Honeycomb Buttes WSA Location: Sweetwater County
Nearest Town: Rock Springs (52 miles)
BLM Acreage: 39,908 acres
Recommended for Wilderness: 37,287 acres
Primitive & Unconfined Recreation:
The Honeycomb Buttes WSA provides outstanding opportunities for various kinds of primitive and unconfined recreation. These opportunities include rockhounding, nontechnical climbing on the clay and rocky buttes, spelunking in the many erosion caves found in the buttes, and wildlife and outdoor photography. Opportunities also exist for backpacking, hunting and horseback riding. The remarkable scenic quality of this WSA greatly enhances the recreational values.
The Honeycomb Buttes WSA encompasses 39,908 acres of BLM-administered land, 640 acres of split estate and 640 acres of state land. This WSA is one of the best examples of badlands topography in Wyoming with its many colored bluffs, small draws and side canyons. Twisted and contorted erosional features dominate the landscape. The buttes are scattered with petrified wood and fossilized turtle shell.
The Honeycomb Buttes WSA is essentially natural in character with some minor intrusions. These are primarily found in the form of two-track trails. Much of the area is highly erodible and surface impacts fade relatively quickly. The Honeycomb Buttes proper and the North Fork of Bear Creek drainage, in the core of the recommended area, is a highly colorful and rugged desert badlands area. This area is relatively free of man’s activities due to the severe and sharp-edged topography of this terrain. Bladed roads in the area received some reclamation work and have since healed considerably due to the high erosive rate of this area. The headwaters of Red Creek and Sand Creek are relatively wide drainages bounded by rough eroded escarpments on three sides with wide flat benches between the drainages. The large bluffs have stopped most of man’s activities in the area, although some intrusions have taken place in the drainage bottoms and on the benches. These are relatively minor and fairly deteriorated to a point where they really do not affect the naturalness of this portion of the unit.
The majority of the non-suitable area consists of draws and drainages in the northern hills section that have allowed man fairly easy access through the area. The accessibility has allowed the area to be more developed with oil and gas activity, higher livestock grazing use and many more roaded areas to the flatter terrain.
The portion of this WSA recommended for wilderness offers outstanding opportunities for solitude. The many cliffs, ridges, draws and secluded grottos provide numerous areas where a person could experience solitude. Topography of this type provides for effective screening of individuals from each other. The superb coloration of the buttes enhances one’s appreciation for the undisturbed natural setting of the Honeycombs. This area provides some of the most outstanding opportunities for solitude that can be found in the Red Desert of Wyoming.
The portion of the WSA not recommended for wilderness does not have similar exemplary opportunities for solitude. This portion contains more evidence of man’s activities and has gentler terrain, thereby making it difficult to find large expanses where a visitor could avoid the sights and sounds of others.
The Honeycomb Buttes WSA is host to a number of interesting ecological and geological values. Due to the wild nature of the country, relatively rare or shy animals such as mountain lions, bobcats and elk are known to use this area. The many mud caves found in the buttes harbor little brown bats, small-footed myotis (bats) and great horned owls.
The geologic features of this WSA have spectacular eroded buttes and badlands with unique colors, textures, varieties and forms. It is one of the best fossil and fossil cast bearing formations in the region. Numerous fragments of fossilized turtle shells may be found scattered over the surface of the buttes. In addition, algae, wood and many other fossil casts may be found on the surface.