The Wilderness consists of a large area of broad volcanic uplands dissected by the deeply cut drainages of High Rock, Yellow Rock, Grassy, and Mahogany Canyons. Elevations in the Wilderness range from 4,900 to 5,800 feet. The main vegetation type is sagebrush, with willows and small stands of chokecherry occurring in the canyons. The canyons are relatively well watered and support meadow complexes and other riparian vegetation. Wildlife in the area includes California bighorn sheep, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, mountain lions, coyotes, and sagegrouse. The canyons also provide outstanding habitat for nesting raptors. The Applegate-Lassen Emigrant Trail is located in High Rock Canyon which forms the eastern boundary for the area.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the High Rock Canyon Wilderness.
The Wilderness is located in western Humboldt and northern Washoe Counties. All access routes to the Wilderness require high clearance four wheel drive. The main access to the wilderness is along the jeep trail located in High Rock Canyon which is seasonally closed from January 31-May15 to protect nesting raptors and important bighorn lambing grounds.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2001 - Public law 106-554 (12/21/2000) In order to conserve, protect,
and enhance for the benefit and enjoyment of present and
future generations the unique and nationally important historical,
cultural, paleontological, scenic, scientific, biological, educational,
wildlife, riparian, wilderness, endangered species, and recreational
values and resources associated with the Applegate-Lassen and
Nobles Trails corridors and surrounding areas, there is hereby
established the Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant
Trails National Conservation Area in the State of Nevada
Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2002 - Public law 107-63 (11/6/2001) The Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National
Conservation Area Act of 2000 is amended in sections 4(b) (16
U.S.C. 460ppp–2(b)) and 8(a) (16 U.S.C. 460ppp–6(a)) by striking
‘‘July 19, 2000’’ each place it appears and inserting ‘‘October 3,
he side canyons of High Rock Canyon provides excellent opportunities for backpacking and dayhiking. . High Rock Canyon is located along the National Desert Trail and provides for backpacking opportunities as well. Deer, antelope and chukar hunting are popular in the area. Driving through High Rock Canyon along the emigrant Trail is also a popular recreational activity.
Climate and Special Equipment Needs
The area has a typical climate of the Great Basin; hot summers with temperatures over 100 degrees F and cold winters with temperatures often below 20 degrees F. Although some of the canyons contain perennial streams and springs, they should not be relied on as a source of water and a sufficient amount of water should be carried. Because the area has poor cell phone coverage the only reliable form of communication is by satellite phone. Access roads in the area are very rough and visitors should have high clearance four wheel drive vehicles with extra gas and two spare tires.
Safety and Current Conditions
Current conditions for the area can be found by calling the BLM Winnemucca Field Office at 775-623-1500 or the BLM Surprise Field Office 530-279-2726
Want to Volunteer for Wilderness?
Citizens who volunteer their time to steward our wilderness areas are an essential part of wilderness management. Contact the following groups to inquire about volunteer opportunities.