Services, Getting There
Supplies: Wells is 70 miles north on US 93; Currieis 10 miles to the northeast.
Hikes & Trails
DeLorme Gazetteer, page 40.
Lands with Wilderness Characteristics
Managing Agency: Bureau of Land Management
The Cherry Creek Range is a beautifully pristine portion of the state, and this LWC is no exception. Numerous plants and animals fill its rugged expanse, and little human disturbance exists. Due partially to rough terrain, and partially to its remote location, little development has taken place in this LWC. Human impacts are minimal, and mostly limited to the surrounding valleys and private property. Instead the landscape is dominated by tall limestone cliffs and sweeping ridgelines. Mountain mahogany clings to the rock, and grows upward in gnarled shapes, interspersed with dense pinion/juniper forest and the occasional aspen grove. Sagebrush is prevalent throughout the area, and carpets the landscape with a grey-green hue. Although less dense in some areas, this plant appears to be present throughout the LWC, especially at lower elevations and along its margins. Other portions of the LWC are entirely forested, forming a mystical natural environment. This forest is a large habitat for many animals, existing as a home and nesting ground. It is beautiful and expansive, hiding any flaws or abrupt changes in the landscape, and providing an increased sense of isolation.
Elsewhere, sagebrush is interspersed with rabbitbrush, buck brush, currants, bitterbrush, fern bush, bunch grasses, and numerous wildflowers. These plants cover plains, meadows, and clearings in the landscape, and offer a wide-open feel that is dramatically different from the thick forest. Springs throughout the area add a splash of green, providing water to these arid lands, and further attracting wildlife. Meanwhile, the canyon bottoms are lush as well, and often choked out with dense vegetation. Aspens, cottonwoods, and willows grow tall here, but are often overshadowed by imposing walls and cliffs. Wild rose, currants, sage, and other large vegetation also thrives in these wetter areas. This environment is mostly confined to Cottonwood Canyon and Taylor Canyon, while canyons on the west side of this LWC are still lush but definitely drier. In general, the northwest portions of this LWC exhibit outstanding great basin character, thick with pinion, juniper, sage, and bunch grasses. Here, rockfall from the surrounding mountains is more likely to bock your path than dense vegetation, but it is beautiful all the same. This is an outstanding natural environment.
Ample vegetation throughout the LWC also creates a broad habitat for many animal species. Varying elevations and environments attract many different beasts, ranging from large mammals to tiny insects. The largest are Elk, which thrive at the higher elevations and hide within the mahogany and other forests. At least one large herd lives in these mountains, and seems to be attracted to the numerous springs and ample water located on the east side of this LWC. Antelope, mule deer, and perhaps desert big horn also live in this area. These rugged mountains create an excellent environment for such animals. Predators also lurk the hills, no doubt drawn to the plentiful meals and undisrupted wild nature of this landscape. Although remaining unseen, mountain lion, coyote, and bobcat are all present here. Smaller mammals exist as well, and include rodents such as jackrabbits, mice, badgers, and others. These animals also help to create food for birds and snakes, which can be found here in great numbers. Hawks, falcons, eagles, and other large birds of prey nest in the many cliffs of these mountains, and do well in such an environment. This range also has an unusually high population of prairie falcons, as observed at the time of visit. Sage birds, and other smaller birds are common here as well, including the sage grouse. At higher elevations, an excellent combination of high/low sage and numerous springs creates a nearly ideal habitat for these birds. Many grouse live in this area, and these mountains are a critical habitat and corridor for this increasingly rare bird. In fact, when combined with other areas to the south, this is a large refuge and important region for all animals.
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