Volcanic Hills

Inventoried Land with Wilderness Character (LWC) in the Battle Mountain BLM DistrictVolcanicHills12_E5_PellegriniJ.JPG

Current LWC Status: Rejected

Acres: 27,444

State Region: West Central

County: Esmeralda

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 high, central peak forms the most striking feature of the Volcanic Hills area.  Ice Age, black basalts cover the northern half of the peak and unit with layered lava flows interspaced with long-winding rock walls stepping all the way down to Highway 6 along the north boundary.  The core of the mountain, however, is formed from 17-20 million year old ryholitic tuffs.  These tuffs are exposed with a fascinating diversity of rock types, formations, and colors on the south side of the peak.  Natural processes as old as the earth continue to carve and sculpt these mountains into a spectacular complex of rugged canyons and colorful ridges surrounded by vast alluvial fans.  These two, very different rock types create two unique natural systems.  The basalt dominated northern part of the area supports an extensive sagebrush community with a native grass component. In southern, rhyolitic tuff part of the area, the vegetation is more sparse and comprised of shadscale brush community. 


Desert Bighorn sheep constitute the dominant large animal population of the area.  Sheep trails and bedding areas abound throughout the area.  Although the area lacks permanent surface water, two guzzlers help support the Desert Bighorn sheep and other wildlife species including a variety of lizards, birds, rodents, rabbits, bobcats, and coyotes.  At higher elevations the bighorn sheep trails create an intricate highway system for these regal creatures. Along the high, sparsely-vegetated ridges on the south side of the unit, cozy bighorn sheep beds abound with views that both the sheep and humans enjoy.  Atop these rocky slopes and perched on volcanic boulders or gracefully soaring overhead and inheriting these big skies are golden eagles. These raptors, among others, claim these Hills as home and provide an important accent to this magnificent artwork of wilderness. The rhyolite volcanic crags of the south side of the units provide excellent habitat for nesting raptors including golden eagles. 

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