Sand Mountain Wilderness Study Area (WSA) is a 33-square mile property in Idaho named after its most prominent feature, the Sand Mountain, that rises about 500 feet above the surrounding plain. This Bureau of Land Management park offers primitive and unconfined recreation opportunities to visitors looking to enjoy lovely vacations and connect with nature. If you’re coming to the wilderness in your car, ensure it’s a four-wheel-drive vehicle so that you can easily make your way through the rough dirt roads that lead to the park.
Some of the ways to spend time at Sand Mountain WSA include hiking, horseback riding, wildlife observation, and photography. This BLM park is particularly important for wildlife because it serves as a crucial wintering habitat for large mammals such as deer, moose, and elk. More opportunities to view and hunt wildlife are provided at Mud Lake Wildlife Management Area and Camas National Wildlife Refuge. Quayles Lake is a popular destination for anglers at the park.
There are no modern campgrounds or amenities in the WSA, so visitors should gear up for primitive camping. Developed campgrounds are provided at Caribou-Targhee National Forest.
Sand Mountain Wilderness Study Ares lies ten miles west of St. Anthony, Idaho, in Fremont and Jefferson Counties. To the west of the wilderness is Interstate 15, while State Highway lies to the south of this BLM park. Access to this wilderness from St. Anthony and Ashton is off US Highway 20. Some roads and local routes branch off these highways connecting to dirt roads that lead to the wilderness areas. Guests coming to the park are enjoined to drive four-wheel vehicles, so that there won’t be difficulties negotiating the access roads to the wilderness.
Within Sand Mountain Wilderness Study Area, the use of motorized vehicles and mechanical equipment is not allowed. So, as you approach the wilderness, watch out for signs and posts that indicate where the wilderness boundaries are. Parking areas are provided around where the wilderness boundaries are located.
Boundaries of the WSA are generally county road on the east and southwest BLM road on the west and state and private land subdivisions on the northwest north and southeast.
There are no direct public transportation services to Sand Mountain Wilderness Study Area.
Warm River Campground is a pet-friendly campground located on the shore of Warm River in Caribou-Targhee National Forest. This campground is open between May and September and is busiest in July and August. Tent, group, and RV camping opportunities are provided here. Reservations are accepted.
Within the campground, pine trees offer partial shade for the campsites. There are 25 campsites in the campground, 10 of which are tent-only. Amenities provided include vault toilets, potable water, trash receptacles, picnic tables, and firewood.
Recreational opportunities here include river tubing, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and sightseeing.
The maximum RV/trailer length that can be accommodated is 45 feet.
If you’re planning a trip to this BLM wilderness in winter, you should take advantage of the winter recreation activities on offer at Harriman State Park to the northeast of Sand Mountain WSA. There are 24 miles of groomed trailed dedicated to various winter activities such as classic cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, skate skiing, and fat-tire biking.
Guests can also enjoy a host of summer activities such as fly fishing, horseback riding, hiking, and historic railroad ranch tours at the park too.
Mud Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is a good place to visit if you wish to see thousands of waterbirds, waterfowl, and shorebirds. This WMA is home to about 160,000 migrating waterfowl and waterbirds, which makes the area a premier destination for birdwatching.
Other bird species that soar the skies above the WMA are western grebes, snowy egrets, great blue herons, double-crested cormorants, and white-faced ibis. You definitely want to take your camera and binoculars with you on your visit to this WMA.
The habitation provided at Camas National Wildlife Refuge is crucial for a wide variety of migratory and non-migratory bird species, making the wildlife refuge home to diverse birds. Native habitats here include native wetland, riparian areas, as well as native upland sagebrush, meadows, and grasslands. Naturalized habitats that are present here are hay meadows and shelterbelts.
Over the years, more than 300 species of birds have been identified in the Refuge, so there’s no shortage of things to see.
Wildflower viewing is a good way to spend time at Sand Mountain Wilderness Study Area. Flora enthusiasts even love to carry their camera(s) around with them as they explore the park areas and come across beautiful plant communities that decorate the park’s corridors. Some of the flora seen in the park include grasses, sagebrush, willows, and saltgrass.
At the nearby Caribou-Targhee National Forest, dense forests of lodgepole pine, grassy meadows, and summer wildflowers are common.
Wildlife viewing and hunting opportunities abound at Sand Mountain WSA, thanks to the diverse habitats in the wilderness that support the survival of fauna species. In winter, healthy populations of moose and deer elk are present in the park, owing to the fact that the WSA is a crucial wintering habitat for them. The elk herd, in particular, migrate all the way from Yellowstone National Park to this wilderness.
Near the lava outcrops in the dunes, primrose and tiger beetle are often sighted by keen observers.
Whether you are an experienced angler or just a beginner, there’s room for you to showcase your skills at Quayles Lake, located south of this Bureau of Land Management property in Idaho. The lake’s waters are open all year to visitors that possess the appropriate license for fishing. You should note that fishing is prohibited within the posted upstream and downstream boundary of any fish weir or trap on the lake.
Fish species that you can catch here include largemouth and smallmouth bass, brook trout, bull trout, kokanee, sturgeon among others.