The Santa Rosa-Paradise Peak Wilderness Area, designated in 1989, is a gorgeous wilderness area located about 30 miles north of Winnemucca, NV between Highway 95 and State Route 290. It contains roughly 32,000 acres in the southern section of the Santa Rosa Range. The west side of the wilderness area can be accessed from Hwy 95 through Buffalo Canyon, Horse/Fall Canyons, McConnell Canyon and Rebel Canyon. The East Side of the wilderness can be accessed from SR 290 through Abel Creek, Singas Creek, Lamance/Hanson Roads and Big Cottonwood Creek. Most of the canyons on the west side have hiking trails up into the wilderness, these trails do not connect with one another though, but do lead to some amazing views. The Summit Trail is the main trail, connecting the south end of the wilderness to the north end. The main trailheads for the Summit Trail are at Buffalo Canyon and Rebel Canyon. However, you can also access it from the east side by Abel Creek, Singas Creek, Lamance/Hanson Roads (this section of the trail is outside the wilderness area), or by Big Cottonwood Creek.
Entering the wilderness from the western slope you become surrounded by intense phyllite cliffs, then once you climb higher up the phyllite is replaced by granite ridges. The eastern slope has less dramatic canyons, but has numerous white granite outcrops. The highest point in the wilderness is Santa Rosa Peak standing at 9,701 feet and another prominent peak is Paradise Peak at 9,443 feet. Beside the amazing geology of the area, there are also many native plants to enjoy. I saw Grand Collomia (Collomia grandiflora), Baneberry (Actaea ruba), Lupin (Lupinus spp), Mountain Pennyroyal (Monardella odoratissima), Western Colombine (Aquilegia formosa), Monkshood (Aconitum columbianum), White Rein-Orchid (Platanthera leucosstachys) and a variety of arnicas (Arnica spp) and Penstemons (Penstemon spp), just to name a few. Go to our Botanical Gallery to check out all the wildflowers we saw during our time in the Santa Rosa-Paradise Peak Wilderness Area. Some animals that you can see include; Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus), Mountain Lions (Puma concolor), Rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus), Gopher Snakes (Pituophis catenifer), Sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), Golden Eagles (Aguila chrysaetos), Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis), Chukar (Alectoris chukar), Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarki), Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis), Brown Trout (Salmo trutta), Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) trout and a whole bunch of beautiful butterflies and moths.
Santa Rosa-Paradise Peak is a relatively lonely wilderness area. There tend to be few visitors, while I was there, most of August, 2011, I only saw three sets of visitors in areas surrounding the wilderness area and I never saw anyone actually in the wilderness area--crazy. This wilderness area is unique in that it has no lakes or alpine meadows. It does, however, have numerous creeks, of which several contain amazing aspen canopies making it feel quite lush for the desert.
I highly recommend visiting this beautiful area, if you would like to see more pictures go to our Photo Gallery and click on the Santa Rosa-Paradise Peak Wilderness Area link.
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