Palisade Mesa Wilderness Study Area
Wilderness Area Status
Wilderness Study Area
Act or Law:
State Region: West Central Nevada
County Regions: Nye
Bureau of Land Management
Local District: Battle Mountain field Office
Contact Info: (775) 635-4000
50 Bastian Road Battle Mountain,
Visit the website
(will open a new window)
Palisade Mesa Wilderness Study Area is in the Pancake Range, adjacent to The Wall WSA. It measures 18 miles long and 9 miles wide. To the south is an area of steep-walled canyons carved through solid rock. Small washes and gullies interweave throughout. When it rains, dozens of waterfalls, some as tall as 100 feet, momentarily carry water. The Black Beauty Mesa to the south falls off precipitously into Railroad Valley. Huge boulder fields cap the mesas. Only scattered patches of trees cling to the sparse soils developed on the volcanic bedrock.
On the west side, sheer cliff walls rise up from the valley floor. The view east from the top of the mesa reveals the Lunar Ccrater Volcanic Field, which is studded with cinder cones, lava flows and multi-colored obsidian. Lunar crater, a maar volcano, is listed on the National Natural Landmark Register.
The mesas support desert bighorn sheep. A nesting population of prairie falcon and other raptors can be seen soaring the updrafts created by the steep cliffs.
Hiking and camping are difficult due to rough terrain and unpredictable water sources. However, the effort is worthwhile once the starkly unique mesa tops are attained. Climbers like the challenge of numerous chimneys, spires, clefts and boulder fields.
Ancient petroglyphs and large herds of bighorn sheep depend on this vast and wild landscape. (c) Scott Smith
Rugged, rough, yet beautiful geology adorns Palisade Mesa. (c) Norman Herterich