Wilderness Area Status
Designated Wilderness Area
Year Designated: 1989
Act or Law: Nevada Wilderness Protection Act of 1989
State Region: West Central Nevada
County Regions: Nye White Pine
Managing Agency: Forest Service
Local District: Ely Ranger District
Contact Info: (775) 289-3031
825 Avenue I Ely, NV89302
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Currant Mountain, at 11,500 feet, is the highest peak of the White Pine Range and the headwaters of White River. The wilderness includes two other impressive peaks: Duckwater at 11,200 feet and the 10,162-foot White Pine Peak. The latter is a massive, remote mountain with a curious open area around the peak - a landmark in the forested surroundings.
This is an incredibly scenic area. The crest of the range is formed of steep, white limestone cliffs with beautifully-layered strata that gleam in the sun. The huge, narrow spine of sheer white limestone goes on for mile after mile. Ancient bristlecone pines cling to every crack and a small band of bighorn sheep lives in the security of a rock fortress that offers no trails, streams, lakes or even much horizontal ground to the few humans who ever venture there. Its wildlife and pristine vegetation make it a de facto ecological preserve. With little livestock grazing or other use, it is protected with virtually no real conflicts.
Much of the high spine can be traversed in a 10-mile loop, as a backpack or a long, strenuous day trip. The area demands determined explorers, as there are no perennial streams and no springs near the crest. Few hunters or hikers go there.
The lack of water limits cattle grazing, though bighorn sheep live there in the rugged terrain.
There are extensive stands of pinyon pine on the lower western slope of the area, where Duckwater Shoshone Indians harvest pine nuts. Above 9,000 feet elevation on north- and east-facing exposures are beautiful forests of white fir, limber pine, bristlecone pine and scattered ponderosa pines. Still higher is a sub-alpine bristlecone forest, mostly composed of young, vigorous trees quite unlike the popular image of the species. On exposed crests are older bristlecones, gnarled and sculpted by centuries of wind and weather. Currant bushes are - as the area's name implies - found on the crest.
Available in the Ellison area, at White River and along Currant Creek. Water is available; boil for safety.
On south and west sides by dirt roads in major drainages. Also along Meadow Creek Road. From the east use dirt road running along Currant Creek. Use Courduroy Basin Road to access north end of unit.
Wildlife: Cliff Chipmunk, Long-eared Myotis, Long-legged Myotis, Desert Bighorn Sheep, Flammulated Owl, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Spotted Towhee, Lucy's Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Pinon Jay, Mountain Chickadee