Managed by the Bureau of Land Management and spread over an area of 36,384 acres of land, Far South Egans Wilderness in Nevada offers a hub of recreational activities and is an exceptional place to experience solitude and get closer with nature.
The landscape of Far South Egans Wilderness is rough and patchy to the point of being challenging. The steep rock cliffs stand high above deep-cut canyons and offer challenging paths for more seasoned hikers to explore.
Geologists and photographers love the multicolored strata on the west side of the mountain range, that darts through a line of rugged limestone cliffs. Under Shingle Pass, the cliffs of Far South Egans Wilderness rise as high as 4500 feet above the valley floor.
Egan Range is wild and rugged in general, and Far South Egans Wilderness happens to be in the most rugged part of the range. In addition to the slow ascent of the Egan Range from 5800 feet to 9823 feet with all its colorful limestone strata, the wilderness also lures visitors with its rare and scenic sights of intermingled Ponderosa and Bristlecone pine forest.
Another exciting feature of the Far South Egans Wilderness is the numerous hidden caves and shelters in these mountains. These secret hideouts are awesome to stop at during hikes or even camp under the stars.
The best route to access Far South Egans Wilderness in Nevada is from State Highway 318. The nearest town from the wilderness is about 50 miles south in Ely, NV.
Nevada Highway 318 itself might not be a backroad, but it leads directly to many backroads that explorers love. Driving through the highway is an adventure in itself as it cuts through scenic middle-Nevada Great Basin country and through broad open valleys. If you’re approaching from Salt Lake City, you might even get a glimpse of the magnificent, Great Basin National Park. In some parts, the highway would even take you to tight twisting narrow turns with mountain ranges looming on either side.
While their presence is unlikely and rare, it is advised to keep an eye out for Pronghorn. Other than that, the road to Far South Egans Wilderness is pretty safe, just make sure your car is in top-notch condition and that you drive carefully as errant rocks and holes can occasionally appear.
Far South Egans Wilderness allows enthusiastic explorers to camp on its grounds. The campground is primitive and there aren’t any amenities available other than fire pits, which means that campers must bring their survival instincts along. Camping is allowed for up to 14 days, after which it is advised to choose a new spot at least 25 feet away from the previous one.
The area is very secluded so you’re unlikely to be disturbed by other campers. The wilderness is dog-friendly and so are the campsites. There aren’t any reservations required to claim a spot. Make sure to use a previously camped-on area and leave no trace behind. Make sure to bring your jackets along if you plan on camping here, as it gets windy at night.
Visitors of Far South Egans Wilderness who are not accustomed to primitive camping need not worry as just an hour away is the public campground of East Creek. The campground has seven first-come, first-served campsites amongst alder, pinyon, and juniper forest.
There are bathrooms available at the campground and most campsites are accommodated with picnic tables and fire rings. Garbage cans too are located near most sites for the convenience of the campers. Potable water is not available and campers are advised to bring their own water. Maximum RV length is 20 feet.
Hunters are permitted to hunt small game and big game animals found in the wilderness area. Inquire about the hunting areas and season before setting out. Furbearers and small game in the wilderness include gray fox, black-tailed jackrabbit, mountain lions, bobcats, and coyotes.
Big game animals in the wilderness include the mule deer, as well as species of elk, desert bighorn sheep, and pronghorn antelope that you usually only find in and around Rocky Mountain National Park. Make sure to abide by all hunting rules and regulations.
While the west side of the Egan Range has rugged, rocky and wild terrain, the east side has green woodlands that provide shelter and food to a number of species of wildlife. Some of the species found at the Far South Egans Wilderness are bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer, mountain lions, and cougars. There are also many raptors that reside here, such as ferruginous hawks, prairie falcon, short-eared owls, red-tailed hawk, and golden hawks.
There aren’t any maintained trails in the wilderness, even though there’s plenty to hike towards. One known trail is the Whipple Cave Trail. This 300-feet trail provides access to the entrance of the Whipple Cave. There are signs all along the way, pointing towards the cave entrance upon the mountains. Just be prepared for an unmaintained trail that will vary according to weather conditions.
Sawmill Canyon itself isn’t the historical site, but the assimilated area around it, a former logging operation in Sawmill Canyon, certainly is. This site is a prime example of how wilderness is always ready to claim its lands back after the activities of humans. Miraculously, this part of the wilderness has even more ponderosa pine than it had before logging began. These fine thick forests hold historical and natural value and are a must-see for those that visit.
Whipple Cave is one of the most popular features of Far South Egans Wilderness and perhaps the one part of the wilderness that receives something that could remotely be called a crowd. The limestone-solution, Whipple Cave provides an excellent recreational opportunity for spelunking (caving).
Entering the Whipple Cave requires a 70-foot descent into the cave which then allows you to explore 1000 feet of known passages decorated with draperies, rimstone dams, and huge columns.
Far South Egans Wilderness has a unique topography with its rugged mountain range, steep hills, layers of multicolored strata, and stands of ponderosa and bristlecone pines. The latter is a rarity because they usually occur at low elevation and are also an ancient population from relict climatic conditions. Such diverse terrain makes for some truly spectacular nature trails that are both rich in flora and fauna.