High Rock Lake Wilderness
Wilderness Area Status
Designated Wilderness Area
Year Designated: 2000
Act or Law: Black Rock Desert - High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area Act of 2000
State Region: Northwest Nevada
County Regions: Humboldt
Bureau of Land Management
Local District: Winnemucca Field Office
Contact Info: (775) 623-1500
5100 East Winnemucca Blvd Winnemucca,
Visit the website
(will open a new window)
This wilderness is named for High Rock Lake located in its northwest corner. The Applegate-Lassen National Historic Trail passes through the northern part of this wilderness. Many of the 1849 emigrants to Oregon and California passed this way, and the scenery remains much the same as it was over a century ago.
The catastrophic event which blocked Box Canyon occurred during the Pleistocene epoch, a time when quiet High Rock Creek, swollen with runoff from the cooler and wetter climate, flowed with the force of a small river. Where did all this water go? Very quickly High Rock Lake filled, then spilled to the north carving the surprising grottos and labyrinth of Fly Canyon.
Beyond Fly Canyon the waters of High Rock joined Mud Meadows Creek and both emptied into the great Ice Age Lake Lahontan. The photo shows the narrow defile at the mouth of Fly Canyon through which the torrential Pleistocene waters flooded. Today the silence of Fly Canyon is broken only by the hushed whispers of trickling water or the occasional croak of a frog from deep within a stagnant pool.
This wilderness is a component of the Bureau of Land Management's National Conservation Lands.
Wildlife: Snowy Plover, American Avocet, Black-necked Stilt, Sagebrush Vole, Sage Sparrow, Sage Thrasher, Sagebrush Lizard, Common Side-blotched Lizard, Western Fence Lizard, Skilton
You have to work hard to navigate the jumbled boulders of Box Canyon, but the beauty and solitude are worth it. (c) Brian Beffort
Fly Canyon offers experienced canyoneers great exploration and adventure. (c) Kurt Kuznicki