The 1,259,739-acre Pancake Complex is located approximately 30 miles west of Ely, Nevada, or 80 miles northeast of Tonopah, Nevada, within White Pine and Nye Counties. The complex consists of the Sand Springs West and Pancake Herd Management Areas (HMAs), Jakes Wash Herd Area (HA) and Monte Cristo Wild Horse Territory (WHT). The BLM Battle Mountain District, Tonopah Field Office administers the Sand Springs West HMA. The BLM Ely District Office administers the Pancake HMA and Jakes Wash HA. The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Ely Ranger District administers the Monte Cristo WHT.
The area is within the Great Basin geographical region, which is one of the largest deserts in the world. The Great Basin physiographic region, characterized by a high, rolling plateau underlain by basalt flows covered with a thin loess and alluvial mantle. On many of the low hills and ridges that are scattered throughout the area, the soils are underlain by bedrock. Elevations within the Complex range from approximately 5,000 feet to 11,000 feet. Annual precipitation ranges from approximately 5 inches or less on some of the valley bottoms to 20 inches on the mountain peaks. Most of this precipitation comes during the winter and spring months in the form of snow, supplemented by localized thunderstorms during the summer months. Temperatures range from greater than 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer months to minus 20 degrees in the winter. The area is also utilized by domestic livestock and numerous wildlife species.
Plant species dominating the lower elevations include Wyoming big sagebrush, low sagebrush, black sagebrush, winterfat, shadscale, budsage, sickle saltbush, black greasewood, rabbitbrush, Indian ricegrass, Sandburg bluegrass, bluebunch wheatgrass, bottlebrush squirreltail, needlegrass and assorted forb species.
Plant species dominating the higher elevations include Wyoming big sagebrush, mountain sagebrush, black sagebrush, antelope bitterbrush, Utah serviceberry, snowberry, golden and squaw current, pinion pine, Utah juniper, curlleaf mountain mahogany, limber pine, white fir, bluebunch wheatgrass, needlegrass and assorted forb species.