Services, Getting There
Hikes & Trails
Benchmark Gazetteer, page 38.
Wilderness Area Status
Wilderness Study Area
Managing Agency: Bureau of Land Management
Breaking News- April 7, 2023
On April 7, 2023, Senator Rosen released a working draft of the Truckee Meadows Public Lands Management Act. A portion of this act includes permanent conservation protection for 268,658 acres of the Dry Valley Rim, Twin Peaks, Buffalo Hills, and Poodle Mountain Wilderness Study Areas re-branded as the Smoke Creek National Conservation Area (NCA). Included within the proposed NCA are the Burro Wilderness (6,343 acres) and Wrangler Wilderness (49,540 acres).
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.
Poodle Mountain WSA is part of a larger complex of wilderness study areas, with the Buffalo Hills, Twin Peaks, Skedaddle and Dry Valley Rim WSAs. Burro Mountain, Tule Peak and the Granite Range together ensure the connectivity from Hart Mountain through the Sheldon, Wall Canyon, and Black Rock regions through to the Sierra Nevada.
Throughout this sweeping complex, benches, canyons, groves, ephemeral lakes and rock outcrops provide varied topography and habitats for sage-grouse and other wildlife. In the last decade, thousands of acres of private lands were made public through funding from the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act.
The now-public springs and riparian areas in this complex provide essential brood habitat for sage-grouse. Managing these areas to enhance ecological health will benefit not only sage-grouse population growth, but also other wildlife and human visitors as well.
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, pronghorn, mule deer, Greater sage-Grouse, raptors, songbirds, etc.
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