Great Basin Divide, Wyoming

Key information: Great Basin Divide, Wyoming

  • This huge basin is formed by a split in the continental divide. A great desert area with stunning scenery: mountains, badlands, buttes, sand-dunes and salt-flats.
  • Home to elk, mountain lions, eagles, wild horses and the elegant, deer-like pronghorn.

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This walk description page is at an early stage of development, and will be expanded over time. Your comments on this walk, your experiences and tips, and your photos are very welcome.



Just south of Wyoming’s Wind River Mountains, the Continental Divide splits in two, forming a huge basin of high (mostly over 7,000ft), cold desert; water here has nowhere to run, but must either evaporate or soak into the earth. One could be forgiven for dismissing this seemingly desolate area as unworthy of further exploration. However, stunning scenery and interesting natural life make at worth getting the boots on, to enjoy mountains, badlands, buttes, sand-dunes and salt-flats.

Home to elk, mountain lions, eagles, sage grouse, wild horses and the elegant, deer-like pronghorn.

As with many of western America’s natural environments, Wyoming’s Red Desert (of which The Great Divide Basin is part) is overshadowed by the ever-present threat of development – oil and minerals are here in abundance.


Much of the mountain walking is around the basin’s edges. Stretch those legs at:

The Oregon Buttes

Continental Peak

Steamboat Mountain,

Essex Mountain,

Boar’s Tusk (an ancient volcanic plug)

Within the Basin are:

The Pinnacles – conical growths, sort-of buttes, with big local views.

Red Lake Dunes in the Alkali Basin for some red-sand salt-flat experience.

Killpecker Dunes, which migrate eastward.

The area has spiritual significance for Native Americans; petroglyphs can be found in the desert although their location is not recorded.

This can be tough walk in high, remote mountains, on which you will have to be self-sufficient where altitude can cause real problems. Come prepared.

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Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.


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