Services, Getting There
Hikes & Trails
Benchmark Gazetteer, page 31
Wilderness Area Status
Designated Wilderness Area
Managing Agency: Bureau of Land Management
The Pine Forest Range Wilderness includes both the former Blue Lakes WSA and the Alder Creek WSA. This combined unit contains the highest portions of the Pine Forest Mountain Range culminating in Duffer Peak a nearly 9500 feet. Blue Lakes were formed by Ice Age glacial activity on the north side of the highest peaks. The largest lake fills a cirque below a spectacular rock wall, replenished by springs and winter snow melt water. The lesser lakes follow a moraine-damned stream draining north from the largest lake. A heavily-used fishery, Blue Lakes is stocked by the Nevada Department of Wildlife. Other evidences of glaciation, such as polished and striated rock, moraines and glacial canyons are also present. The topography of this wilderness is steep with slopes averaging 60%. Waters of the Pine Forest Range transit from broad meadows near the summit to steep, cascading ravines down the flanks of the mountains.
The Alder Creek portion of this wilderness lies on the west flank of the Pine Forest Range. This sagebrush steppe ecosystem mixes with riparian zones and stands of conifers at the higher elevations. The land varies from rolling hills and open meadows to steep granite outcrops.
The subalpine lakes provide a focus for many visitors. The remainder of the wilderness offers outstanding opportunities for exploring, hiking, horse packing, rock climbing, peak bagging, hunting, and fishing. The variety of terrain, scenic landforms, and vegetation provide varied and changeable possibilities for recreation. Heavy winter snows produce verdant spring growth. The high mountains provide respite from the heat of the lower valleys. Lush autumn displays of colors in the extensive aspen groves herald the return of winter.
This area supports subalpine and sagebrush steppe ecosystems, vast aspen stands, and extensive riparian zones. Limber and whitebark pine trees live at the highest elevations. Scenic groves of mountain mahogany cover many exposed ridges.
Mule deer, antelope, mountain lion, sage grouse, chukar, and bighorn sheep.
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