Location: Carbon County
Nearest Town: Rawlins (40 miles)
BLM Acreage: 22,245 acres
Primitive & Unconfined Recreation:
The Ferris Mountains WSA, in combination with its relatively large size, diversity and ruggedness, contains outstanding opportunities for a primitive and unconfined type of recreation. The WSA’s ridges, canyons, valleys and meadows offer outstanding opportunities for hiking, hunting, camping and backpacking. These opportunities are further enhanced because the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail is proposed to run through a portion of the WSA. A climb to Ferris Peak offers an exceptional hiking experience, where visitors must pick their own routes because there are no trails to the top. Hunting within the WSA is considered exceptional and the scenic values are unique to the region.
The Ferris Mountains WSA encompasses 22,245 acres of BLM-administered land and one private inholding of 160 acres. The study area is steep and rugged, providing unusual and spectacular scenery. Ferris Peak is the highest point in the Great Divide Basin at 10,037 feet and rises some 3,000 feet from the valley floor. Large stands of Douglas fir, interspersed with grassy parks create an alpine setting.
Known locally for the zigzag “racing” stripe of white limestone on its southern face, the mountains offer unusual and spectacular scenery. Elk, bighorn sheep and mule deer call the WSA home, and golden eagles and prairie falcons nest on its cliffs. The entire WSA was recommended for wilderness designation in the 1992 report to Congress.
The Ferris Mountains WSA has an essentially natural character. The area is extremely
rugged, with elevations rising over 10,000 feet. The WSA contains numerous high ridges and deep canyons with no evidence of past human activity. Dense timber, interspersed with rock outcrops and open grassy meadows, contribute to the natural appearance of the area.
The only significant human imprints noted during the wilderness inventory were those associated with the Babb’s Mine. These included an old two-track access road and two adits. Since the inventory, these intrusions have been reclaimed so they no longer detract from the WSA’s natural appearance. The adits were closed and recontoured; the road was obliterated. The entire disturbed area was reseeded with native vegetation. Visual distances, rugged topography and dense vegetation all serve to obscure other minor imprints of man within the WSA. The overall influence of human imprints on the naturalness of the area as perceived by the average visitor is negligible.
The Ferris Mountains WSA contains outstanding opportunities for solitude. Extreme local relief and abundant vegetative cover combine to provide outstanding opportunities to experience solitude. Substantial vegetative and topographic screening is provided by the area’s steep mountain slopes, its deep secluded canyons and its abundant forest cover. Scattered open meadows in the central part of the WSA mix with the densely forested stands to provide a diverse and quality experience without compromising the feeling of isolation. The majestic views of the Sweetwater Valley to the north and the large expanse of Separation Flat to the south provide a feeling of spaciousness. The WSA’s diversity encourages freedom of movement within its boundaries.
The Madison Formation is a particularly unique large limestone outcrop. This formation is a series of large limestone fins protruding from the south side of the Ferris Mountains and extends nearly the entire length of the WSA. The Madison Formation can be seen for many miles away and contributes to the WSA’s status as a state and regional landmark.