In 2004, the nearly 13,000 acres of land that make up Big Rocks Wilderness was included into the ever-growing National Wilderness Preservation System by order of the United States Congress. The land is owned by the Burea of Land Management and lies in the southernmost portion of the North Pahroc Range. Caliente, NV is the closest urbanized region around these parts and lies 24 miles west of Big Rocks Wilderness.
True to its name, Big Rocks Wilderness is a remote bouldering destination for those interested in rock climbing, exploration, and hiking. The area comprises of vast mountain terrain with deep canyons, ravines, steep-sided cliffs, an enormous number of both small and large boulders, and strange prehistoric rock formations.
Elevations here can range from 5000-7000 feet above sea level. This remote destination is considered a “Mecca” for rock climbing and bouldering enthusiasts. Geologists, too, love visiting this location for its numerous rock and boulder types that have eroded over the millennia to create incredible natural rock formations.
Even though the area looks barren and almost desert-like, there is still plenty of wildlife that calls this region their home. Several ruins and ancient Native American petroglyphs are also dotted around the wilderness area that is in the heart of Range National Monument, in Lincoln County, Nevada.
Camping and recreational activities are allowed in the region. Adhere to the seven standard Leave-No-Trail principles at all times.
Drive your RVs, Motorhomes, and camper vans down to Big Rocks Wilderness that lies about 24 miles west of Caliente, Nevada. From Caliente, take federal highway US 93 westbound for about 30 miles. Take a right on to BLM Road 2201 that runs through the heart of this vast wilderness area.
BLM Road 2201 is a dirt road that connects the western, northern, and eastern boundaries of the Big Rocks Wilderness. The use of 4x4 and ATV vehicles are permitted on the dirt road but not anywhere else to protect the area’s fragile ecosystem.
If you seek a more luxurious camping experience, there are privately owned RV campgrounds in the nearby town of Caliente. RV campgrounds here offer plenty of campsites, are pet-friendly, and offer modern facilities and amenities that make for a more comfortable and relaxing outdoor getaway.
The Big Rocks North camping area is a BLM camping site that offers picnic tables and fire rings for those wanting to spend the day or the weekend enjoying this remote wilderness area. The camping area provides access to the Big Rocks Wilderness Trail. There are no bathroom facilities in this BLM managed camping area. In fact, there are no amenities of any kind. What there is, though, is an opportunity to camp under a star-filled sky far away from the noise and stress of civilization.
Despite the isolation, roads to the campground are well paved, and you should be able to access the campground without any trouble.
Big Rocks Wilderness is a stunning hiking destination as it allows for spectacular views, challenging trails, and many interesting natural and manmade wonders along the way. While on foot, one can explore this vast desert/mountain terrain and find treasures such as ancient Native American petroglyphs carved on large boulders and bizarre rock formations.
The region has no marked trails, but over the years, foot traffic from explorers and old jeep trails allow hikers to visit all the popular spots and look outs in this part of the North Pahroc Range. During your hiking escapades, keep an eye out for wildlife, as you might catch sight of soaring eagles or even large mammals.
Even though the landscape seems barren with the occasional sprinkling of desert brush and grasses, plenty of wildlife can be found hiding in the cracks and crevices or patrolling the steep cliffs and long sloping bajadas of this sparse terrain. Exotic wildlife species such as desert bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, and mule deer have been spotted in the region. Even desert tortoises have occasionally wandered this high up.
Predators like coyotes, bobcats, and mountain lions also dwell in the lesser explored regions of this vast wilderness. Big Rocks Wilderness is also home to many species of flora from Great Basin pinyon-juniper woodlands in the more elevated regions to a variety of sagebrush shrublands and desert grasses.
Considered a Mecca for rock climbers, Big Rock Wilderness offers plenty of climbing opportunities that require an array of skill sets and can test even the most skilled climbers. The landscape here has undergone destructive change over the millennia, evidence of which can be found in the boulder fields that have remnants of multi-colored layers of welded volcanic tuff.
The many types of rock formations, boulders, steep-sided mountains, and high walled canyons make for some epic rock climbing expeditions either in solitude or with friends.
If adventure and solitude are what you seek, few destinations in the world can offer you the same levels of remoteness and thrill as Big Rocks Wilderness. Lose yourself in this vast mountain landscape as you hike along the southern regions of the North Pahroc Range. Make sure you pack a GPS, compass, plenty of water, food supplies, and tent camping equipment if you fancy spending some nights under the vast skies and billions of twinkling stars.
Even though water and vegetation are sparse in the region, plenty of small mammals survive and thrive in this wilderness. Desert cottontail rabbits, black-tailed jackrabbits, the desert valley kangaroo mouse as well as a variety of bat species provide a vital food source for predatory birds. The banded Gila monster, chuckwalla, and golden eagle are a few of the many bird species that can be spotted in the region by keener-eyed bird watchers.
Apart from the bizarre and crazy rock formations that you are likely to encounter at Big Rocks Wilderness, plenty of rock art and petroglyphs can also be found throughout the region. Left by Native Americans centuries before Christopher Columbus arrived at the eastern shores, these petroglyphs are truly amazing to look at and are an essential part of American history and Native American culture.