This wilderness area consists of the Piute Mountains and the surrounding bajadas and extensive flat aprons of alluvium. The elevations within the Wilderness range from 2,000 to 4,132 feet. The Piute Mountains exhibit strong color contrast and texture that vary from very angular, jagged volcanics to rounded, smooth granite hills; and the ridges are cut by numerous canyons and washes. Dominant vegetation is typical of much of the Mojave Desert, consisting of creosote bush scrub, which gradually changes into a mixed desert scrub at higher elevations. The dry washes are characterized by catclaw acacia, smoketree, cheesebush, desert lavender, little-leaf ratany, and desert almond. Wildlife is also typical for the Mojave Desert; including coyote, black-tailed jackrabbits, ground squirrels, kangaroo rats, quail, roadrunners, rattlesnakes, and several species of lizards. The area provides transient ranges for mule deer and bighorn sheep, as the Piute Mountains are too small and too sparsely watered to accommodate permanent populations. Prairie falcon eyries are known to exist within the Wilderness area. The large bajadas provide excellent habitat for the threatened desert tortoise; the entire wilderness area has been identified as critical habitat for the desert tortoise.
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 Paiute Wilderness.
Paiute Wilderness is located in extreme northwestern Arizona approximately 15 miles southeast of Mesquite, Nevada and 40 miles south of St. George, Utah, as the crow flies. The northern half of this wilderness is outside Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument on Arizona Strip District BLM-administered land while the southern half of the wilderness is within this monument, designated by Presidential proclamation in 2000. Access can be obtained from Mesquite, Nevada south through Lime Kiln Canyon on rugged dirt roads and from St. George, Utah south via Quail Hill Road and Wolf Hole Valley. These routes may be impassable during winter because of snow accumulation and wet roads. The portion of the route from St. George, Utah across Black Rock Mountain is closed during the winter. Services or facilities are only available in nearby communities (St. George, Beaver Dam and Mesquite). Maps and information can be obtained from the St. George Interagency Visitor's Center, 345 East Riverside Drive, St. George, Utah (435-688-3200).
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.
Paiute Wilderness is lcoated in a remote, rugged portion of Arizona where you will not likely encounter any other human being. Access is via maintained dirt roads which require high clearance vehicles (two spare tires recommended), which may be impassable during wet weather. Black Rock Mountain and the access from St. George, Utah is closed during the winter because of snow.
Excellent opportunities exist for primitive recreation including hiking, backpacking, exploring, photography, birding, wildlife viewing (mule deer, wild turkey, wild pigs), and primitive camping. Opportunities for solitude and natural quiet are outstanding in this area. Hiking trails to the top of Mt. Bangs and down Sullivan Canyon provide miles of rugged, difficult hiking and backpacking possibilities.
Climate and Special Equipment Needs
Elevation ranges from 2,000 feet asl to over 8,000 feet asl with corresponding climate and vegetation changes; from the hot, extreme Mojave Desert to ponderosa-pine covered mountain tops. Temperatures range from over 120 degrees to well below zero. Four wheel drive recommended, high clearance vehicle necessary.
Safety and Current Conditions
Bring plenty of water (minimum of 1 gallon/person/day) and food and be prepared for unexpected overnight stays. No services or facilities are available. Cell phone service is sporadic on higher elevation areas above local towns and Interstate 15. GPS devices used without local maps and information can provide misleading information. High clearance vehicle with two spare tires recommended. Be sure to tell someone where you are going because you will not likely see another human being in this wilderness.
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.