From desert lands in southern Idaho to thick forests in the north, BLM manages 40 Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs) on over 530,000 acres of public lands scattered across Idaho. WSAs here range in size from 40 acres (Worm Creek, near Soda Springs) to 66,200 acres (Hell's Half-Acre, near Idaho Falls).  These areas offer opportunities for solitude and primitive recreation activities like hiking, backpacking, horse-back riding, floating, hunting and fishing.  Spending time in one of these spots can provide a wide range of experiences - from peaceful and contemplative, like watching a sunset over the Big Desert, to challenging and exciting like navigating the rapids on the Lower Salmon River through Snow Hole WSA.    

Featured Wilderness Study Area: Eighteenmile Wilderness Study Area

Equestrians enjoy the mountainous landscape surrounding Eighteenmile Wilderness Study Area

In Idaho, BLM manages nearly 25,000 acres of public lands (with nearly 15,000 acres recommended for wilderness designation) in the Eighteenmile Wilderness Study Area (WSA) of north-central Idaho.  The landscape is remote, rugged and mountainous - moving from foothills to grassy meadows to the steep cliffs along the Continental Divide.  The vegetation here varies from sagebrush-grass communities at lower elevations to forests of Douglas fir and lodgepole pine at the higher elevations. While the WSA is closed to all motorized use, this is a popular area for non-motorized big game hunting in the fall. Visitors also enjoy excellent opportunities for solitude and for hiking, sight-seeing, backpacking, rockhounding and wildlife viewing. The area is generally not available December through May because surrounding access roads are closed due to snow. Before visiting this area, please contact the Salmon Field Office for maps and information regarding access.  

BLM Idaho Wilderness Study Areas

A complete list of the BLM IDAHO wilderness study areas is below

  • Crystal Lake
  • Grandmother Mountain
  • Selkirk Crest
  • Marshall Mountain  
  • Snowhole Rapids 
  • King Hill Creek  
  • Box Creek 
  • Lower Salmon Falls Creek 
  • Great Rift    
  • Bear Den Butte 
  • Black Butte  
  • Black Canyon [I] 
  • Deer Creek 
  • Friedman Creek 
  • Gooding City of Rocks East 
  • Gooding City of Rocks West 
  • King Hill Creek 
  • Lava
  • Little City of Rocks 
  • Little Deer  
  • Little Wood River 
  • Raven's Eye  
  • Sand Butte
  • Shale Butte 
  • Shoshone
  • Eighteenmile     
  • Borah Peak 
  • Burnt Creek 
  • Goldburg     
  • Appendicitis Hill 
  • Black Canyon [II] 
  • Cedar Butte 
  • China Cup Butte  
  • Hawley Mountain 
  • Hell's Half Acre 
  • Henrys Lake 
  • Sand Mountain  
  • Snake River Islands  
  • White Knob Mountains
  • Petticoat Peak
  • Worm Creek