At 290,845 acres, the Desolation Canyon Wilderness Study Area is the largest WSA managed by BLM in the contiguous 48 states. The 84 mile segment of the Green River through Desolation and Gray canyons is the most prominent feature.The WSA has an extensive system of deep canyons. The canyon at Rock Creek is more than 1 mile deep. The WSA contains arches, pinnacles, and other erosional remnants not known to occur elsewhere in the Wasatch Formation in similar concentrations or settings.Vegetation is diverse, ranging from desert to high mountain types in a distance of only 5-10 miles.
Desolation Canyon WSA is located within the Price and Moab Field Offices. The WSA includes lands along the Desolation and Gray Canyons of the Green River and tributary drainages from the Tavaputs Plateau to the river. The 84 river miles of the Green River is the WSA's major feature.
Commercial outfitters offer river trips from spring through fall. Reservations for noncommercial private river trips may be obtained through an advance lottery-type permit system (Contact BLM at the Price Field Office 435-636-3600 for further information).
Elevations within the WSA vary by 5,600 feet. Vegetation types include: pinyon-juniper woodland, Douglas fir, riparian, saltbrush, grassland, mountain mahogany, sagebrush, and blackbrush. Elk were transplanted into the area in 1988; Rocky mountain bighorn sheep also frequent the WSA.
In addition to outstanding whitewater river recreation, the WSA has exceptional opportunities for hunting, geological study, backpacking and the study of historic and prehistoric cultures.