high rock canyon

Little High Rock Canyon


Covered with grass and tule wetlands, Little High Rock Canyon is the heart of this Wilderness, offering a welcome retreat for wildlife and human visitors. Follow streams down shaded canyons, rest under the occasional willow, and simply take it all in.

Wilderness Reference Map

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About Little High Rock Canyon Wilderness

Nestled between High Rock Canyon Wilderness and High Rock Lake Wilderness, the 48,353 acres of the Little High Rock Canyon Wilderness Area share many of the same characteristics.

The green grass of canyon floors creates a vivid landscape along with a variety of multi-colored rock formations, all of it graced with willow trees and small stands of choke cherry.

Here, the broad volcanic uplands are defined by the wide and level meadow that is Little High Rock Canyon, further dissected by deep drainages formed over millennia.

Comparatively well-watered canyons, tule wetlands, and many cliffs provide attractive habitats or resting places for a wide range of wildlife, including nesting raptors and a small population of mule deer. As in the neighboring wildernesses, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, and wild horses roam the buttes and uplands dotted with sagebrush.

In the early 20th century, Little High Rock Canyon, like much of the area, saw conflicts between settlers and the indigenous peoples of the Great Basin, including the Bannock tribe of the Northern Paiute people. One of these conflicts resulted in the largest manhunt in Nevada history, bringing some notoriety to the area.

Elevations in the Wilderness range from 5,000 to 6,940 feet on top of Mahogany Mountain. Little High Rock Canyon and other major canyons in the area are great choices for your day hike or backpacking adventure. To access the grassy step of Little High Rock Canyon itself, use the side canyon.

As you would expect from an area that attracts much wildlife, hunting for deer, antelope, bighorn, and chukar are all popular pursuits here. If four-wheel driving or mountain biking are your thing, head for the rugged dirt routes that make up the Wilderness Area boundaries.

Little High Rock Canyon Wildlife

  • Golden Eagles
  • Bighorn Sheep
  • Prairie Falcons
  • Long-nosed Leopard Lizard
  • Zebra-tailed Lizard
  • Great Basin Rattlesnake
  • Gopher Snake
  • Mule Deer
  • Mountain Lion
  • Pronghorn Antelope
  • Bobcat
  • Desert Cottontail
  • Chukar
  • Great Horned Owl
  • Greater Sage Grouse
  • Wild Horses

How to Get to Little High Rock Canyon Wilderness

The Little High Rock Canyon Wilderness Area is located in western Humboldt and northern Washoe Counties.

Access to the Wilderness is from Washoe County Road 34 and High Rock Lake Road  (high clearance 4-wheel drive recommended) about 50 miles north of Gerlach, NV and 60 miles southeast of Cedarville, CA.