Virgin Mountain Instant Study Area

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Map Information

Wilderness Area Status

Instant Study Area

Year Designated: 2016
Act or Law: National Monument Proclamation
Acres: 6,560 
State Region: Southern Nevada

County Regions: Clark   


Managing Agency: Bureau of Land Management
Local District: Las Vegas Field Office
Contact Info: (702) 515-5000
4701 N Torrey Pines Drive  Las Vegas, NV89130
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Area Description

The Virgin Mountain Instant Study Area is now part of the Gold Butte National Monument designed December 28, 2016. While it is protected as part of the national monument, it is still officially a BLM Instant Study Area requiring Congressional action in order to designate it Wilderness or release it from its WSA status. Virgin Mountain is located between Cabin Canyon, the Arizona Stateline, the Whitney Pass Road and the Gold Butte Back Country Byway.   The Instant Study Area was set aside as a natural in 1976 because of ecological significance.  The larger area of wilderness characteristics includes 22,323 acres of rugged topography, dramatic cliffs, diverse vegetation, and springs characterize the higher elevations culminating steep limestone cliffs dotted with white fir and Douglas fir. In the lower elevations are found red and buff sandstone outcrops dominated by Joshua trees and creosote. From the tops of ridges are breathtaking views down into surrounding deserts including the Gold Butte area around Lake Mead and the Grand Canyon - Parashant of Arizona.

The Virgin Mountain area is especially diverse in its vegetation. It was recognized by the BLM as an Outstanding Natural Area because of the diversity. The lower elevations are dominated by creosote, black brush, Joshua tree and other yucca species. Climbing higher, the vegetation transitions to Gamble’s oak, manzanita, pinyon pine, Utah and Rocky Mountain juniper, and in some locations, Arizona cypress. In several of the north-facing drainages are found aspen stands and Rocky Mountain maple. In the highest elevations are found remnant stands of white fir and Douglas fir.

There are fine opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, camping and hunting. Hikers typically climb Virgin Peak from the south. There are several old cattle trails that were cut through the dense vegetation on the northeast side that can be hiked; these are not open to motor vehicles. There are many nice locales for dry camping. Camping near water is limited to a number of springs and intermittent streams on the northeast side, but camp at least 300 feet away to allow wildlife access to this precious resource.

Signs of early man exist here, in the form of shelter caves, petroglyphs, campsites and lithic scatters.

The BLM is protecting the wilderness character of the adjacent lands across the Arizona state line through the Resource Management Plan for the Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument.