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Poodle Mountain Wilderness Study Area

Wilderness Area Status

Wilderness Study Area
Year Designated:

Act or Law:
Acres: 142050
State Region: Northwest Nevada
County Regions: Washoe   


Managing Agency: Bureau of Land Management
Local District: Winnemucca Field Office
Contact Info: (775) 623-1500
5100 East Winnemucca Boulevard  Winnemucca, NV89445
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Area Description

The Poodle Mountain WSA embraces most of the Buffalo Hills, a circular basaltic plateau dominated by large canyons generally radiating from the center. The WSA measures 21 miles long and 18 miles wide. Elevations range from 3,850 to 6,832 feet. Three distinct landforms are found here: basalt plateau highlands, basalt plateau canyon country and fringing desert piedmont.

The basalt plateau highlands in the northern part are flat to rolling. This section includes Poodle Mountain, the volcanic vent from which the basalt flows of the Buffalo Hills issued. The highlands are only moderately eroded compared to the canyon country around them. The basalt plateau canyon country has many deep-cut canyons and gorges. This section includes finger-like, flat-toped ridges and remnant plateaus between the canyons. The landscape is extremely rugged, rocky and has high-relief compared to the plateau from which it radiates. The fringing desert piedmont along the southern edge is the transition between the Buffalo Hills and the Smoke Creek Desert to the south.

Hiking and camping, horse-packing, rock climbing and scrambling are good here. Added attractions include Nobles wagon route (a California emigrant trail used during the mid-1800s), the Poodle Mountain volcanic center and impressive canyons.

Wildlife: Mountain lion, antelope, deer and sage grouse

Native grasses on Poodle Mountain  (c) Brian Beffort

At the right moment in spring, the fields of wildflowers at Poodle Mountain are breathtaking.  (c) Scott Smith

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