Hole in the Rock

Services, Getting There

Hikes & Trails:

Desert Lake


Related Areas:

Map Information

Wilderness Area Status: Agency Proposed Area                                         

Year Designated:

Act or Law:

Acres: 115,700 
        Portion Closed by the Military: 45,700 acres (est.)

        Portion Open for Public Access: 70,000 acres (est.)

State Region: Southern Nevada                      DNWR_PetersonK_1149.jpg
County Regions: 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

Vast, low-relief country characterizes the Hole-In-The-Rock proposed wilderness.   The broad Desert Valley and the terminal Desert Dry Lake dominate the southern portion of the area and provide the sediment for the sand dune systems east of the lake bed.  From the floor of Desert Lake at 3200 feet, to the 5200-foot summits of the volcanic hills in the northern part of the area, the portion of wilderness proposal open to the public sees only 2000 feet in vertical relief.  Shallow, intrusive rocks create rugged ridges and canyons throughout the northern portion of the area, while the tufts and air-fall component of this Tertiary volcanism gives rise to flat-topped mesas and colorful ash formation.  The colors and forms of these volcanic rocks contrast dramatically with the Paleozoic limestone that make-up the majority of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge.  Colorful cliffs, walls, and isolated boulders carved by the ceaseless processes of erosion populate the northern portion of this area. Along with East Desert Range proposed Wilderness, this area is part of the Desert Lake Wilderness Complex.

Despite the rather limited extent of elevation within this region, the area supports four distinct plant communities.  Although the playa of Desert Lake support virtually no vegetation, the alkali soils immediately surrounding the playa support plants of the Saltbrush Community characterized by extensive stands of greasewood.  Where the soils rise above the alkali clays and become sandy, the Creosote Bush Community takes hold.  On the higher alluvial slopes, Joshua Tree Woodlands appear.  On the highest elevations of this area, the Blackbrush Community intermixes with scattered Joshua trees. 

The Alamo Road forms most of the south and east borders of this area and provides access for adventurers to explore this magnificent wilderness.  The westernmost 40% of this wilderness has been closed to public use by the military and is inaccessible to visitors.  The 60% of this wilderness proposal still open to the public offers outstanding opportunities for visitors to experience the same challenging terrain and conditions our ancestors faced in the age before mechanized travel.  There are no trails in this area.  Primitive desert travel is not easy and requires skills, stamina, and determination. 

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