Tule Peak

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Map Information

Wilderness Area Statustule.jpg

BLM-inventoried Land with Wilderness Character in the Carson City District Resource Management Plan.

Year Designated: 

Act or Law: 
Acres: about 38,341
State Region: Northwest Nevada
County Regions: Washoe 


Managing Agency: Bureau of Land Management
Local District: Carson City Field Office
Contact Info: (775) 885-6000
5665 Morgan Hill Rd. Carson City, NV 89701
Visit the website (will open a new window)

Area Description

The Tule Peak area affords an outstanding diversity of natural habitats.  The western edge of the area rises gently from the edge of the Winnemucca Valley in broad, rolling foothills supporting scattered stands of Juniper within plains of native Great Basin sagebrush and grass communities.   Suddenly these rolling hills terminate in rugged, steep canyons and walls climbing over 3000 feet up to the top of the Virginia Range.  Springs and short stretches of perennial streams lie hidden back in the craggy canyons.  The cliff faces on the western side provide excellent nesting habitat for raptors.  The 8700-foot elevations of the knife-like Tule Ridge form highest point in the area culminating in Tule Peak itself.  These highest elevations provide extensive grasslands and dwarf sagebrush communities to support upland birds and summer habitat for mule deer.  Nestled below the rocky, Tule ridgeline in the northwest portion of The Tule Peak area, Dry Valley Creek runs within Spanish Flat and drains to Spanish Flat Reservoir.  Below Tule ridge, the northern part of the area is characterized by extensive upland grasses and provides excellent forage for cattle and large herds of pronghorn antelope. 

At higher elevations, mountain shrub is more prevalent including serviceberry, snowberry and antelope bitterbrush. Also occurring is Woolly mule’s ear, lupine and arrowleaf balsamroot. A variety of grasses are also present at higher elevations especially among the flats and plateaus. These include bluebunch wheatgrass, crested wheatgrass, Basin wildrye and Indian ricegrass.  Dominant plant communities at lower elevations consist of sagebrush steppe including Baily’s greasewood, horsebrush and a variety of rabbitbrush.  Juniper woodlands occur throughout most of Tule Peak area. In the southern end of the area, however, a small stand of pinion pines occurs.  These trees represent some of the northern-most pinion in this part of Nevada.  Occurring sporadically just below the ridge line and down the northeastern slopes are groves of aspen trees as well as mountain mahogany. A variety of wildlife inhabits the Tule Peak area including sage grouse, chukar, antelope, mule deer and golden eagles.

The eastern boundary of the Tule Peak area follows the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation boundary.  This remote and well-watered part of the area supports numerous springs and two perennial streams, Hardscrabble Creek and Jigger Bob Canyon.   This area also provides important watershed for agricultural operations adjacent to the reservation and for the community of Sutcliff.  Most of the Tule Peak area provides grazing opportunities for surrounding cattle operations.  The Incandescent Rocks ACEC forms a critical component of the southern portion of the area.  The multi-colored, fantastic rock formations found within the ACEC extend throughout the southern portion of the Tule Peak area including such popular primitive recreation areas as the “Pig Rock” and Needle Rock.  The Tule Peak is a very important area for hunters and also provides many outstanding opportunities for hikers, campers, rock climbers, backpackers, and horseback riders to enjoy an area with outstanding natural integrity within close proximity to the greater Reno area.  




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