The ridges and canyons of the Arc Dome Wilderness border this clear-running creek, home to Lahontan cutthroat trout. Columbine Campground offers an excellent base for viewing wildlife. Trout visible year-round. Excellent viewing of squirrels, birds of prey, songbirds, and woodpeckers spring and...
|Description: This drive traverses many habitats, including sagebrush flats and an emerald lake bounded by sheer cliffs. From Ely, travel south on US Highway 93, passing through several sagebrush benches, watching for mule deer, black-tailed jackrabbits, least chipmunks, sage grouse, and coyotes. Turn east on CR 486 to parallel the riparian border of Steptoe Creek –the leafy canopy often shelter yellow warblers, dark-eyed juncos, and other songbirds. Golden eagles and prairie falcons roost and nest in limestone cliffs and rock outcropping between here and Water Canyon. Ferruginous hawks and northern harriers are also common.
Spend time exploring Cave Lake State Park, where a five-mile interpretive trail offers chances to see migratory birds and mammals. Resume the drive, climbing toward 8,950-foot Success Summit. Man small herds of Rocky Mountain elk feed on the open sagebrush hillsides, close to cover, during the summer. Blue grouse inhabit the conifers, as do secretive hermit thrushes and brown creepers. Look among the aspens at Water Canyon and other riparian areas for woodpeckers, yellow-rumped and Wilson’s warblers and warbling and solitary vireos. These areas also shelter fawns during summer. The road gradually descends through Duck Creek Basin, then rejoins US Highway 93.
Wildlife to Watch: Excellent viewing of elk, mule deer, and sage grouse spring through fall. Watch for elk early morning, late evening. Small mammals and coyotes may be spotted year round. Good views of birds of prey, songbirds, water-associated birds, and wildflowers spring through fall. Mountain lions and bobcats common but nocturnal. Facilities at Cave Lake; also fees and boating restrictions.
Special Tips: ROAD BEYOND PARK REQUIRES HIGH-CLEARANCE VEHICLE AND IS IMPASSABLE WHEN WET. CLOSED IN WINTER.
Ownership: U.S.D.A. Forest Service, BLM, NDSP
Closest Town: Ely
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: