East Humboldt Wilderness
Wilderness Area Status
Designated Wilderness Area
Year Designated: 1989
Act or Law: Nevada Wilderness Protection Act of 1989
State Region: Northeast Nevada
County Regions: Elko
Local District: Ruby Mountains Ranger District
Contact Info: (775) 752-3357
PO Box 246 Wells,
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The East Humboldt Wilderness, comprising 36,000 acres, sits astride the East Humboldt mountain range, a high ridgeline of mountains running south from Wells, NV. The area was designated as wilderness in 1989 with the passage of the Nevada Wilderness Protection Act.
Towering 5,000 feet above the sagebrush flats of eastern Nevada, the mountains are desert islands alive with alpine scenery, lake basins, streams, wildflowers, meadows, stands of aspen and conifer, and abundant wildlife. The highest point is Hole-in-the-Mountain Peak at 11,306 ft. which forms a large opening on the skyline.
This is a setting of heavily glaciated peaks, cliffs, talus slopes and U-shaped canyons with groves of limber pines and aspens and high meadows carpeted with wildflowers. The region's wetter-than-Nevada-average climate, which produces much of the water, also offers summer storms of several days duration, so be prepared to get wet.
Angel Lake, at the far northern end of the range, is accessible by car. The lake lies at the bottom of a classic cirque; partly bare rock, partly alpine scrub, partly patches of snow. On a ridge to the left rises a gray monolith seen all the way from Wells. From the campground there are trails to various points. The nearest, Greys Lake, just 5 miles away, is completely uncrowded, lying in a lush basin among meadowy rims that consist more of various flowers than of grass. The lake looks deep enough for swimming. Fees are charged for camping here, as at nearby Angel Creek.
Mule deer, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, coyotes, mountain lions and small animals are common residents. Streams and lakes support brook, rainbow and the threatened Lahontan Cutthroat trout. This area's rich cultural history is colored by prehistoric bighorn sheep and hunting blinds on high elevation ridges, as well as by hunting camps and uninhabited caves. Mine structures and Basque tree carvings are part of the history you will find there.
Established in 1998, Hole-in-the-Mountain Natural Research Area lies partially within this wilderness.
Wildlife: Black Rosy Finch, American Pipit, Swainson's Thrush, Rocky Mountain Goat, Hairy Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Blue Grouse, Savannah Sparrow, Western Toad, American Beaver, Western Jumping Mouse, Painted Lady
Although often outshined by the Ruby Mountains, the East Humboldt Wilderness is a gem in its own right. (c) Norman Herterich
(c) Norman Herterich