The Wah Wah Mountains Wilderness Study Area is forty-two thousand acres of public land in Utah managed by the BLM. The fifty-five-mile long wilderness stretches into both Millard and Beaver county. It's an arid landscape encompassing the Wah Wah Mountains and the broad Wah Wah Valley. The lower regions of the wilderness have sparse vegetation although there is some foresting at higher elevations with pinyon-juniper, bristlecone pine and mountain mahogany covering the slopes.
The most prominent feature of the wilderness is Crystal Peak, a huge grey mound of dolomite rock which rises to a height of over seven thousand feet. Formed by ancient volcanic action the peak is peppered with honeycomb-like holes and fissures. It's a popular peak in Utah for climbing and bouldering. Once at the summit, there are amazing views of the surrounding countryside that stretch as far as the Great Basin National Park in the neighboring state of Nevada to the north-west and the Fishlake National Forest to the east.
The more or less level valley floor is a great spot for solitary cross country hiking and although there are no defined trails, you will come across game trails left by the passage of herds of deer and antelope. There's an abundance of wildlife in the Wah Wah Mountains Wilderness Study Area and as well as deer and antelope, hopeful spotters can view several species of raptor, ground birds like Chukar partridge and even cougars higher up on the wooded slopes.
No wheeled or motorized vehicles, including OHV and mountain bikes, are permitted past the boundary signs of the wilderness area and camping is restricted to dispersed tent camping only. If you're looking for somewhere to pitch camp in your RV, you'll find the Fremont Indian State Park a reasonable alternative. If you want to fish, float a boat or get in some off-roading time after exploring the wilderness on foot the campground at the Sand Hollow State Park is an ideal choice.
Before heading to the Wah Wah Mountains Wilderness Study Area, it's a good idea to decide if you want go to the northern or southern section as they have different access points. Crystal Peak is located in the northern section, which is where most visitors to the wilderness go. Whether you're motoring from either the north or south you'll more than likely be on the I 15 so once you get to Beaver follow the signs to the rural community of Milford. From Milford, it's just a short drive north to Black Rock where you can turn off onto the Crystal Peak Road. It's a cross country drive that will take you to the wilderness boundary and better undertaken in a four by four or high clearance vehicle.
If you've been RV camping in the Dixie National Forest, you can join the I 15 northbound at either Cedar City, Enoch or Parowan. From all three it's a short run to Beaver and then on to Milford which will take you less than an hour. If you've been RV camping in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, the best bet is to hit the US 50 westbound in Austin – Nevada not Texas. The trip will take you around four and a half hours.
The Sand Hollow State Park is one of the best places to pitch camp in your RV if you want to go fishing, boating or off-roading as well as exploring the Wah Wah Mountains Wilderness Study Area. The state park is located between the Zion National Park and the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area. It's approximately one and a half hour's drive from the wilderness and the campgrounds are open for twelve months of the year.
The park offers RV campers the choice between two semi-developed campgrounds and primitive dispersed camping. If you're looking for some peace and quiet, the campgrounds might not be for you as they are separated by the Sand Mountain OHV Area so you may hear some noise from the dune buggies and other off-road vehicles that are using the zone.
The Westside Campground at the Sand Hollow State Park has around fifty pitches for RVs up to forty feet in length furnished with picnic tables, grills, and fire rings. All of the campsites are fitted with water and electricity hook-ups. The on-site amenities include flush toilets, hot showers, and a dump station.
The Sand Pit Campground is smaller but can accommodate larger rigs. There are thirty campsites that can cater for rigs up to sixty feet. The pitches have utility hook-ups, picnic tables, and grills. Some, but not all of the campsites, are pet-friendly so double check when you make your reservation if you plan on taking your dog.
Step out on foot in the Wah Wah Mountains Wilderness Study Area and as you trek through the flat of the valley, you'll have Crystal Peak looming up in the distance. The peak can be seen clearly from a distance of over ten miles. Whether you make it your objective to reach it or not, it's a great landmark to keep an eye on to help prevent you from losing your bearings.
There's no permanent springs or creeks running through the wilderness, so take a good enough supply of water with you and extra for your dog if you decide to take your pet with you. Hiking in the wilderness is thirsty work for both man and beast.
Crystal Peak in the Wah Wah Mountains WSA is a moderate challenge any peakbagger would be proud to add to their list of accomplishments. The interesting geological make-up of the dolomite mound makes it a completely different climb to other peaks of the same size.
The rock is brittle and breaks easily, so it's a case of using your wits rather than equipment to get to the top. As you can't use any special gear to get to the summit, be ready to scramble in places. If you're reasonably fit, it'll take you about forty-five minutes to get to the top and longer if you're not.
While you can't take a vehicle inside the Wah Wah Mountain Wilderness Study Area, it doesn't mean you can't go off-roading during your visit to these BLM lands in Utah. There are two amazing places, both within an hour and a half's drive of the wilderness that you won't want to miss, plus a very exciting one less than half an hour away.
In the Sand Hollow State Park, there are fifteen thousand acres of red sand dunes to test your skills on. To the north of the wilderness, near the town of Jericho, is the Little Sahara Recreation Area. There you'll have almost sixty-thousand acres of varied landscapes to ride or drive over including one of the best off-road challenges in Utah, Sand Mountain, a seven-hundred-foot high dune. Closer still to the wilderness is the seventy-two mile long Paiute ATV Trail. You'll find the trailhead just outside of the town of Beaver.
The use of mountain bikes isn't permitted in the Wah Wah Mountains WSA. If you want to hit the trails using pedal-power, drive one hour west to the Eagle Point Resort in the depths of the Fishlake National Forest.
The trails are usually used for cross country skiing but when there's no snow on the ground, they become a forty-mile long mountain bikers dream location. There, from spring through to fall, you can cycle through forests and across meadows with incredible mountain views.
Choose the campground at the Sand Hollow State Park for your visit to the Wah Wah Mountains WSA and you'll have a one-thousand acre plus lake surrounded by stunning red dunes right at the door of your RV. It's a scenic spot where you can hope to hook plenty of fish including catfish, trout, bass, and crappie. All you'll need is a bit of angler's luck and a Utah state fishing license.
Sit back in the comfort of your vehicle and take in the gorgeous scenery as you drive the Beaver Canyon Scenic Byway. The route starts in Beaver and follows the U 153 through the Tusher Mountain Range and into the Fishlake National Forest terminating at the Eagle Point Resort. It's only seventeen miles in total so it doesn't take long to complete, though you'll want to stop off several times on the way to take photos or just admire the breathtaking landscapes.