Great Divide Basin

At first glance, the Great Divide Basin in south-central Wyoming might not seem like it holds a lot of interest for tourists. It is rather dry and barren, after all. Upon closer inspection, however, it becomes clear that this is an area that begs to be explored. A Drainage basin of the extensive Continental Divide, the Great Divide Basin unfolds to the west of the Rocky Mountains and is known for its wide open spaces and its stunning bluffs. Sand dunes are also prevalent in this high desert land, and the flora and fauna are both fascinating and plentiful.

Essentially contained between the cities of Rawlins and Rock Springs, Wyoming’s Great Divide Basin covers nearly 4,000 square miles of terrain and is often referred to as the Red Desert. None of the area’s terrain is less than 6,000 feet above sea level–hence the high desert label. In reference to the makeup of the terrain, it is mostly characterized by bluffs, sand dunes and alkali flats. Shrubs and small trees are in relatively good supply, especially in the area’s ravines, and while the Great Divide Basin is a desert, there are shallow lakes and ephemeral streams. The flora, the lakes and the streams help to sustain the area’s wildlife, which includes feral horses, antelope, pronghorns, bobcats, coyotes, mountain lions, rabbits, rodents, sage grouses, eagles and hawks.

Many visitors to Wyoming’s Great Divide Basin area have wildlife viewing in mind, and generally speaking, the sightseeing opportunities are enticing. The area is arguably home to some of the country’s most fascinating terrain, and it can make for a great place to do some hiking and/or climbing. Access is made easy by the fact that Interstate 80 runs right through the region, and since the Great Divide Basin is being targeted for widespread mining and development, anyone who wishes to enjoy the natural wonder of it all is encouraged to plan their visits as soon as possible.

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