Worthington Mountains Wilderness
Wilderness Area Status
Designated Wilderness Area
Year Designated: 2004
Act or Law: Lincoln County Conservation, Recreation and Development Act of 2004
State Region: Eastern Nevada
County Regions: Lincoln
Bureau of Land Management
Local District: Ely Field Office
Contact Info: (775) 289-1800
702 North Industrial Way HC 33 Box 33500 Ely,
Visit the website
(will open a new window)
Worthington Mountain rises like a ship 4,000 feet above dry valleys of central Nevada to almost 9,000 feet. The rugged limestone backbone of the mountain presents a difficult challenge to visitors with heavily-dissected, maze-like canyons, precipitous cliffs, knifelike limestone surfaces, and no surface water. Those who persist will be rewarded by endless vistas, natural arches, 2,000 acres of ancient forest, (the oldest tree dated at 2,100 years), and limestone caves, the largest being Leviathan.
The Worthington Mountains feature a divergent flora from the curious intersection of Great Basin and Sonoran desert vegetation including cholla and cactus of the valley through pinyon - juniper, limber and ponderosa pine, to the Bristlecone Pine of the craggy 9,000 foot summit ridge.
No other Nevada area express the wilderness characteristics of stark beauty, chaotic topography, and remoteness quite as well as Worthington Mountain.
Waiting for the Sun
Morning comes slowly, sullenly. Sun creeps at a snails pace: now to the dusty, pale sink of the valley floor; now to the red stain of invading cheat grass. North the snow-lined peaks of the Quinn Canyon Range subside behind the bulwark of the Worthington Mountains. South the humped back of Bald Mountain in the Groom Range stands, a lone sentinel watching silently over clandestine operations in Area 51. West, beyond the morning haze the Reveille and Kawich Ranges disappear in shades of blue and gray under the shadow of an an approaching front.
The shadows move only by degree while Scott's orioles, mourning doves, scrub jays, and the ubiquitous fly catchers chatter about their morning business. Slowly, imperceptibly the amorphous line of shadow resolves into a chaos of blocky teeth, and accurate representation of the Meeker Peek topping the jagged limestone wall of the Worthington Mountains to my back, to the east. And somewhere, 1,600 feet straight up, the great gaping maw of Leviathan Cave yawns thoughtlessly into the sleepy morning.
This wilderness is a component of the Bureau of Land Management's National Conservation Lands.
Climber imitates fly in spider web at Leviathan Cave in the Worthington Mountains Wilderness (C) Pete Dronkers
The Worthington Mountains Wilderness (c) Howard Booth