The High Rock Lake Wilderness includes the northern portion of the Calico Mountains, a typical north-south trending Great Basin mountain range. Elevations in the wilderness range from 4,000 to 7,000 feet. Sagebrush is the dominant vegetation type, with saltbush and greasewood occurring at the lower elevations. Several canyons also contain willows, cottonwoods, aspens and other riparian species. The Wilderness was named for the usually dry High Rock Lake in the northwestern part of the Wilderness. The lake occasionally fills with waters flowing from High Rock and Little High Canyons. The lake was formed when a massive rockslide occurred thousands of years ago blocking the mouth of Box Canyon and diverting flows through Fly Canyon further to the north. A portion of the Applegate-Lassen Emigrant Trail crosses through the northern portion of the Wilderness. Wildlife that inhabits the area includes mule deer, California bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, mountain lion, kit fox, coyote, and sage grouse.
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 Lake Wilderness.
The Wilderness is located in western Humboldt County. The best access to the Wilderness is located along the maintained Soldier Meadows Road that forms the eastern boundary of the Wilderness.
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,
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 - Public law 113-291 (12/19/2014) To authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2015 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes.
Box and Fly Canyons cut through the mountain range and provide good hiking. Box canyon is along the proposed Desert Trail corridor. Fly Canyon contains large "potholes" that are seasonally filled with water. Fly canyon also contains several large dryfalls that impede travel. Deer and Chukar hunting are popular in the area. Rock hounding (using non-motorized tools) is popular in the area.
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
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.