NSS 75th Anniversary Convention

Big Rocks Wilderness

Nevada's Big Rocks Wilderness area encompasses the southern-most portion of the North Pahroc Range. Topography of the area includes steep-sided mountains, high walled canyons, and areas covered with large jumbles of boulders, one of which is known as Mecca by the rock climbing community. These boulder fields are composed mainly of volcanic deposits of welded tufts that have weathered into unusual rock formations. These rock formations were often used as message boards by our ancestors and still exist in high frequency throughout the area today.

Vegetation ranges from desert brush and grasses at lower elevations to pinyon pine and juniper stands at middle and upper elevations. Spring flowers can include prickly pear cactus and cholla. Remember that cutting or removing vegetation is not permitted. Gathering wood for camp fires, when permitted, is limited to dead and down material. Many animals can be seen in this area, however most notable are the raptors.

Recreational Opportunities

Audio Tour

Audio compliments of Nevada Commission on Tourism

Recreational opportunities include climbing, bouldering, camping, hiking, backpacking, hunting, and horseback riding. Little Boulder Spring hiking trail is two miles long and begins on the east side of the wilderness area. This trail winds its way up to a peak with views of the South Pahroc Range. You will encounter ponderosa pine, and interesting jumbles of boulders along the trail. There are excellent opportunities for solitude in Big Rocks Wilderness area, particularly among the boulder fields, or within one of the canyons leading off of the mountain range.


The Big Rocks Wilderness is in central Lincoln County, NV, north of Federal Highway 93. Access to this wilderness area from Caliente, NV, is via Federal Highway 93 westbound for approximately 30 miles. Turn right onto BLM Road 2201 northbound. The road is distinguished by a turnout. This dirt road runs along the western, northern, and eastern boundary of the Big Rocks Wilderness. It is a maintained road only up to the southern boundary.

Additional Information

  • Signs indicating "Wilderness" and "Closed Road" or "Closed Route" are placed at various intervals. Obey all posted signs.

  • Vehicles can be parked outside the wilderness boundary.

  • Pets are allowed, but please keep your pets under control at all times.

  • Removal, disturbance, or attempting to remove archaeological materials is a felony.

  • Contact Ely or Caliente BLM Offices for current road conditions and hazards.

  • Topographic Maps

    USGS 7.5 Quad Map: Wheatgrass Spring
    USGS 7.5 Quad Map: Pahroc Spring
    USGS 1:100,000 Map: Caliente


    Elevation: 6,844 ft (highest point)
    State: Nevada
    District: Lincoln County
    Coordinates (WGS84): 37.6997237, -114.9533404
    Nearest town: Alamo, NV

    Links & Resources

  • BLM, Ely Field Office

  • BLM Fact Sheet

  • Friends of Nevada Wilderness

  • Nearby Geocaching Sites

  • Wilderness Management Plan

  • Wikimedia GeoHack

  • GNIS Detail: North Pahroc Range

  • Alamo, Nevada