The Adobe Badlands WSA topography is characterized by abruptly sloping hills dissected by rugged, serpentine canyons. Most of this WSA is composed of the badlands-type, Mancos shale formations known locally as "the adobes." Within the Mancos shale formations are ancient marine deposits and therefore, numerous fossils.
The northern portion is characterized by the relatively steep foothills of Grand Mesa and expansive views of the Uncompahgre Plateau and the San Juan Mountains are available here. In portions of the area, wind and water erosion have created isolated small mesas surrounded by a maze of deeply-carved canyons, washes, and ravines. The Devil's Thumb, an obtrusive rock formation, is a predominant feature of this WSA.
Total Area: 10,337 acres
Elevation Range: ~5,200 to ~8,000 feet
BLM Field Office: Uncompahgre
Designated: 1980 (Wilderness Study Area)
Location: The Adobe Badlands WSA is located in western Delta County, approximately three miles northwest of Delta; 1.5 miles north of US Highway 50. The northern boundary is contiguous with the Grand Mesa National Forest.
Flora & Fauna: Vegetation consists mainly of low saltbush, desert trumpet, buckwheat, grasses, the Uinta Basin hookless cactus, and pinyon-juniper. Fauna includes deer, elk, pronghorn antelope, prairie dogs, badgers, coyotes, bobcats, and numerous raptors such as red-tailed hawks and golden eagles.
Recreation: Activities include hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, hunting, and photography. For more information, visit the Recreation page. Please note that though unconfined recreation is encouraged in WSAs, specific types of recreation may be barred from a specific area to prevent degradation of natural conditions.
Click here for additional information and maps for the Adobe Badlands WSA from the Uncompahgre Field Office.
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Uncompahgre Field Office | (970) 240-5300 | 2465 S. Townsend Ave., Montrose, CO 81401