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
Managing Agency: Forest Service
Local District: Ely Ranger District
Contact Info: (775) 289-3031
825 Avenue I Ely, NV89302
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The Grant Range Wilderness is the most remote and isolated management area on the Ely Ranger District. Barren rock outcrops create a visual contrast to the vegetative cover. The highest stretch of the Grant Range's crest, a long, lofty white limestone massif, hangs a vertical mile above the floor of Railroad Valley to the west. The peak gets as much as 35 inches of precipitation a year, resulting in a remarkable richness of plant life. Despite the relative wetness, surface water can be hard to find. Since the range is limestone,the bedrock is highly permeable ands rapidly conducts the water underground. Occasionally the water reappears, rushing out of surprising springs. Lingering snowpack provides water for backpacking in early summer.
Flora & fauna
The range contains a natural storehouse of over 200 species of wildflowers, more than a dozen tree species, numerous springs and mule deer. Bristlecone pine and Limber pine grow along the crest of the range near Troy Peak. This wilderness is also home to a herd of desert bighorn sheep.
Between Troy Canyon and Irwin Canyon, facing Railroad Valley, the ridge drops precipitously and displays a large limestone cave about 100 feet wide and 150 feet high, with a steeply sloping floor extending about 100 feet in from the entrance. To reach the cave, one must climb 2,000 feet above the valley bottom. Inside are a few formations and old charcoal deposits buried in the floor of the cave.
Little Meadows Creek offers limestone narrows at the canyon entrance, with a waterfall more than 20 feet high which flows in spring and early summer. Above 8,000 feet the canyon opens into a meadow backed by the rugged crest of the Grant Range.
The highest point within the wilderness' north-south oriented mountain range is Troy Peak at 11,289 feet. Many side ridges and drainages spur east and west from the main ridgeline crest. Troy Peak includes an 8-mile long section of the crest near or above 10,000 feet, forming the most rugged part of the range. Snow remains in shady spots even in summer below the spectacular west wall of Troy Peak. Troy Peak can be climbed by a steep but relatively short route from the north fork of Scofield Canyon. It ascends 3,500 feet in only 2.5 miles. A more roundabout route follow the south branch of Scofield Canyon and reaches the crest about 3 miles south of Troy peak. Allow at least 10 hours for the trip. The hike shows detail and solidity of stone, shifting views, and expanses of space oon either side.
The Troy Peak Research Natural Area of 2,500 acres was established in 1996. This area is entirely within the wilderness.
The North Fork of Troy Canyon (on the west side of the range) is home to a perennial stream. The canyon also offers historically interesting mining ruins and old block houses.
In Scofield Canyon on the east one finds fir and aspen. Reddish limestone walls sourround the canyon on three sides. Bighorn sheep browse the upper eastern reaches in summer. A bristlecone forest grows almost to the summit.
Cherry Creek Campground, on the border dividing the Grant and Quinn Canyon Range, offers an excellent base for a longer stay in the region. It is pleasant and uncrowded, with a flowing stream and cottonwoods. It is a primitive campground and piped water is not available.
Wildlife: Ash-throated Flycatcher, Desert Bighorn Sheep, Townsend's Big-eared Bat, Pallid Bat, Spotted Towhee, Clark's Nutcracker, Northern Flicker, Juniper Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Canyon Wren, Mule Deer, Black-throated Sparrow