Wilderness Area Status
Citizen Proposed Area
Managing Agency: Forest Service
Whiterock Mountain 10,141 ft.
Carrying the most water, Stoneberger Creek begins in the Stoneberger basin near the south end of the unit, and flows through a deep gorge with incredible rhyolite canyons beneath Whiterock mountain. Along the east side of the range, Ikes Canyons features large and unique limestone formations and deep amphitheaters. Ancient fossils abound in this 450 million-year-old strata. Most of the complex is forested, but in the heart of the range is a beautiful, rolling sagebrush plain with many seeping springs, north of the main peaks. Surrounding the unit on both the east and west are alluvial lowlands: Monitor Valley in the east, and the lower elevation Big Smoky Valley to the west. These alluvial valleys support healthy populations of pronghorn antelope and many desert plant and animal species. Sagebrush and native grass communities dominate the flora along with cacti and a host of seasonal wildflowers and perennial herbs.
Piñon Pine and Utah Juniper compose the mid-elevation plant life, growing thick in jungle-like woodlands in steep canyons and mountain slopes. Mountain mahogany can be found in the upper reaches of this zone and in the high elevation zones as well. These beautiful trees showcase the spectacular, windswept character of the high desert landscape so well captured by the northern Toquima range. Aspens grow in the presence of water and in large groves among the sage meadows and mahogany groves of this vast, high desert montane zone. Above 9,000 ft limber pine and bristlecone pine sparsely cover ridgelines and plateaus. Many trees appear to be over a thousand years old with gnarled, twisted trunks. Riparian areas are plentiful and very healthy throughout the range. Healthy communities consisting of wild rose, native grasses, aspen, willow, and serviceberry surround the most lush areas.
Prime habitat for a variety of wildlife, including the elusive sage grouse can be found throughout the area. The Toquima range boasts one of the healthiest populations of Mule deer in the entire state of Nevada, with winter and summer habitat readily available. Besides the sage grouse and the Mule deer, wildlife includes: elk; pronghorn antelope; feral horses and burros; cougar; coyote; cottontail rabbit; jackrabbit; golden eagle; harrier, swainson, coopers and red tail hawk; northern kite; long eared and great horned owl; kestrel and prairie falcon; sparrows; nuthatch; northern flicker; bluebird; raven; clarks nutcracker; horned lark; sage thrasher; horned, collared and sagebrush lizards.
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