Services, Getting There
Austin 20 miles to the north
Access is via Forest Route 44017 & 44002
Hikes & Trails
Arc Dome Wilderness Area immediately south
DeLorme-pg 46; Benchmark-pg 58
Wilderness Area Status
Citizen Proposed Area
Managing Agency: Forest Service
Stretching for 90 miles between Austin and Tonopah, and with a rideline that rarely drops below 10,000 feet, the Toiyabe Range is one of Nevada’s crown jewels. The core of this range is home to the Toiyabe Crest Proposed Wilderness. This area surrounds the 72-mile Toiyabe Crest Trail that was designated as a National Recreation Trail through the National Trails System Act of 1968. Built by the Army Corps of Engineers in the 1930’s, this premier trail stretches from Kingston Canyon to the Heart of the Arc Dome Wilderness and provides an outstanding primitive recreation destination for hikers and horse packers.
Toiyabe Range Peak (10,960 feet) in the north and French Peak (10,790) in the south are simply the highest prominences of the towering ridge that forms the core of this area. Vistas from this ridge and the Toiyabe Crest Trail are some of the best in Nevada. On clear days an adventurer can see across the entire State of Nevada from the Sierra Crest in the west to Wheeler Peak in the east. These alpine highlands support healthy sagebrush and native grass communities punctuated by occasional stands of wind-sculpted mountain mahogany and small stands of limber pine. Mid-summer hikers are often treated to spectacular displays of wildflowers along the crest. The highest elevations support small islands of true alpine-type vegetation.
In the many deep, well-watered canyons that characterize the lower elevations of the area, visitors can find rich riparian habitats with willows, aspen, cottonwood trees, box elder, water birch, choke cherry, elderberry, dogwood, and Rocky Mountain maple. Tierney Creek, San Juan Creek, and Washington Creek comprise the most extensive water sheds in the area and provide wilderness travelers with a welcome respite from the often dry miles encountered along the high crest. Pinyon and juniper woodlands can be found throughout the area and the montane scrub includes cliffrose, serviceberry, and buffaloberry.
The “Wild Granites” on the eastern side of the area offer rugged spires and towers to challenge rock scramblers and climbers alike
The varied terrain of the area provides important habitat for many species of wildlife. Wildlife species include: mule deer; antelope; cougar; coyote; cottontail rabbit; jackrabbit; badger; vole; squirrel, chipmunks. Higher elevations provide habitat for marmot and pika. The skies over the area provide opportunities for visitors to watch golden eagle; vulture; harrier, swainson, coopers, and red tail hawk; northern kite; long eared and great horned owl; kestrel; prairie falcon; sparrows; nuthatch; northern flicker; bluebird; raven; Clark’s nutcracker; pinyon jay; horned lark; and sage thrasher. Hikers along the Toiyabe Crest Trail are often momentarily stratled by the sudden flurry of wings as a sage grouse takes flight. The Toiyabe Crest Proposed Wilderness protects nearly 50,000 acres of important sage grouse habitat.
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