Just north of the Black Rock Desert, the Pine Forest Range Wilderness offers a diverse landscape of rolling slopes of sagebrush, dense stands of aspen and otherworldly clusters of rock formations. This unique mountain range whose peaks rise over 9,000 feet has long been a destination for hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts. It boasts the only alpine lakes in the region and is habitat for rainbow trout, sage grouse, chukar, and big game wildlife including mule deer, pronghorn antelope and bighorn sheep.
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 Pine Forest Range 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.
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.
The Pine Forest Range provides some of Nevada’s best scenic and recreational opportunities. The area provides excellent opportunities for fishing, hunting, primitive camping, hiking, back-packing, mountain biking, horse packing, rock climbing, wildlife viewing, photography, nature study and rock hounding.
For avid rock-climbers the northern portions offer high, rugged, rocky terrain with several peaks rising to 9,000 feet (2,743m). The highest peak, Duffer Peak, reaches 9,400 feet (2,8665m).
Blue Lakes are remnant lakes left behind by glaciers. Access to the lakes is by a short 1/4 mile hike along a maintained trail. The terrain is steep. The lakes offer exceptional trout fishing opportunities. Check with the Nevada Department of Wildlife for fishing regulations in this area.
A camping area with picnic benches, fire rings, and vaulted toilets, is located at Onion Reservoir just outside the wilderness boundary.
Accessibility to the Pine Forest Recreation area is limited by season and road conditions. Visitors are advised to call the Bureau of Land Management, Winnemucca Field Office at 775-623-1500 for road conditions. A four-wheel drive vehicle is always recommended. Some areas may require high clearance vehicles as well.
Climate and Special Equipment Needs
Precipitation periods occur in two seasons. The first is from November (sometimes as early as October) through April where the majority of precipitation is in the form of snow. Average temperatures during this period are from 30ºF(-1ºC) during the day to nighttime lows of 20ºF (-7ºC). The second precipitation period occurs from May through July. Thunderstorms and flash floods may be a concern. On average, winds are from the south and generally strong, 25-30 mph (40-48 kmph). Summer temperatures can reach 90ºF (32ºC) but on average daytime highs are 80ºF (27ºC) cooling to 50ºF (10ºC) at night.
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.