Owl Creek Wilderness Study Area
Guide

Introduction

Owl Creek Wilderness Study Area (WSA) is a 1.1 square mile Bureau of Land Management property in Hot Springs County, Wyoming. This WSA comprises three units, all of which are located on the ridge dividing Rock Creek and the South Fork of Owl Creek. This BLM park features rugged terrain, resplendent plant communities, and diverse wildlife and birds, all of which provide good opportunities for outdoor recreation. Guests are advised to come to the park in high clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles for easy negotiation of the wild lands.

There is a number of ways to spend time in Owl Creek SWA. If you seek solitude, you will find great spots for some peace and quiet in the wilderness. Activities to engage in here include hiking, horseback riding, fishing, and hunting. Some nearby places to go for additional fun things to do are Washakie Wilderness and Boysen Reservoir.

Primitive and dry camping in this wilderness is exciting, but you won’t find any services or facilities for developed camping. Various camping options are available west of the WSA at Shoshone National Forest.

RV Rentals in Owl Creek Wilderness Study Area

Transportation

Driving

Owl Creek Wilderness Study Areas lies about 60 miles west of Thermopolis, Wyoming, within Hot Springs County. Access to the park from Thermopolis is via Wyoming Highway 120 and a host of local routes. For guests driving to the park and looking to access the wild lands in this area, four-wheel drive or high clearance vehicles are required. As you approach the park areas, be prepared for changing weather and occasionally challenging road conditions.

Some areas around this wilderness are primarily accessed by roads which may be difficult to find without a good map - and the ability to use it. This Bureau of Land Management property is accessible from the north on foot by following the Shoshone National Forest trail system.

The use of motorized vehicles and mechanical equipment is prohibited within the boundaries of this BLM WSA, so look out for parking areas provided where you can park your vehicle. Your adventures within the wilderness will be on foot or on the back of your horse. Wheelchairs are allowed.

If you wish to get developed camping equipment such as RVs, fifth wheels, and trailers, you will find rental services at Hot Springs County and Thermopolis.

Parking

Public Transportation

There are no direct public transportation services to Owl Creek Wilderness Study Area.

Campgrounds and parking in Owl Creek Wilderness Study Area

Campsites in Owl Creek Wilderness Study Area

First-come first-served

Pinnacles Campground

Pinnacles Campground is a pet-friendly campground that lies west of Owl Creek WSA, within Shoshone National Forest, on the shore of Brooks Lake. Peak season in the campground is between June and September, and the campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis only. Guests driving to the campground should look out for beautiful geological formation at Pinnacle Butte.

Tents and RVs can be accommodated in the campground, but no hookups are provided. However, amenities such as picnic tables, fire rings, garbage collection, and bear boxes are available. There are no ADA accessible sites in the campground. The vehicle length limit is 32 feet.

Recreation opportunities open to campers include lake and pond fishing, hiking and backpacking, wildlife and nature observation, and motorized and non-motorized boating.

Seasonal activities in Owl Creek Wilderness Study Area

Off-Season

Washakie Wilderness

Washakie Wilderness is a great place for visitors enjoying primitive recreation at Owl Creek WSA to explore. This wilderness area features deep and narrow valleys that expose volcanic rocks, as well as mountains and plateaus that separate canyons. In essence, guests are assured of amazing scenic views of landscapes in the wilderness.

Even more, various wildlife and birds such as bobcats, foxes, smaller furbearers, as well as peregrine falcons and bald eagles provide good viewing opportunities. If you fancy hunting game, moose, elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and black bears abound.

Boysen Reservoir

Boysen Reservoir offers lots of recreational opportunities for visitors, making it a popular destination for vacationers in the region. Chief among the things to do is year-round fishing for guests that have the State fishing license. Species available in this 31 square mile reservoir include trout, perch, walleye, and ling.

Other activities that are open to outdoor enthusiasts at this reservoir include wildlife watching, big game hunting, rockhounding, and horseback riding. Hunting permits and licenses are required.

Mountaineering

Owl Creek WSA lies in a region surrounded mountains and peaks that present wonderful mountaineering and rock-climbing opportunities for interested enthusiasts.

One of the most fascinating mountaineering experiences is on Washakie Needles, just north of Owl Creek WSA. This peak is one of the most dramatic peaks in the Absaroka Range of Wyoming, being the fifth highest in the range. It also has a distinctive shape that makes is recognizable from summits in the area, making it a top attraction.

In-Season

Flora

Owl Creek WSA is home to a wide variety of plant communities residing in all three units in the park. If you visit the steeper draw bottom areas in the wilderness, you will sight conifers that are mingled with linear patches and isolated pockets of aspen, as well as sagebrush vegetation.

The upper western slopes of the main ridgeline that divides South Fork of Owl Creek and Rock Creek feature narrow strips of timber.

Solitude

One of the major reasons why guests journey to Owl Creek WSA for vacations is because of the outstanding opportunity available in the park to enjoy quiet solitude, away from the rush of daily life. The peace and quiet provided here aids relaxation, refreshment, and a good recharge.

What’s more, the beautiful landscapes in the wilderness afford rest seekers good nature viewing opportunities. It’s good to come along with your camera so you can keep memoirs after you leave.

Fauna

Wildlife viewing enthusiasts never get tired of taking casual strolls through Owl Creek WSA or exploring the park’s areas on their horsebacks. This is largely due to the abundance of fauna within the park’s corridors. This wilderness is an important critical habitat for moose, deer, bear, elk and bighorn sheep. Hunters also have field days in the park.

Reports of sightings of Northern Rocky Mountain wolf and grizzly bear have also been recorded in the vicinity of the WSA.