The Adobe Badlands WSA is characterized by abruptly sloping hills dissected by rugged, serpentine canyons. Most of this WSA is composed of Mancos shale formations that create a sparsely vegetated badlands landscape known locally as "the adobes." 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, a conspicuous rock formation, is a predominant feature of this WSA. Vegetation includes 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, red-tailed hawks and golden eagles. Within the Mancos shale formations are ancient marine deposits containing numerous fossils. The northern portion of the WSA includes expansive views of the Uncompahgre Plateau and the San Juan Mountains. Activities include hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, hunting, and photography.

Visitation Information

The Adobe Badlands WSA is located in western Delta County, approximately three miles northwest of Delta and 1.5 miles north of US Highway 50.

Visitor Advisory

Total Area: 10,337 acres

Elevation Range: ~5,200 to ~8,000 feet

BLM Field Office: Uncompahgre

Designated: 1980 (Wilderness Study Area)