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Backpacker Magazine – September 2008

The Red Zone: Wyoming's Red Desert

As conservationists and energy developers fight over Wyoming's Red Desert, one thing is certain: There's no time like the present to hike through its unreal geography.

by: Michael Behar, Photos by Mike Sakas

Erik Molvar leads the way through Adobe Town.
Erik Molvar leads the way through Adobe Town.
The author inspects the remains of a bighorn sheep.
The author inspects the remains of a bighorn sheep.
Eons of water erosion created these hoodoos.
Eons of water erosion created these hoodoos.
Wild horses enjoy expansive terrain in Adobe Town.
Wild horses enjoy expansive terrain in Adobe Town.
With no trails, the author's party creates its own route through twisted canyons.
With no trails, the author's party creates its own route through twisted canyons.
Erik Molvar cooks dinner in Adobe Town.
Erik Molvar cooks dinner in Adobe Town.
Red Desert oil would satisfy U.S. needs for six weeks.
Red Desert oil would satisfy U.S. needs for six weeks.

photo iconFor more photos, video, a tracklog of the route, and waypoints for strategic water caches,
go to backpacker.com/reddesert.

Plan It

When to Go
Late spring and early fall. Summers are scorching and winters are arctic. In any season, even moderate rain will make dirt roads impassible.

Gear
With rock-hard playa, a freestanding tent is a must (imagine putting stakes into concrete). Cache water in seven-gallon containers like the Reliance Aqua-Tainer ($17, relianceproducts.com).

 

 


Map by International Mapping Associates.
Maps and Books
Match Wild Wyoming, by Erik Molvar ($20; falcon.com), with the following USGS quads: Upper Powder Spring, Monument Valley, Manuel Gap, Kinney Spring, and Cow Creek Reservoir.

Protect It
Learn more about the Adobe Town citizens' proposed wilderness through the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance (voiceforthewild.org).

The Way
Drive west on I-80 from Rawlins to Bitter Creek Rd. (Exit 142). Drive south on Bitter Creek (CR 19), following signs to the Eversole Ranch, about 27 miles from I-80. Continue through the ranch, take the left fork in the road, and go 1.8 miles to a junction. Go straight on an unmarked BLM road for 20 miles to the starting point of the hike.




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Reader Rating: -

READERS COMMENTS

Rdsjaffuer;af
Oct 06, 2010

agkljaltrhwfjlsdmcalroiwdlasmflfesira ajsiotjsaiofjlaioteiotji

Rd;stajot
Oct 06, 2010

Sally Haverly
Feb 08, 2009

Visit the Bureau of Land Management Office in Rock Springs and they will provide you with directions and maps.

Maxine Leckie
Oct 24, 2008

I have tried in vain to find Adobe Town twice. The roads are totally unmarked and there are a jillion gas and oil roads that are not on the BLM maps.
It's not an easy place to find.

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