Wilderness Area Status
Lands with Wilderness Characteristics
Act or Law:
State Region: Southern Nevada
Managing Agency: Bureau of Land Management Local District: Las Vegas Field Office Contact Info: (702) 515-5000 4701 North Torrey Pines Dr Las Vegas, NV89130 Visit the website (will open a new window)
The Virgin Peak Additions provide critical habitat desert big horn sheep habitat and genetic diversity for several plant and animal species found nowhere else in Nevada. These high peaks, of this area, culminating in Virgin Peak, towering to almost 8000 feet and provide summer habitat for wildlife seeking relief from the surround deserts. Several springs provide dependable sources of precious water to wildlife and human visitors in this region. The Virgin Peak Additions include the highest and most identifiable landscape of the Gold Butte region.
Included in this acreage is the Virgin Mountain Instant Study Area, which was created because it harbored a unique overlap of Great Basin, Mojave, and Sonoran desert life zones. The lower elevations of this are in home to a variety of plant species more typical of the Mojave Desert including creosote bush, blackbrush, yuccas, oak, and manzanita. The higher elevations harbor species including pinyon pine, juniper, white fir, and ponderosa pine. Arizona cypress can be found within this area- it is the only known occurrence in the state of Nevada. A small stand of Douglas fir represents the southern-most occurrence of this species in Nevada.
Traveling through this area offers plenty of opportunities for physical challenge for the adventurous, and is worth the effort. Throughout the winter, cold storms and leave the highest elevation of this area blanketed with snow, providing challenging opportunities for primitive winter recreation.
This varying habitat serves as a home for bighorn sheep, mule deer, mountain lions, and coyotes. Overhead, golden eagles, prairie falcons, red-tailed hawks, and turkey vultures often course through the sky.
To see more photos and explore this Unit on Google Earth, visit Panoramio (will open a new window)