Services, Getting There
Hikes & Trails
Wilderness Area Status
BLM-inventoried Land with Wilderness Character in the Carson City District Resource Management Plan.
Managing Agency: Bureau of Land Management
The Excelsior North Units offer an outstanding diversity of natural landscapes, from the towering granite ridges and spires of west end of the unit, to the extensive pinyon wooden uplands, to the sagebrush “balds” comprising the highest ridges. Mormon tea, bitter brush, mountain mahogany, firecracker penstemen, and Great Basin wild rye are common plants found throughout the uplands. On the south side, steep and convoluted metamorphic and sedimentary rocky canyons carve deep into the unit and the vegetation changes drastically to embrace the lower desert salt brush habitat. These rugged canyons provide prime habitat for desert bighorn sheep and the springs along the base of the mountain provide critical water supplies for wildlife and wild burros from the adjacent Marietta Wild Burro Range. Throughout the range, old stumps can be found as testament to the wood cutting industry that fueled the surrounding mining activities. This early 20th century human activity is substantially unnoticeable as the intervening decades have produced a second growth forest that appears to be entirely natural.
The high points of the unit are Excelsior and Moho mountains at 8700 ft and 8805 ft, respectively. The low point of the area (5000 ft) can be found along base of the mountains immediately adjacent to Teels Marsh.
The rolling hills and pinion uplands of the west part of the unit offer outstanding opportunities for solitude. Deeper exploration into the rugged canyons and steep slopes of the eastern-part of the unit furnish visitors with outstanding opportunities to find and enjoy terrain that feels as if no one else has ever passed through. From within these hidden sanctuaries, solitude is complete with an occasional distant view back toward the sprawling desert landscapes far below. The southern escarpment walls, in burnt hues of browns and rust provide an outstanding challenge for any visitor who has the grit to confront these steep and inaccessible country. Most likely your only companions will be the elusive big horn sheep that inhabit these rugged canyons.
To see more photos and explore this Unit on Google Earth, visit Panoramio (will open a new window)
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