Basin and Range National Monument
The Basin and Range area of southeastern Nevada is an iconic American landscape. The area is one of the most undisturbed corners of the broader Great Basin region, which extends from the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the west to the Colorado Plateau in the east. The vast, rugged landscape redefines our notions of distance and space and brings into sharp focus the will and resolve of the people who have lived here.
The Basin and Range National Monument comprises 704,000 acres of public lands managed by the BLM in Lincoln and Nye counties in Nevada, about two hours north of Las Vegas. The monument includes Garden Valley and Coal Valley; the Worthington Mountains, Golden Gate Range, Seaman Mountains, and Mount Irish Range; the Hiko Narrows and White River Narrows; and the Shooting Gallery rock art site. It is the first national monument managed by the BLM in Nevada.
The Monument preserves the legacies of 13,000 years of culture. The White River Narrows Archaeological District represents one of the largest concentrations of prehistoric rock art in eastern Nevada and includes panels dating back 4,000 years and contains the northernmost known examples of the Pahranagat style of rock art. The Basin and Range area was mostly unknown to European-Americans until the 1820s. Mormon settlers came to the area in the mid-19th century. Mining began in the area in the 1860s and head frames, mining cabins, and other structures associated with the region's mining history can be found in the Mount Irish area. During the late 19th century, Basque and other ranchers brought sheep and cattle ranching into Garden Valley, and ranching remains to this day.
The closest towns to Basin and Range National Monument are Ely on the north, Caliente on the east, and Alamo on the south. All three towns are located on US Highway 93. Just north of Alamo, where Highway 93 doglegs east before heading north again, State Route 318 branches off and cuts straight north toward Ely. State Route 318 runs along the eastern edge of the Monument and provides access to several of its most fascinating petroglyph sites, including White River Narrows and Mount Irish Archeological Districts and the Shooting Gallery rock art area. By driving up the west side of the Monument along State Route 375 toward Rachel, visitors can reach the forests and limestone cliffs and arches of the Worthington Mountains Wilderness. Opportunities for solitude abound in the wide open expanse for climbers, hikers, bicyclists, campers, hunters, and OHV riders.
Photos by Bob Wick, BLM