Warm Springs Wilderness Inventory Unit

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Map Information

Wilderness Area Status:

BLM Wilderness Inventory Unit

Year Designated:
Act or Law:
Acres: 18,149
State Region: Northwest Nevada
Counties: Humboldt;  Washoe 


Managing Agency: Bureau of Land Management
Local District: Winnemucca District Office
Contact Info: (775) 623-1500
5100 East Winnemucca Boulevard,  Winnemucca, 89445
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Area Description

This beautiful area lies between the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge to the north and the Black Rock Desert High Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and associated wilderness areas to the south; and it provides a critical wildlife habitat connection between them.

Many species have been identified on the Sheldon Refuge. These include 650 species of plants; 300 vertebrates, including 21 species of upland birds and 24 species of upland mammals, as well as native fish (Lahontan cutthroat trout, Alvord chub, Sheldon tui chub). 200 invertebrate species, including 75 species of butterflies, are known on the Sheldon. Many of these same species and habitat values are found in the Warm Springs unit, too.

The western edge of the area is bounded by the dramatic Wall Canyon escarpment and the scenic Little Cottonwood Canyon. Wide open buttes plunge into Wildcat Gorge and Cottonwood Canyon. These volcanic cliff faces provide excellent habitat for nesting raptors. Isolated aspen groves support many other wildlife species. Cottonwood Canyon may support endemic fish species.

High buttes and numerous springs dot the center of the unit including the Bear Butte Complex, and the Trough Mountain Range. The Trough Mountains rise sharply from the west and then drop precipitously into the rugged walls of Dry Canyon and then into Tollhouse Canyon on the east.

The eastern edge of the area lies directly adjacent to the Summit Lake Indian Reservation. The area is rich in prehistoric cultural resources as well as being a traditional-use area for the Summit Lake Tribe.

On the south, the Warm Springs unit is nestled between the East Fork High Rock Canyon Wilderness and the North Black Rock Range Wilderness. Its location allows unobstructed movement of wildlife, like pronghorn antelope (the Sheldon Refuge was created to protect the pronghorn). Bighorn sheep and mule deer also use this route.

These vast open spaces provide excellent recreation opportunities for hunting, hiking, camping and just gazing at incredibly-dark, star-filled night skies. Overgrown remains of vehicle tracks provide good trails for backcountry exploration.

Wildlife: pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, mule deer, Lahontan cutthroat trout, Alvord chub, Sheldon tui chub