Desert Experimental Range

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Desert Experimental Range


(801) 356-5100

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The Desert Experimental Range is located mostly in Pine Valley, Millard County, Utah and is geographically and floristically representative of approximately 62,500 square miles (160,000 square kilometers) of salt-desert shrub and shrub-grass ecosystems found in the cold deserts of the Great Basin and Colorado Plateaus of western North America. It was established in 1933 when President Herbert Hoover set aside 87 square mile sections (225 square kilometers) for "an agricultural range experiment station." The Desert Experimental Range quickly became a center for cold-desert rangeland research and a range ecology educational site of international significance. In 1976 it was designated a Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Culture Organization (UNESCO) under the Man and Biosphere (MAB) program. Currently it is one of a handful of Biosphere Reserves representative of cold-deserts worldwide and is unique in this respect in the Western Hemisphere.

Map of Desert Experimental Range

Latitude, Longitude: 38.650394, -113.809605



The climate is that of a cold desert, with cold winters and warm summers. Mean January and July temperatures are -25.7°F (-3.5°C) and 73.9°F (23.3°C), respectively. Daily swings in temperature of 50°F (28°C) are not uncommon during summer months. The average frost-free period is from about mid-May to late September (125 days). Mean annual precipitation at valley sites is about 6.5 in. (165 mm) about half of which falls from May through September. Monsoonal rains (July-August) often come and go so quickly that water does not penetrate the soil enough to provide benefit to deep-rooted plants. In contrast, winter and spring precipitation (snow or rain) typically reaches soil depths of 6 to 28 in (15 to 70 cm) and is available to plants during the growing season. Precipitation on Tunnel Spring Mountain (max elev. 8,415 ft. (2,565m)) can be as much as 50 percent higher than that of valley locations (5,100 to 6,500 ft. (1,550 to 2,000 m)).



Northwest of Miford on UT 21.

Phone Numbers


(801) 356-5100