We found a great stop about 175 miles from Las Vegas if you’re traveling north through Nevada. This spot offers a mix of adventure, tranquility, and natural beauty that’s perfect for the whole family. In this guide, we share what you need to know about visiting the Wayne E. Kirch Wildlife Management Area.

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Getting There

To reach this hidden gem, take Interstate I-15 north to U.S. 93, known as the Great Basin Highway. Continue on State Route 318 north until you arrive. The drive is scenic and offers glimpses of Nevada’s diverse landscapes.

Wayne E. Kirch Wildlife Management Area

Located in the White River Valley of Nevada, the Wayne E. Kirch Wildlife Management Area is a lush oasis in the high desert. This area, which the Nevada Department of Wildlife oversees, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. The habitats here include sagebrush shrublands, wet meadows, and grasslands, supporting a wide range of wildlife such as birds, big game animals, and fish.

Explore different ecosystems within one area, from dry shrublands to lush, marshy meadows (try out the Seek app). Enjoy fishing in the area’s reservoirs, and you will need a fishing license.

Check out Travel Nevada’s guide and the Nevada Trail Finder for more details.

life at Wayne E. Kirch Wildlife Management Area
Wayne E. Kirch Wildlife Management Area

Dave Deacon Campground (Hot Creek Campground)

In the Wayne E. Kirch Wildlife Management Area, Dave Deacon Campground is a free campground offering basic amenities like sewer, water, and pit toilets. It is a comfortable base for exploring the area and is a mile away from Hot Creek Spring.

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It’s conveniently located near the natural hot springs, known for their pristine, Caribbean-esque quality. These springs are designated a National Natural Landmark and provide critical habitat for the endangered Moorman White River Springfish. The campground is perfect for those seeking a unique blend of relaxation and adventure in Nevada’s high desert.

For campground details, visit The Dyrt and Campendium.

Scenic Drive into the White River Valley

As you drive into the White River Valley, the landscape becomes greener, with huge mountains surrounding you. The road is hilly but well-paved, leading you to a vibrant ecosystem with more trees, rivers, and marshy areas. Early Mormon pioneers first settled this region in the 1870s, and it later joined the vast ranching empire of the Adams-McGill Company. The Nevada Fish and Game Commission purchased it in 1959. The transformation of this land from a private ranching operation to a public wildlife management area underscores its importance for conservation and recreation.

natural hot springs in Nevada
Natural hot springs in Nevada

Offroad Trails Wayne E. Kirch Wildlife Management Area

We mapped a few trails for Trails Offroad. These trails provide a mix of scenic beauty, challenging terrain, and camping and wildlife viewing opportunities. Below are two trails that showcase the diverse environments within the area.

Dave Deacon Camp Rd
Dave Deacon Camp Road

Dave Deacon Camp Road is 40 miles through Nevada’s rolling high desert basin. The gravel road does have some washboard and silt patches and is accessible to various vehicles. The eastern section features flat terrain with sagebrush and grasses, while the western half presents a rolling landscape with scenic mountain views and young Juniper trees. While no campsites are directly on the road, nearby spur roads provide ample camping spots. At the eastern end, Hot Creek Campground offers free camping amenities. This road transitions into Cherry Creek Summit Road as it enters the National Forest.

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Cherry Creek Summit Rd
Cherry Creek Summit Rd.

Cherry Creek Summit, located entirely within the Humboldt National Forest, is a narrow mountain road winding through scenic canyons and rock formations. This dirt trail starts with a one-lane bridge and passes through private property before ascending into the mountains. The trail is located within pine and cedar forests with spring-fed creeks. The road becomes a shelf road, challenging for oncoming traffic. Multiple pull-offs provide camping areas, including the Cherry Creek primitive campground and a large summit area for various rigs. However, heavy rain or snow can make the trail impassable.

Views from Cherry Creek Summit Rd
Views from Cherry Creek Summit Rd

Add the Wayne E. Kirch Wildlife Management Area to your bucket list

We love finding off-the-beaten-path spots like Wayne E. Kirch Wildlife Management Area. It’s a unique destination that offers something for everyone, from outdoor adventures to peaceful relaxation. This is not something a tourist would normally find if they were on vacation. The added bonus was the off-road trails.

If you’ve discovered a hidden gem like this on your travels, message us and share your experience!