The U.S. Congress designated the Ruby Mountains Wilderness Area in 1989; the Wilderness Area now encompasses 36,422 ha. South of Lamoille Canyon lie 7 miles of lake basins and meadows before the terrain south of Furlong Lake turns into a narrow, grassy ridge that runs 20 miles to the Overland Lake basin. The Rubies contain 10 peaks above 10,000 feet (including Ruby Dome at 11,387 feet) and more than two dozen alpine lakes, rare treats in this arid state.
The Ruby Mountains IBA is one of the few sites in Nevada that has both the high altitude habitat and the associated bird species. The Rubies are particularly noteworthy for Rosy Finches, and all three species have been recorded in the area over the course of a year (Black Rosy Finch is a breeder here, Gray-crowned Rosy Finch a possible breeder; all three species winter in the area). The Rubies remain wild terrain and support montane habitats in good condition.
Of general ornithological interest are the Himalayan Snowcocks and Hungarian Partridges that have been introduced and are doing well. The Himalayan Snowcock occurs nowhere else in North America, and its presence attracts life listers and hunters alike.
Managed by the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.