South Egan Range Wilderness
Guide

Introduction

The South Egan Range Wilderness is approximately seventy thousand acres of BLM land that stretches into three different counties of the state of Nevada. The wilderness contains the southern ridges of the dark and craggy Egan Mountain Range as well as an extensive section of the White River Valley which runs along its western border. It's a BLM property with wide-open grassy expanses backed by stark mountainscapes. The wilderness is surrounded by state highways and national parks on all sides. Shingle Peak, the highest peak in Nevada and part of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest lies to the south with larger parts of the forest to the west and the Great Basin National Park to the east.

The South Egan Range Wilderness with its large areas of riverside flatlands is a superb location for cross-country hiking, where there's no rocky scrambles or steep slopes to contend with. The river and it's many tributaries running through the wilderness are excellent spots for fly or shore fishing. The apparent abundance of water attracts a multitude of animals and birdlife to the wilderness and there's lots to spot along the tree-lined riverbanks as well as on the lower slopes of the mountains. The same water source also attracted Native Americans and settlers to the region which you can find out about at the White River Valley Museum in Lund.

There's no vehicle access to the wilderness itself or campgrounds within its boundaries. The closest campgrounds to the South Egan Range Wilderness suitable for pitching up in an RV can be found at the Cave Lake State Park south-east of Ely or at any of the several private and KOA campgrounds around the town.

RV Rentals in South Egan Range Wilderness

Transportation

Driving

The closest urbanizations to the South Egan Range Wilderness are the small ex-mining communities of Lund and Ely. Ely is a town located along the US 6 approximately two hours drive south from the city of Wells in the north of Nevada and Lund is just off the US 6 along the NV 318. There are several un-named roads further south along the NV 318 from Lund where you can reach the wilderness's western boundary in a four by four.

The NV 50 runs across the northern and north-eastern borders of the wilderness from where you can join the NV 93 southbound. The US 93 or Great Basin Highway, as it's also known, is the ideal route to take if you want to take a scenic drive around the east and southern regions of the wilderness. It'll also take you by another BLM property, the Big Rocks Wilderness, and through the historic ghost town of Crystal Springs.

If you're motoring up to the South Egan Range Wilderness after RV camping in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, BLM lands near to Las Vegas, you'll have a straight run along the US 93 northbound that will take you around three hours. If you're driving to the wilderness from out of state after being in the Fishlake National Forest in Utah, expect to be behind the wheel of your rig for around three and a half hours once you're through Fillmore unless you take the scenic route via the Dixie National Forest, which will add another half an hour to your journey.

Parking

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in South Egan Range Wilderness

Campsites in South Egan Range Wilderness

First-come first-served

Cave Lake State Park

The Cave Lake State Park is around one hour's drive from the South Egan Range Wilderness. At the park, there are two campgrounds where you can pitch camp in your RV. The Elk Flats Campground and the Lake View Campground. Neither are suitable for RVs longer than twenty-five feet due to short campsites and a difficult access road with tight turns. None of the pitches have utility hook-ups but are furnished with fire pits, grills, and picnic tables.

There are showers and flush toilets on-site at both campgrounds. While the Lake View Campground is open all year, the Elk Flat Campground is only open from May through to mid-October. Both operate on a first-come-first-served basis. If there is a particularly harsh spell of weather or a lot of snowfall, the road to the Lake View Campground can be closed for safety reasons, so check with the ranger on duty at the park before heading there in winter.

Seasonal activities in South Egan Range Wilderness

In-Season

Hiking

There are lots of flat open spaces in the South Egan Range Wilderness which are perfect for a moderately easy hike. You'll have the river on one side, mountains on the other and although there are no defined trails, you can see for miles across the grass-covered washes, so finding your way back won't be too much of a task.

Hike the White River Narrows to the south of the wilderness and you'll be trekking through a four thousand acre petroglyph site full of Native American rock art. There are also four marked trails leading out of the campground at the Cave Lake State Park around the foothills and along the lakeside.

Fishing

The section of the White River and the tributaries running through the wilderness that flow into it offer good angling sport, though you'll need to be prepared to carry your tackle some distance before you reach a good spot.

If that sounds like too much hard work or you prefer to fish from a boat, you'll find there's a decent population of brown and rainbow trout in Cave Lake. Anyone wanting to fish the river or the lake must be in possession of the correct license which can be obtained online from the Nevada Department of Wildlife website.

Golf

After exploring the South Egan Range Wilderness, get in a round of golf at the White Pine County Golf Course in Ely. The course has eighteen holes with fantastic views of the mountains on all sides. The course offers golf club hire if you didn't pack your own as well as cart rental and there are discounted options for giving the game a try if you've never played before or want to tee-off in the twilight. The course has a clubhouse and barbecue area for entertainment where you can chat about the birdie that nearly was.

Off-Season

White River Valley Museum

Head into Lund and pay a visit to the White River Valley Museum. There you can browse some diverse exhibits on the history and culture of the region.

The museum is stacked full of antique household goods dating back to the days of the Native Americans and the Mormon settlers, original farming equipment plus large collections of photographs from the era. There's also an authentic log cabin on outdoor display. Visits to the White River Valley Museum must be pre-arranged as they are by appointment only.

Winter Sports

If you're heading to the South Egan Range Wilderness in winter to take a look at the mountains capped with snow, you can also enjoy a variety of winter sports in the Cave Lake State Park. In the park, there are trails and open forest lands for snowmobiling, sledding, snowshoeing and cross country skiing. If the lake freezes over then there's ice skating and the chance to go ice fishing too.

Nevada Northern Railway Museum

See the South Egan Range Wilderness and surrounding area in a novel way by taking a steam train ride from the East Ely depot. The ninety-minute train rides, organized by the Nevada Northern Railway Museum, can even be held up by outlaws on occasion, so be ready for a fun time. While there you can take a walking tour of the well-preserved railway yard and station facilities.