Friends of Nevada Wilderness
The United States Congress designated the Arc Dome Wilderness (map
) in 1989 and it now has a total of 115,000 acres
All of this wilderness is located in Nevada
and is managed by the Forest Service.
The Arc Dome Wilderness comprises the southern third of the Toiyabe Range, a rugged spine of mountains with difficult access, and includes the range's highest summits. Much of the Wilderness lies above 10,000 feet, but Arc Dome itself, at 11,775 feet, dominates the area. On the west side, the ground rises gradually from the Reese River Valley; on the east, rocky canyons break up steep inclines. Vegetation consists of sagebrush and grass lower down, and gives way to pinion-juniper higher up, with occasional stands of pine and aspen. Much of the high country is open, affording visitors outstanding expansive views.
Desert bighorn sheep, once abundant in the state, seldom appear except in the Jett Canyon-Twin Rivers region in the eastern section. Mountain lions, bobcats, deer, beavers, grouse, and raptors are more established, but it's the trout in the Reese River, South Twin Creek, and North Twin Creek that qualify as a bona fide wildlife attraction (among anglers, at least).
Trails from the eastern boundary give access to both Twin Creeks and some beautiful country. The Toiyabe Crest Trail, a 72-mile designated National Recreation Trail, sweeps through more than 30 miles of the area, from a parking lot at Ophir Summit to a parking lot at South Twin, offering access to the summit of Arc Dome. This trail boasts great views but little water, and subsequently feels the tread of few human feet. The Cow Canyon Trail, from the western boundary, follows the Reese River for about a mile, then splits to give access to other trails and anywhere in the area you'd care to visit. Of all the trails, it generates the most human use.