Royston Hills

Inventoried Land with Wilderness Character (LWC) in the Battle Mountain BLM District30629567014_d24e2199bb_z.jpg

Current LWC Status: Proposed

Acres: 26,209

State Region: West Central


Managing Agency

Bureau of Land Management

Battle Mountain District Office

50 Bastian Rd. Battle Mountain, NV 89820

(775) 635-4000

Battle Mountain District BLM Website

Area Description:

The unit is 30 miles northwest of Tonopah and in the southern Royston Hills just east of the Gabbs Pole Line Road. This area is predominantly natural and controlled by wild forces.  The core of this unit is comprised the low-lying southern portion of the Royston Hills.  Blackbrush, saltbrush, cholla, rice grass, and desert pavements characterize vegetation and surface of this unit.  Along the western edge of the unit, the soil becomes sandy and a shallow silt area exhibits greasewood along the western margin.  Diverse geology characterizes this unit: colorful rhyolite hills, dark basaltic plateaus, and ancient sedimentary formations. The area is predominately low and roling in elevation with an elevation of 5100 feet adajacent to the Big Smokey Valley to 6300 feet in the Royston Hills in the northern-most part of the unit. Pronghorn, wild horses and burros frequent this area. The predominant fauna in the unit are rabbits, rodents , and reptiles.     

The vast, open landscape of this unit is misleading to the external observer.  This alluvial space quickly swallows-up a visitor on foot and within 15 minutes of walking into this alluvial wilderness, he/she would be completely alone and isolated in the magnitude of the space.  The basalt tablelands offer a maze of twisting canyons and drainages, creating innumerable opportunities for secluded spots. The wide, meandering drainage systems and low rolling hills in the central portion of the unit provide outstanding opportunities for visitors to find solitude bounded by an empty, natural landscape and the endless sky. This is truly a remote and isolated place where outstanding opportunities for solitude abound. 

This area is not easy to explore, however, nearly every inch of this unit is accessible to the visitor with the determination and skills to traverse trackless wilderness. The area offers outstanding desert hiking and exploration opportunities. The strong contrasts between the basalt and sand in the unit combined with the cactus plains of the lower elevations create outstanding opportunities for photography, painting and sketching.   The expansiveness of the unit provides endless vistas of distant mountains and valleys.  This area presents spectacular outstanding vistas at every turn. The area offers outstanding opportunities for arid-lands nature study.  The area is rich in historic and prehistoric archaeological resources for visitors to explore and investigate.  The area has a rich geological diversity for rock hounding and mineral collection.  Hiking, orienteering, backpacking, bird watching, primitive camping, horseback riding, burro and llama packing, hunting, and general sightseeing complete the possibilities for outstanding opportunities for primitive and unconfined recreation within this unit. 

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