Forest Service, BLM Lands and Fish & Wildlife

 

The U.S. Forest Service manages forest and grasslands across the country that offer vast, scenic areas that beg to be hiked and photographed.  They manage more than 158,000 miles of trails, (we have not hiked them all, yet) 10,000 developed recreation sites, over 57,000 miles of streams and 338,000 Heritage sites.  They also manage 9 National Monuments, 9,100 miles of Scenic Byways, 439 Wilderness areas and 122 Wild and Scenic Rivers.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages more than 245 million acres in the United States and Alaska.  The BLM lands offer countless types of outdoor activities.  Many sites offer hunting, fishing, whitewater rafting, off-highway vehicle driving, camping and hiking, just to name a few.  America’s BLM lands are recognized as America’s Great Outdoors.

The National Wildlife Refuges, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have extensive trails, auto tour routes, boardwalks, observation decks, hunting and photography blinds, fishing piers and boat launches offer great opportunities to learn about and enjoy the ‘outdoors’.

 

 

Bear River

Migratory Bird Refuge

Utah

Nearly 80,000 acres of wetlands

This Refuge has a 12 mile auto tour route giving an excellent place to observe wildlife without getting out of the car.

Bear River

Big Springs

Idaho

A World Heritage Site, a short drive from West Yellowstone

120 million gallons of water surge out of the ground here every day.  Enough to meet the water needs of one million people.  This is truly the ‘Birthplace of a River’ as it is the headwaters of the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River.

 

Big Springs

Bosque Del Apache

National Wildlife Refuge

New Mexico

A 57,331 acre home to an extraordinary diversity of animals and plants

Mostly known for the wintering grounds for tens of thousands of Sandhill Cranes, Geese and Ducks, it also has thousands of acres of wilderness that is home to Jackrabbits, Lizards, and Quail as well as Creosote bush, Sunflowers and Mesquite.

Bosque Del Apache

Castle Gardens Petroglyph Site Wyoming

An awesome place in the middle of nowhere

Castle Gardens is approximately 45 miles east of Riverton, WY.  The awesome sites of sandstone formations are well worth the trip along with the petroglyphs left by the Native Americans.

Castle Gardens Petroglyphs

D.C. Booth Historic

National Fish Hatchery

South Dakota

One of the oldest operating hatcheries in the U.S.

Established in 1896, the total number of Trout raised at this fish hatchery is uncountable.  This is an amazing place to visit.  The museum collection contains over 185,000 items of fisheries artifacts.

Flaming Gorge

National Recreation Area

An 200,000 acre place to explore

At sunrise, the Flaming Gorge lives up to it’s name.  Flaming Gorge Reservoir is a very large ‘man made’ reservoir at 42,020 acres.  The Reservoir extends to the North 91 miles.  The Flaming Gorge Recreation area is 200,000 acres in size.  Major John Wesley Powell named the Flaming Gorge after seeing the sun reflecting off the red rocks in May of 1869.

Garnet Ghost Town

Montana

A very interesting place to visit, if you can find it

Garnet Ghost Town is located between Missoula and Great Falls, deep in the Mountains!  You can get to it from I-90 at Bearmouth, but that drive takes guts!    Blind curves on one-lane dirt roads, etc.

Garnet Ghost Town

Gates of the Mountains Montana

Take a boat tour through these Mountain

This was the first place on the Missouri River that Lewis and Clark had encountered Mountains.  Lewis named this the ‘Gates of the Mountains’ and it stuck.

Kootenai Falls

Montana

An awesome Falls on the Kootenai River

The main falls are 30 feet high and the River drops 90 feet in less than a mile.  The Swinging Bridges gives excellent views of the Kootenai River.

Mesa Falls

Idaho

Upper and Lower Mesa Falls capture the imagination 

Mesa Falls are a great ‘side trip’ on the way from Yellowstone to Idaho Falls.  Mesa Falls are on the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River, not far downstream from the River’s  beginning at Big Spring.  If possible, visit Big Spring first, as most of the water over these falls comes from Big Spring.

National Bison Range

Montana

Established in 1908 to provide a sanctuary for the American Bison

From a population of 30 to 60 million Bison in North America, Bison reached a low of about 100 animals in the wild by the late 1800’s.  The National Bison Range has played an important role in the successful recovery of these magnificent animals.

National Bison Range

Ross Creek Cedars 

Montana

Magnificent Western Cedars

This is another ‘out of the way’ place that is well worth the trouble of getting there.  Only 100 acres in size, 1,000 year old Cedars thrive here.  A one mile trail takes you through awesome trees.

Sevilleta

National Wildlife Refuge

New Mexico 

A 230,000 acre Oasis for Wildlife

The Refuge includes four different biomes that intersect and support a wide array of biological diversity.  Scientist from across the US and internationally come here to conduct research in these amazing ecosystems.  Visitors can enjoy an awesome Nature Center and Trails.

Sevilleta Refuge

St. Anthony Sand Dunes

Idaho

10,600 acres of white quartz sand

The St. Anthony Sand Dunes, some 400 feet high, were an unexpected scenic area on our travels.  Located north of Idaho Falls, this is another awesome ‘side trip’ going back and forth from Yellowstone to Idaho Falls.

St. Anthony Dunes

Three Rivers Petroglyph Site New Mexico

Awesome Petroglyph site

If you have an interest in Native American petroglyphs, this is a place not to miss.  With Valley of Fires to the West and Sierra Blanca Peak to the East and being in an arid desert, the scenery is awesome.

Three Rivers Petroglyph Site

Valley of Fires Recreation Area New Mexico

A different look a lava

Valley of Fires is an area where there was a rift in the earth and lava poured forth, no volcano anywhere around.  Lava ran down this Valley for 40 miles and in places was as much as 5 miles wide.

Valley of Fires