The Sewemup WSA is unique for its outstanding naturalness. Historically an obscure and little-traveled region, the Sewemup Mesa derives its name from the cattle rustling days of the McCarty Gang. It is said that rustlers burnt off and "sewed up" the cattle's rightful brands in exchange for their own - hence the name, "Sew 'em up." It is obvious now why a band of rustlers would have chosen Sewemup and the vicinity for a hideout, as this WSA is a place with very little human traces.
Impressive sandstone cliffs, which almost entirely surround the mesa top, make access difficult; therefore, this WSA is one of the most ecologically pristine areas in Colorado. The mesa is surrounded by sheer, 500 to 700-foot cliffs on three sides. The southern edge of the mesa has a broken, rocky slope, rather than a solid cliff face. From the mesa top, scenic vistas of Sinbad Valley and the La Sal Mountains are available. The outside edges of the valley contain small, hogback-like formations that dip away from the center of the valley, thus revealing the general shape of the salt dome before its collapse.
Wingate Sandstone's 1,000-foot-high cliffs encircle more than 3/4 of Sewemup Mesa. Domes of pink-banded Entrada Sandstone also dot the top of the mesa.
Total Area: 19,656 acres
Elevation Range: ~5,741 to ~6,562 feet
BLM Field Office: Grand Junction and Uncompahgre
Designated: 1980 (Wilderness Study Area)
Location: The Sewemup WSA is located in Mesa and Montrose counties, approximately 11 miles south of Gateway.
Flora & Fauna: Vegetation consists mainly of ponderosa pine, pinyon-juniper, monkey flower, spike pappusgrass, purple lovegrass, wolftail, scrub oak, serviceberry, native grasses, sagebrush, and various wildflowers. Fauna includes elk, mule deer, desert bighorn sheep, mountain lion, peregrine falcon, golden eagle, and various other raptors.
Recreation: Activities include hiking, backpacking, camping, rock climbing, 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 about the Sewemup WSA from the Grand Junction Field Office.
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Grand Junction Field Office | (970) 244-3000 | 2815 H Rd., Grand Junction, CO 81506
Uncompahgre Field Office | (970) 240-5300 | 2465 S. Townsend Ave., Montrose, CO 81401