Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
1,585.00 ft (483.11 m)
Trail type
4.40 mi (7.08 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Whorehouse Hill Loop - named for the section of legal brothels that lie at the bottom of the slope - traces mountain bike single track and rugged backcountry road to reach the tallest peak in the mountains standing over Ely's north side.

With the mountains dominating the skyline over West Ely's historical area, this trail is a short but strenuous hike that climbs to a peak standing over 1500 feet above the street in a little less than 2.5 miles. Either end of the loop, accessible via High Street, can be accessed by a short walk from any of the hotels in Ely's historical section.

Heading in a counterclockwise direction - suggested as it keeps the confusing network of dirt roads and private easements less confusing on the return - the hike begins up the Whorehouse Hill mountain biking trail. The path here is very rocky and steep, escalating to wider and wider views over the town's historical and Murry Canyon areas. Be cautious of downhill mountain bikers, and yield the trail to them if you hear them flying past.

The trail soon reaches a jeep track, where the thigh burning climbing mellows out for a moment, leading to a juniper grove. When the single track continues, the grade is more mellow, eventually leading to the radio towers atop the hill. A short .1 mile scramble will take hikers to the rocky peak, standing at an elevation of about 8000' with wide views across the Steptoe Valley, with the Schell Creek Range stands to the east and Ward Mountain dominates views to the south.

From here, the return route follows a series of long dis-used mining roads and extremely rugged jeep tracks. The path passes several open mine shafts, with tailings piles still containing a good amount of color that can be sifted through. Descending through a canyonous landscape, upon reaching the lower elevation the trail eventually hits several dirt roads that seem to haphazardly cross and bisect the lower landscape. While most of these roads are on BLM land and publicly accessible, the most direct route mapped here will lead down to the intersection of High Street and 3rd Street.

Overall, this is a strenuous hiking route in both directions, with steep climbs and descents on rocky and sandy single track. However it may offer the best views overlooking the Ely area. The first portion of the trail from the trailhead to the first radio tower is designated mountain bike trail, and though it sees few riders, bicyclists should be given the right of way. Hikers should be prepared for significant wind and temperature drops near the peak. There are no amenities of any kind along the hike. Hikers can expect to run into very few, if any, other people along this route.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Epic views.


Trails can be confusing.

Trailhead Elevation

6,470.00 ft (1,972.06 m)

Highest point

8,010.00 ft (2,441.45 m)


Historically significant
Big vistas
Geologically significant

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping


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