Mountain Lion Springs

Services, Getting There

Hikes & Trails

Related Areas

Map Information

Lands with Wilderness Characteristics

Year Designated:

Act or Law:
Acres: 51,000 
State Region: Northeast Nevada
County Regions: Elko   


Managing Agency: Bureau of Land Management
Local District: Elko Field Office
Contact Info: (775) 753-0200
3900 East Idaho Street  Elko, NV89801
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Area Description

Dense forests cover a majority of the landscape, consisting of several unique tree varieties, and obscuring what few imperfections this area may contain.  Several distinct ecosystems also exist here, and are noted by the variation in trees and forests.  Within the flats of the valleys and along the foothills, sagebrush and low elevation desert brush gradually transition into Juniper trees and expansive Pinion/Juniper forests.  These forests are thick and cover a majority of the lower elevations.  Here trees are interspersed with sage and rabbitbrush, willows, wild rose, currants, fern bush, bunchgrasses, and wildflowers; but mostly sage.  These trees fill in the canyons and rugged terrain, obscure limestone cliffs and caves, and push against the lush greenery of the canyon bottoms.  Because many of the old vehicle routes and disturbances do not climb high into the mountains, these forests are also notable for their ability to choke out old routes and obscure tracks.  Many of the trails the may have once existed in this environment are no longer present, and have been overtaken by this awesome forest.  Aspen groves also intermingle with Pinion/Juniper forest, and can be found in increased numbers within the northern portions of this LWC.  Although generally higher in elevation, they mostly surround water and wetter areas, and exist within these lands at nearly any elevation.  These groves also often share an environment with mountain mahogany trees, which thrive from mid-mountain to the highest ridges.  Gnarled mahoganies can be found interspersed with bitterbrush, sage, and other larger trees.  They provide an excellent habitat for large animals, and add a rugged desert beauty to this region.  Also at higher elevations are large forests consisting mostly of limber pines and white fir.  Somewhat of an anomaly in this dry desert, these thick forests are spectacular and reminiscent of more famous high alpine mountains.  These trees are massive compared to other vegetation in the region, and some appear to be quite old.  At higher elevations, and especially within the southern portions of this LWC, these forests dominate the landscape.  They also provide an excellent habitat for numerous animals, and scenic escape for anyone (or thing) that needs it.  Due to the sheer amount of growth within this LWC, cross country travel can be difficult but is equally as rewarding.  This is a spectacular natural area, difficult for humans to penetrate.


These mountains support healthy populations of mule deer, antelope, and elk.  Signs of such large animals are present throughout the LWC, and sightings of these majestic beasts are also frequent.  Although well camouflaged by vegetation and trees, it is tough to fully obscure these enormous mammals.  Large predators are also certainly present here, although rarely seen.  Mountain lion scat can be found throughout the region, and signs of coyote are all over the land.  Bobcats and other smaller predators exist here as well.  Numerous small rodents and reptiles also call these lands home, and act as food for the predators.  Especially common are the usual desert animals such as jackrabbits, lizards, mice, and others.  Not to be forgotten are the incredible amount of birds that thrive in this ecosystem.  These vary from small sage birds to massive golden eagles, raptors, and falcons.  Plentiful cliffs and caves throughout the area create excellent roosting grounds, and expansive forests also provide an outstanding nesting habitat.  In particular, these mountains support an unusual density of prairie falcons, which can be found nesting in many of the canyons and cliffs here.  This area also supports a large grouse population, and both blue grouse and sage grouse were observed at the time of visitation.  The right combination of plentiful water mixed with sagebrush throughout the region, creates an outstanding habitat for these birds.  This is certainly a wild area, left to the controls of nature, and inhabited solely by animals.

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