Description - The Tonopah Ranger District is the largest district outside the state of Alaska. Its total net acreage is approximately 1.2 million acres which is the same size as the combined Wasatch-Cache National Forests and encompasses four mountain ranges. Topography is highly variable. Parts of the District are arid and desert-like in character and climate. At the other extreme are numerous high elevation areas, eleven thousand feet and above are subalpine in every respect, including climatic conditions. The District is a typical pinyon/juniper forest transition to mahogany and aspen with some limited limber pine at higher elevations. While highly variable, one must collectively describe the district's typical topography as rugged-mountainous. Most of its reaches, however can be safely traversed by a reasonably experienced horseman or back packer. The wide plains of the inter range valleys are in strong contrast to the overall ruggedness of the high, rocky ranges above.
Much of the District is remote and "wilderness-like" in character. The fact that three separate designated Wildernesses and three BLM wilderness study areas occur on the District's four mountain ranges indicates the uniqueness, serenity, and scenic values associated with this part of Central Nevada. The Arc Dome Wilderness in the Toiyabe Range centers around Arc Dome which, at 11,775 feet, is one of the highest peaks in central Nevada. The only higher peak in central Nevada is Mount Jefferson at 11,807 feet in the Toquima Range. This peak because of its unique physical and biological features, has been designated as a Research Natural Area. The Table Mountain area of the Monitor Range displays some of the most expansive aspen stands in the state and is home of one of the state's most popular trophy elk herds and "big buck" hunting areas. The newly acquired Hot Creek Range offers the variety of scientifically unique stands of bristlecone pine.
In addition to mule deer and elk, other wildlife common on the District include antelope, desert bighorn sheep, and mountain lion. There are about 80 miles of fishery streams on the district. In these small, high-elevation streams fish do not often grow to any great size. However, a high quality fishing experience can be had as one catches natural regeneration trout (brooks, rainbows, and browns) in the solitude of an undisturbed environment.
Management is complicated by the backcountry nature of the district which requires extensive use of pack and saddle stock. The district currently maintains 14 horses and 5 mules.
- Tonopah offers a diversity of activities. The area offers some of the best hunting, camping, fishing and outdoor recreation you can find in Nevada. Exploring old ghost towns and mining camps, like Belmont and Goldfield, is also very popular. Snow skiing is available in just over an hour at Mammoth Mountain, California, or a few scenic hours to Lake Tahoe. Scotty's Castle or Death Valley makes a wonderful day trip. A brand new Health Club offers indoor swimming, racquetball, weight room and aerobics. A new Softball Complex is nearing completion and plans for an 18 hole golf course are under development. There are new tennis courts and an outdoor swimming pool, six parks and a rodeo ground. The Central Nevada Raceway offers stock car races throughout the summer for race enthusiasts. Tonopah has a full service convention center that can accommodate small groups or up to 600 people.
Recreation - Facilities in the region include, scenic areas, nature studies, fishing, mountain biking, hiking, wilderness, camping, hunting, and winter recreation.
Climate - Climate varies greatly from summer to winter. Daily temperature fluctuations of 50 degrees are not uncommon. Winters are moderate, with heavy snows in the mountains and light snows in the valleys. Precipitation occurs mainly during winter and spring months. Summer temperatures range in the high 90's while winter temperatures seldom go below 0.
Tonopah's location is served by two major routes, Highway 6 and Highway 95. Tonopah to: Las Vegas--205; Reno--240; San Francisco--478; Los Angeles--389; Sacramento--385; Salt Lake City--409; Denver--859; Phoenix--492. Tonopah Airport offers viable air routes.