High Schells Wilderness
Wilderness Area Status
Designated Wilderness Area
Year Designated: 2006
Act or Law: White Pine County Conservation, Recreation and Development Act of 2006
State Region: Eastern Nevada
County Regions: White Pine
Local District: Ely Ranger District
Contact Info: (775) 289-3031
825 Avenue I Ely,
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The High Schells Wilderness rises majestically about 10 miles east of Ely, Nevada. This long and lofty range, with lingering snowbanks, marches above timberline for miles, reaching 11,880 feet at North Schell Peak. Taft and South Schell Peaks join in dominating the view. Rimrock, talus slopes and cliffs fall away into broad basins where clear streams run. The west-side canyons are lovely. Aspen and conifers line the many creeks that plummet off the high benchlands.
To the east, canyons swoop down into Spring Valley, a vertical mile below. The east-side canyons are deeply incised and often heavily wooded, with riparian thickets along stream banks. Looking southeast is a striking view of Wheeler Peak and the South Snake Range: a mountain island surrounded by desert valleys.
Elk, mule deer, and mountain lion thrive in forests of quaking aspen, Douglas and white fir, Englemann spruce, limber and bristlecone pine, while golden eagles soar the updrafts along the crest. Riparian vegetation provides key habitat for blue grouse, sage grouse, chukar and many other species. Perennial streams throughout the area support populations of rainbow, brook, cutthroat and brown trout. Fishing, big game and upland game bird hunting are popular activities here.
Archeological sites include petroglyphs and lithic scatters. The "Labor of Love" cave, containing the 10,000 year old remains of a cave bear, was discovered in 1982.
Aspens in upper Timber Creek in the High Schells Wilderness (c) Brian Beffort
The High Schells Wilderness is a wonderland for skiers and snowshoers in the winter. (c) Pete Dronkers