North McCullough Wilderness

Rock art in the North McCullough Wilderness
Prehistoric rock art in the North McCullough Wilderness

The 14,763 acres of North McCullough Wilderness are contained within the recently designated Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area. This is in the northern portion of the McCullough Range, about 15 miles south of Las Vegas. The McCullough Range is different from most mountain ranges in the region in that it is volcanic in origin with ash falls, lava flows and glassy areas clearly visible.

Elevations range from 2,000' at the eastern base of the mountains to 5,092' at the summit of Black Mountain. Most of the peaks tend to be rounded off or flat-topped with a gradual rise from the west and a steep escarpment to the east. Vegetation in North McCullough Wilderness is a mix of Mohave, Sonoran and Great Basin ecosystems. There's barrel cactus, cholla, prickly pear and Joshua tree but the primary greenery is typical creosote bush community. The area also supports black gramma grass (extremely rare in Nevada) and contains the northernmost colony of teddy bear cholla.

Apparently the ancient Native Americans liked the area because there are numerous lithic scatters, prehistoric campsites and petroglyphs in the North McCullough Wilderness. However, there are only three miles of designated hiking trails in the North McCullough Wilderness.

North McCullough Range Wilderness map
North McCullough Wilderness map logo
Upper photo courtesy of Chris Barns, via
Map courtesy of National Geographic Topo!
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