wilderness study area

Handies Peak Wilderness Study Area in Colorado is breathtaking in the summer. Handies Peak rises 14,048 feet over the area, and this vibrant wilderness also hosts three major canyons, glacial cirques and three alpine lakes. Handies Peak is one of more than 500 wilderness study areas – lands unspoiled by roads or other development that provide outstanding opportunities for solitude. Photo by Bob Wick, @mypubliclands.


Perseid Meteor Over Slinkard Valley by Jeff Sullivan
Via Flickr:
The Perseid meteor shower is coming! This was captured over a BLM Wilderness Study Area on the Mono County/Alpine County border in the Eastern Sierra.


April #conservationlands15 #bucketlist: Gila Lower Box Canyon, New Mexico, for Lush Vegetation, Diverse Birding, and Water-based Recreation

The Wilderness Study Area encompassing the Gila Lower Box Canyon is a true oasis in the desert in southwest New Mexico. A lush thicket of cottonwood, willows, and other riparian vegetation line the banks of the river. Wildflowers abound in wet years and include vibrant  fields of orange poppies that peak in March and April depending on the year. 

The area provides some of the best birding in New Mexico.  Home to approximately 200 species, it has one of the highest bird diversities in the state.  The area provides habitat to many rare and unusual birds including Bell’s vireo, peregrine, bald eagle (in winter), golden eagle, black hawk, zone-tail hawk, Grey hawk, yellow-billed cuckoo, Gila wood pecker, and Abert’s towhee. 

The river provides opportunities for canoeing or rafting during years of high spring runoff, but flows are normally better suited to tubing and to shore-based activities such as fishing for small mouth bass and several species of catfish.

Photos by Mike Howard, BLM New Mexico

Note: The #conservationlands15 Social Media Takeover is a 2015 monthly celebration of the 15th anniversary of the BLM’s National Conservation Lands. 


The Continental Divide Wilderness Study Area in New Mexico offers amazing hiking, backpacking, camping, photography and solitude. The landmark of the area – the Pelona Mountain – rises to 9,212 feet. Rolling grassland gives way to steeper slopes covered in piñon pine woodland and ponderosa pine forest, although the summit of the mountain itself is mostly grassland. Climb the Pelona Mountain for views that stretch out for miles across the surrounding plains, or take a walk along the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail that passes through this stunning wilderness. A worthy addition to your roadtrip list, especially for the #sunset!

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM.


Enjoy Fall colors and some early snow in western Utah!

“The Deeps” are in western Utah near the Nevada border, far from the red rock country people associate with the state. They rise over 7,500 feet from the valley floor at over 12,000 feet at Ibapah Peak – vertical relief similar to the Tetons. The nearest groceries and gas are 2 ½ hours north in Wendover. At over 90,000 acres this is one of the largest Wilderness Study Areas in the state. In addition to an elk population, the Deeps have Bonneville cutthroat trout in several streams and the furthest east population of Great Basin bristlecone pine. 

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM.


We continue our weekend celebration of National Scenic and Historic Trails and National Wild and Scenic Rivers with fall foliage along the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail.  

The BLM manages a section of the Continental Divide Trail in Montana, with a majority located within the Centennial Mountains Wilderness Study Area.  A part of the BLM’s National Conservation Lands, the Centennial Mountains WSA contains some of the most wild and biologically important lands in southwest Montana. Backcountry hiking, equestrian, hunting and fishing are popular along this segment of the trail. During the winter months, you can experience exceptional backcountry skiing opportunities and endless views.

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

Nothing says spring like the colorful wildflowers of Handies Peak Wilderness Study Area in Colorado. More than beautiful springtime displays, this secluded landscape offers alpine lakes, large canyons and 13 peaks over 13,000 feet. Make the most of this season by hiking, backpacking, camping or mountain climbing in this remarkable wilderness. Photo by Bob Wick, @mypubliclands.


Happy Monday - thinking of warmer days and spring flowers with views of the Handies Peak WSA!

The scenic Handies Peak Wilderness Study Area in Colorado is known for its mountains, multi-colored rock formations, diverse vegetation, and vast, open vistas. Handies Peak itself rises 14,048 feet over the area - the highest BLM point outside of Alaska. The WSA also hosts 12 other peaks that rise over 13,000 feet, three major canyons, glacial cirques, and three alpine lakes. 

This landscape makes Handies Peak WSA - a part of the BLM’s National Conservation Lands - a perfect getaway for hiking, backpacking, camping, mountain climbing, and photography. CLICK HERE to learn more and plan a visit.

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM


Ending the day with a few colorful sunrise shots from Slinkard Wilderness Study Area in California - taken by BLMer Bob Wick this morning. The view - from a 9,000 foot peak just south of Monitor Pass - looks towards Topaz Lake, Nevada. A different perspective of Nevada for our #mypubliclandsroadtrip.

Although the winter had record low precipitation levels in the Sierra, moisture in late spring and summer has resulted in a good wildflower bloom. A note from Bob: I not adjust the color saturation on this; it was just one of those “saturated” mornings!


The Hoodoo Mountains Wilderness Study Area - 80 miles east of Missoula, Montana - features dense forests of fir, lodgepole and pine with some open meadows and riparian areas that attract elk and moose. Its highest point Old Baldy Mountain reaches 7,511 feet. BLM manages much of the surrounding Garnet Range, including a second Wilderness Study Area (Wales Creek) and the popular Garnet Ghost Town. Perfect for the history buff and nature lover! #SeeBLM

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM.


Happy Earth Day 2015 from the BLM!

Enjoy a snapshot of your amazing public lands - #noplacelikehome.

Whether you #hike #ride #climb #bike or #volunteer, share your own nature photos today with tag #NatureSelfie.


Celebrate National #TakeAHikeDay by Exploring Your Public Lands!

Visitors enjoy countless types of outdoor adventure – not just hiking – on the approximately 250 million acres of BLM-managed public lands in the United States.

In an increasingly urbanized West, these recreational opportunities in beautiful natural landscapes are vital to the quality of life enjoyed by residents of western states, as well as national and international visitors.

Photos by BLMer Bob Wick.


#mypubliclandsroadtrip travels the Big Sky Backcountry Scenic Byway to the Terry Badlands.

Just outside of Terry, Montana, the Terry Badlands offer a taste of Big Sky country unlike any other. The Terry Badlands Wilderness Study Area encompasses 44,000 acres of untouched eroded sedimentary rocks formed into arches, natural land bridges and spires. When Lewis and Clark passed through the Terry Badlands in 1806, Clark in his journal noted: “the high country is washed into curious mounds and hills and is cut much with reveens…”

Hike, bike or ride horseback through the stunning landscape and to a scenic overlook for brilliant sunsets and solitude. Photos by Alyse Backus, BLM Montana/ Dakotas.


#mypubliclandsroadtrip enjoys the rugged beauty and solitude of Cabezon Peak Wilderness Study Area in New Mexico.

Cabezon Peak’s dramatic volcanic formation is one of the most well-known landmarks in northwest New Mexico.  With an elevation of 7,785 feet, the Peak is part of the Mount Taylor volcanic field, and is the largest of 50 volcanic necks rising from the Rio Puerco Valley.  Desert shrublands dominated by cholla cactus give way to piñon and juniper on the flanks of the peak.  The symmetrical peak forms cliffs on all sides, and the surrounding landscape gently falls away from the base of the cliffs.  The name “Cabezon” is derived from the Spanish noun “cabeza,” meaning “head,” and “Cabezon” translates as “big head.” The peak is believed to have religious significance for the Pueblo and Navajo Indians, and remnants of their visits still exist.

View more #mypubliclandsroadtrip Places That Rock in our @esri storymap: http://mypubliclands.tumblr.com/roadtrip2016


If you’re looking for a place to escape the world, try Raymond Mountain Wilderness Study Area for a #mypubliclandsroadtrip.

The 32,936-acre Raymond Mountain Wilderness Study Area in Wyoming is located in the Sublette Mountain Range, which forms the entire WSA.  The mountains and steep terrain create a barrier of sorts with solitude all around.

The area is dominated by the Twin Creek formation, with elevations ranging from 6,250 to 9,313 feet. It serves as habitat for several big game species including elk, mule deer and moose. Huff, Raymond, Coal and Thomas Fork creeks support a healthy fish population dominated by genetically pure Bonneville cutthroat trout.

The Raymond Mountain WSA’s relatively large size, diversity and rugged terrain offer visitors opportunities for hunting, primitive camping, hiking, backpacking, fishing, sightseeing and a chance to get away from it all!