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The Tahoe Rim Trail
The 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail is considered one of the world's premier trails. The first and only how-to guide to this popular trail, it is the official guidebook of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association, whose mission is to improve, maintain and promote the trail.    

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Secret Pass Scenic Drive

Irrigation in the North Ruby Valley
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The Secret Pass Scenic Drive is a fifty-one mile drive that, as the name suggests, crosses a "hidden pass" called Secret Pass. The drive is paved for it's entire length and provides the traveler scenic views of the beautiful Ruby Mountains and the North Ruby Valley. Moreover, the drive is a far-superior drive between Elko and Wells. Anyone driving down Interstate 80 with some time to spare should make a point of taking this scenic drive that passes through a remote and wild area of Nevada.

The Secret Pass Scenic Drive follows Nevada Highway 229 for it's entire length. The drive can be picked up either twenty-eight miles south of Wells at the junction of Highway 93 and Highway 229, or the drive can be started right off of Interstate 80, at Halleck (exit #321).

Starting at the junction of Highway 93 and Highway 229 south of Wells, the road travels through the desert, goes across a low-elevation pass, then drops into the beautiful Northern Ruby Valley. The views on this stretch of road are fabulous, as the Ruby Mountains dominate the landscape and march across the Western horizon.

Snow-capped Peaks Near Secret Pass
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After fourteen miles, Highway 229 turns to the north and closely parallels the Ruby Mountains. At this intersection, a traveler can also head south on Highway 767 (the Ruby Valley Road) to visit the Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge (which the Ruby Valley Scenic Drive passes through).

The drive through the Northern Ruby Valley is beautiful and remote. The Ruby Valley plain marches off to the east seemingly endlessly, while the Humboldt Mountains and the Ruby Mountains rise steeply off the valley floor.

Now, for those looking for a "high-altitude" pass, well...sorry...you're out of luck. Secret Pass itself is a low-elevation pass, with agricultural lands all around it. Indeed, but for a sign marking the top of it, many travelers probably wouldn't even know that they crossed it.

Once over Secret Pass, Highway 229 drops down toward the Humboldt River and Interstate 80. About 10 miles down from the summit of Secret Pass, an intrepid traveler can take a beautiful drive along the western side of the Ruby Mountains on a good condition gravel road that ultimately leads to the town of Lamoille. Although this road isn't named, it's still easy to find - as it's the first road that leads off of Highway 229 once over Secret Pass.

Traffic on the Secret Pass Scenic Drive is exceedingly light, and will consist almost entirely of local traffic as few people ever really explore this remote area of Nevada. The road is also in very good condition. Just watch out for the occasional cow crossing the road.

Quick Facts About the Secret Pass Scenic Drive

  • Trip Length : 52 miles, one-way
  • Road Type - The road is paved and basically flat except for the gradual and short-climb over Secret Pass.
  • RV's / Campers? - Yes.
  • Services Available - Gas and supplies can be found in Wells and Elko.
  • General Location - Northeast Nevada, between Wells and Elko on Highway 229.
  • Camping - The BLM owns lots of land along this drive, so you can camp anywhere. You can also camp at some of the more established campsites located at the Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge (on the Ruby Valley Scenic Drive), which is located just south of the Secret Pass Scenic Drive.

Photos of the Secret Pass Scenic Drive

Angry Cow Cows Grazing in the Ruby Valley Dusk in the North Ruby Valley

More Photographs of the Secret Pass Scenic Drive

Map of Secret Pass & Nearby Scenic Drives

Suggested Books

Benchmark Nevada Road & Recreation Atlas : This topographic map book shows ALL roads in Nevada. This book is a mandatory requirement if you'll be venturing off the main highways shown on the tourist map. Additionally, this book shows many historical sites, points of interest and recreation areas.

More Info at Amazon

Where to Stay When Driving Through Secret Pass

Both the town of Wells and Elko have plenty of relatively inexpensive hotel rooms available.

Lodging in Wells Lodging in Elko
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