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Lime Canyon Wilderness Area
Southern Nevada Wilderness Areas
Lime Canyon Wilderness Area
Lime Canyon

Overview

Lime Canyon is a medium sized (23,233 acres) wilderness area that includes a long, disjointed, and sparsely vegetated carbonate ridge (elevations to 4,406 feet), deep canyons that cut through the ridge, and desert bajadas that overlook the Overton Arm of Lake Mead (elevations to 1,475 feet). The geology of the area is complex, but the main feature is the hogback ridge (or system of ridges) that was caused by the tilting and uplifting of early carbonate sedimentary rocks. The uplift blocked existing drainage systems and probably formed lakes, but new drainages were formed that cut through the ridge, making for deep, narrow canyons and some odd geologic structures.

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Lime Canyon

The ridges are rocky and sparsely vegetated with a variety of Mojave Desert Scrub species that include creosote bush, catclaw acacia, Mojave yucca, Nevada jointfir, buckwheat, a few cacti (e.g., beavertail and hedgehog cactus). Barrel cactus dot the more rocky slopes. In the canyons, the dominant shrubs include rabbitbrush, catclaw acacia, desert willow, honey mesquite, and buckhorn cholla. There are lots of cryptobiotic crusts along the edges of washes.

Link to map of the wilderness area.
Link to hikes in the wilderness area.

Lime Canyon Wilderness Area

Location

This wilderness area is located about 45 air-miles east of Las Vegas, out in the Gold Butte region north of Lake Mead and east of the Overton Arm.

Boundaries

Western boundary is coincident with the boundary of Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The eastern boundary generally follows the base of Lime ridge, which is similar to the Red Bluff Spring Backcountry Byway Road. The southern boundary runs north of the Quail Spring Wash Road. The northern boundary runs along the base of Lime Ridge. There are three, long rectangular sections cut out of the wilderness area, one of which is entirely enclosed within the wilderness area.

Lime Canyon Wilderness Area

Access

Access is from the Red Bluff Backcountry Byway Road and from the Quail Spring Wash Road, both of which are dirt. The Byway is at least a high-clearance vehicle road, and I have no information on the Quail Spring Wash Road.

Lime Canyon Wilderness Area

Terrain

The wilderness Area is dominated by Lime Ridge, a ridge (or series of ridges) orientated north-south. The ridge is cut by rugged drainages, and there are gently rolling hills, narrow canyons, and several sandy washes. Faulting and erosion have exposed a variety of sedimentary deposits in the area. The highest elevation is 4,406 feet at the south end of Lime Ridge, and the lowest elevations on are the bajadas on the northwest edge of the wilderness area.

Lime Canyon Wilderness Area

Habitat Type

The vegetation is entirely Mojave Desert Scrub, dominated by creosote bush and white bursage, other low-elevation desert shrubs, Joshua trees, Mojave yuccas, and cacti. In the washes, the vegetation is diverse, with dominant species including catclaw acacia, desert willow, arrowweed, Nevada jointfir, desert almond, paperbag bush, indigo bush, buckhorn cholla, and a variety of composites. Where there are rocky slopes between the wash and the cliffs, vegetation also includes Joshua trees, Mojave yucca, mound cacti, and agave.

Lime Canyon

Wildlife

Mammals include horses or burrows (droppings only), white-tailed antelope squirrels, desert cottontail, black-tailed jackrabbit, and desert woodrats. Reptiles include desert tortoise and a variety of snakes and lizards. Bird include House Finch, Red-tailed Hawk, Common Raven, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Loggerhead Shrike, Northern Harrier, and Gambel's Quail.

Archaeology

No information.

Lime Canyon

Geology

The wilderness area is dominated by Lime Ridge, a ridge (or series of ridges) orientated north-south. Most of the area, including the Lime Ridge complex, is composed of older carbonate rocks (Cambrian through Pennsylvanian). However, there is an area of Precambrian metamorphic rocks in the southwestern part of the area (south of Lime Canyon), and there are more recent rocks, including rocks of Permian and Triassic age. The are is cut by several fault systems, resulting in a jumbled complex of rocks of differing ages.

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
© 2014 Jim Boone; Last updated 120214

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