East Desert Range (Rug Mountain) Proposed Wilderness


Services, Getting There

Hikes & Trails:

Dead Horse Ridge

Saddle Mountain

Twin Caves Canyon

Snow Canyon

Pocket Canyon

Chowderhead Canyon


Related Areas:

Map Information

Wilderness Area Status: Agency Proposed Wilderness

Year Designated: n/a

Act or Law: n/a                                    
Acres: 41,000(est.) 
State Region: Southern Nevada
County Regions: Clark/Lincoln 


Managing Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service
Local District: Desert National Wildlife Refuge
Contact Info: (702) 879-6110
160001 Corn Creek Rd  Las Vegas, NV89124

Refuge Visitor Information
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Area Description 

This proposed wilderness is in the heart of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge, the largest national wildlife refuge outside of Alaska.  The refuge was created in 1936 to protect and conserve the largest herd of desert bighorn sheep in the United States.  The East Desert Range provides crucial transitional habitat for bighorn sheep as well as supporting a multitude of other Mojave plants and animals.  The well-traveled Alamo Road forms the western boundary of this area, making it one of the most readily accessible wilderness proposals within the refuge.  From the Alamo Road, hikers can explore the 7,000-foot Dead Horse Ridge, which includes Saddle Mountain and the highest point of the area.  Sheep Pass provides access to Snow Canyon.  North of Sheep Pass, the Alamo Road provides hikers with opportunities for short hikes into Snow Basin, Twin Caves Canyon, Pocket Canyon, and Chowderhead Canyon.  Along with the Hole-in-Rock proposed Wilderness, this area forms part of the Desert Lake Wilderness Complex. 

Paleozoic limestone and quartzite create dramatic cliffs and colorful formations in the higher elevation of the East Desert Range.  The dramatic banding in the north part of the range earned the area the nickname “Rug Mountain.”  While rocky ledges and colorful geology characterize the upper elevations of the area, the broad alluvial slopes surrounding the range support extensive stands of Joshua trees and a wide variety of cacti.  The highest, north and east facing slopes provide a micro-climate capable of sustaining a small Pinon and Juniper woodland.  


Wildlife: desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, kit fox, collared lizard, mountain lion, roadrunner, king snake, desert tortoise
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