Hike mountain peaks, relax by glittering high-elevation lakes, or drive through canyons filled with autumn leaves — the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest has it all. Covering more than 6.2 million acres in parcels scattered across western Nevada and eastern California, this is the largest national forest in the contiguous United States. It's also one of the most diverse, with lush mountain forests and dry, sun-soaked plains. With sections located near the Nevada towns of Sparks, Reno, Las Vegas, Ely, and Elko, it's a breeze to get your RV off the highway and into a spectacular campsite.
Much of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest is located in remote, isolated areas far from services and amenities, so an RV is a fantastic way to camp. Pull your mobile home into one of the campgrounds in or near the forest, and you're only a stone's throw from hiking, scenic drives, and more. Cut down on your driving time by renting an RV through RVshare. Whether you're heading to the Ruby Mountains or the eastern Sierra, an RV rental makes your trip more convenient and relaxing.
A popular spot for hikers and mountain bikers, the beautiful Columbine Campground is located in a remote part of Nevada. Here, you can access more than 50 miles of hiking trails through the forest from this access point for the Toiyabe Crest Trail. Open from May to October, this campground offers vault toilets and picnic tables at each site. The road can be bumpy and wet, so it's a good idea to scout it in a passenger vehicle before you arrive in an RV. Sites are first-come, first-served; rates vary, but you can pay on-site.
Enjoy full hookups during your visit to the California side of Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest at Paradise Shores RV Camp. Set next to the beautiful Bridgeport Reservoir, this spot offers boating, stunning water and mountain views, and plenty of space. Enjoy full hookups and Wi-Fi at your site, and guests can use the beach, dog park, hot showers, modern bathrooms, and laundry room. Nightly rates range from $38 to $50, depending on the time of year.
Located close to Lamoille Canyon in the Ruby Mountains, Thomas Canyon Campground is a great jumping-off point for hiking and scenic driving. The Thomas Canyon Trail starts from the campground, taking you to stunning waterfalls, meadows, and glacial landforms. The campground is open when the road is accessible — usually, you can camp from May to November. Sites have access to toilets and drinking water, and every spot comes with a picnic table. Rates start at $18 per night in the summer and $8 per night in the off-season.
Located in one of the southern sections of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest near Las Vegas, the Cathedral Rock Trail is a pleasant day hike into the Mt. Charleston Wilderness. Though it's less than 3 miles long, it offers beautiful views of the Echo Cliffs and high-elevation forests. Most of the trail features a gentle grade, but the last section challenges you with switchbacks and steep climbs. At the end, you'll see spectacular views of the mountains and desert.
Length: 2.8 miles
If you're camping near Reno, the Keystone Canyon Trail is an easily accessible day hike. With an elevation gain of just 603 feet, it offers a gentle challenge and exceptional views. This is a great spot for beginners — it's well-maintained and heavily traveled by hikers, bikers, and runners. Bring plenty of water if you're hiking in the summer; the trail is exposed and offers little to no shade on the way.
Length: 4.8 miles
Bring the whole family to the beautiful Tahoe Meadows Interpretive Loop Trail. Short and mostly flat, it takes you through meadows and forests. Along the way, you can learn about the local flora and fauna by reading the interpretive signs. The trail features boardwalks and occasional packed-sand sections, making it accessible for strollers and some wheelchairs.
Length: 1.2 miles
Located at the same trailhead as the Tahoe Meadows Interpretive Loop Trail, the Tahoe Rim Trail offers more flexibility in terms of distance. The full trail extends for 165 miles around Lake Tahoe, but if you're not looking to go the full distance, you can head north or south for an out-and-back hike. Head north, and you'll come across the spectacular Galena Creek Falls. Head south for views of the Chickadoo River and the Diamond Peak ski area.
Length: 165 miles
Intensity: Moderate to Strenuous
Venture into the High Schells Wilderness on the Taft Creek Trail. Located in a remote area east of Ely, Nevada, this trail is a lightly trafficked route through the mountains. Enjoy stunning views of surrounding peaks as you climb higher into the foothills.
Length: 3.8 miles
If you're looking for a challenge and beautiful views, the Green Creek Trail is a great option. It's located in the California section of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest that is close to Yosemite National Park. The trail climbs steadily, gaining about 1,400 feet as it travels to the beautiful Green Lake and East Lake. The lakes reflect the surrounding mountain peaks, which are often covered in snow.
Length: 8 miles round-trip
Intensity: Moderate to Strenuous
Hike through meadows and mountains on the Leavitt Meadows Trail, which takes you to four different lakes. Lane Lake is the closest, but you can also continue on to Poore, Roosevelt, and Secret lakes. If you're planning to do the full 12-mile round-trip hike to Secret Lake, leave early in the morning, and take plenty of supplies. Most of the route features gentle climbs and wide, packed-dirt paths.
Length: 6 miles one way
Whether you're searching for arid high-desert hills or lush, forested peaks, the diverse Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest has you covered. If you're interested in the plants and animals of the area, check out the forest's interpretive trails that offer educational signs to help you understand the local flora and fauna. The two most popular options are located in Lamoille Canyon and Tahoe Meadows. For the best birding, check out the area around Galena Falls and Tamarack Lake. Geocaching is allowed in most of the national forest with the exception of designated wilderness areas that include the Mt. Charleston Wilderness, the Jarbidge Wilderness, and the High Schnells Wilderness, among others.
The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest is packed with year-round fishing opportunities. Check out Angel Lake in the Ruby Mountains, Trumbull Lake, Noble Lake, and Ophir Creek. Near Bridgeport, California, you'll find a variety of small creeks that are open to fishing. In the winter, you can try ice fishing at the Wet Meadows Trailhead in California.
The remote sections of the forest offer exceptional stargazing. The Ruby Mountains, the areas south of Highway 50 in central Nevada, and the sections near Ely offer the best night-sky viewing opportunities.
Address: 1200 Franklin Way, Sparks, NV 89431
Fee: Entry fee $0
With its dramatically varied landscape, the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest is a haven for adventurers. Explore canyons, bag a peak, or simply enjoy the wilderness from the comfort of your campsite. An RV is a wonderful way to visit the forest and to have a relaxing vacation.