Grapevine Mountains Wilderness Study Area
Wilderness Area Status
Wilderness Study Area
Act or Law:
State Region: West Central Nevada
County Regions: Esmeralda
Bureau of Land Management
Local District: Battle Mountain field Office
Contact Info: (775) 635-4000
50 Bastian Road Battle Mountain,
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The Grapevine Canyon Wilderness Study Area is an extremely rugged land, with mountain peaks rising to 7,694 feet. The uplands contrast sharply with two broad bajadas which drain toward Sarcobatus Flat on the northeast and Bonnie Claire Flat on the northwest side. Deeply-gouged canyons with outcrops of yellow, vermillion and greyish green rock and broad, alluvial fans complete the varied terrain of the area.
Three distinct plant communities, separated topographically, climb the WSA from the hot alluvial benches studded with creosote and Joshua trees, to the foothills clad in big sage and saltbrush, to the colder heights covered with pinion, juniper and big sage. The hot and cold desert zones do not intermix across this vegetative transition zone.
Desert bighorn sheep, mule deer and wild horses and burros are common near Willow Spring, the only yearlong surface water.
The area experiences extremes of temperature and rainfall. Summertime temperatures, soaring to 120F, drive thunderstorms which may dump much of the area's 3.5 inches of annual precipitation in torrents that result in flash floods.
Survival in this wild setting with its harsh climatic conditions and lack of water takes skill. Hence, hiking and camping are demanding. Adventurers can test backcountry ability and resourcefulness here. Many hidden places still exist, offering the exhilaration of discovery.
This rugged land is cut deeply on the southwest by flood drainages. Unique erosion patterns are carved by infrequent torrential rains. The view from the top is impressive. To the south, Death Valley, with its broad salt plain, falls to the lowest elevation point in the U.S. The vast perspective created by this vertical fall of 8,000 feet makes one mindful of the scale and extent of this country. To the west, north and east, the view stretches over the Queer Mountains and the 30-square-mile dry lake bed of Sarcobatus Flat. A broad alluvial bench skirts these approaches to the mountainous core.
This Wilderness Study Area is a component of the Bureau of Land Management's National Conservation Lands.
With a little rain even the driest desert landscapes spring to life. (c) Kirk Petersen
The Grapevine Mountains adjoin designated wilderness in Death Valley, just across the state line. (c) Brian Beffort