Paiute Wilderness Area

The very remote 87,000 acre Paiute Wilderness Area is located in extreme northeast Arizona, west of Grand Canyon National Park. Reaching as high as 8000 ft. in elevation, this park is managed by the BLM and is in the overlap zone between the Mojave Desert and the Great Basin.

The primary mountain range here is the Virgin Mountains, which has received extremely low visitation, keeping it very wild. 

The southern part of the Paiute Wilderness is contained within Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument. The main plants to be found here include Banana Yucca (Yucca baccata), Range Ratany (Kramaria ratany), Creosote Bush (Larrea tridentata), Joshua Trees (Yucca brevifolia) Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia spp.), and Mormon tea (Ephedra viridis). In the higher sections of the Wilderness, you can find Pinyon Pines (pinus spp.) and Ponderosa Pines (Pinus ponderosa).

More than 250 animal species can be found in the wilderness including Desert Bighorn Sheep, Mule Deer, Desert Tortoise, Mountain Lion, and Gila Monster.


Creosote Bush

Many animals make their burrows underneath creosote bushes, including Merriam's Kangaroo Rat and the federally threatened Desert Tortoise. The leaves and tiny seeds of this species are an important food source for rabbits, woodrats, mice, lizards and birds. The USFS has estimated that Creosote Bush covers 35 - 46 million acres in the southwest. A massive clonal colony of this plant was discovered in Lucerne Valley, CA.  Through radiocarbon dating it was placed at 11,700 years old, thus one of the oldest living things on earth and dubbed King Clone.

Creosote Bush shrub in the desert
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