The leaves changing color in Table Rock Wilderness. Photo by Bob Wick.


The Bureau of Land Management is responsible for 224 Wilderness Areas with over 8.7 million acres in 10 western States (3 percent of BLM's total acreage in the coterminous United States). Wilderness areas are special places where the earth and its community of life are essentially allowed to function without manipulation. They retain a primeval character, without permanent improvements and offer outstanding opportunities for solitude or primitive and unconfined recreation.

In 1964, Congress established the National Wilderness Preservation System through the Wilderness Act and since its establishment, has passed 150 additional laws adding wilderness areas the System.  Since 1964, every President has enacted bills passed by Congress to add additional areas to the NWPS.  The uniquely American idea of wilderness protects wild and natural landscapes ranging from alpine to desert, forest to grassland, beaches to swamps, and other environments of the United States. Wilderness protects the habitat of numerous wildlife species and serves as a biodiversity bank for many species of plants and animals. Wilderness is also a source of clean water. It has long been used for science and education, providing sites for field trips, study areas for student research, and serving as a source of instructional examples. The appeal of wilderness for recreation is strong, and wilderness areas are seeing steadily increasing use from people who wish to experience freedom from the nation’s fast-paced industrialized society.

Browse BLM wilderness areas by state or region.



BLM Arizona manages 47 wildernss areas. Wilderness areas are undeveloped federal land retain their primeval character without permanent improvement or human habitation and are managed to preserve their natural conditions. They offer outstanding opportunities for solitude or primitive unconfined types of recreation and may contain ecological, geological or other scientific, scenic or historical values.


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The BLM manages five wilderness areas covering more than 200,000 acres in Colorado: Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness, Dominguez Canyon Wilderness, Gunnison Gorge Wilderness, Powderhorn Wilderness and Uncompahgre Wilderness. BLM Colorado's wilderness landscapes range from desert canyons to alpine tundra. Visitors enjoy hiking, learning about past cultures through rock art, world-class rafting and more on BLM Colorado's wilderness areas. 



In Idaho, BLM manages eight Wilderness designations across over 541,000 acres of public lands. 

Designated in August 2015, the Jim McClure-Jerry Peak Wilderness and White Clouds Wilderness in central Idaho are the BLM's newest wilderness designations. Both of these wilderness areas are jointly managed with the Forest Service.  The BLM's portion is a mountainous brush dominated area featuring plenty of opportunities for hiking, fishing, hunting, and equestrian use, as well as significant opportunities for solitude and enjoyment of beautiful scenery.



Wilderness areas are managed to preserve their wilderness character for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations of Americans.  They are designated to assure that settlement and mechanization does not occupy and modify all areas of the United States.  In Montana, BLM manages one wilderness area, the Lee Metcalf Wilderness.


New Mexico


BLM Oregon and Washington Wilderness

The Bureau of Land Management's National Conservation Lands, also known as the National Landscape Conservation System, contain some of the West's most spectacular landscapes. It includes over 886 federally recognized areas and approximately 27 million acres that include Wilderness areas.