Monday, March 12, 2012

The Boar’s Tusk

Located out in the Red Desert, this interesting geological feature is about 30 miles north of Rock Springs, WY. The Boar’s Tusk is essentially a volcanic neck of some kind where all of the sedimentary rock surrounding it eroded away leaving this solitary igneous intrusion standing in the upper end of the valley about 400 feet off of the valley floor. This is not unlike another famous tower in opposite corner of the state. Devil’s Tower in northeast Wyoming is the same kind of formation as the Boar’s tusk but it is more than double the size. Oh well, the Boar’s Tusk is still worth seeing if you enjoy interesting landforms.

You can drive right up to the base of the formation and you can fairly easily climb about halfway up to what might be described as a saddle between the two main spires. If you have the training and the gear, you can do some rock climbing to get all of the way up to the top. The local raptor population uses the Boar’s Tusk for nesting so you might be advised to inquire with local authorities regarding nesting seasons, so that you don’t disturb the animals.
A view of the Boar's Tusk from the edge of the sand dunes.

The Boar’s Tusk is volcanic in its formation, made from various lamproite rocks. The rocks are very hard and very jagged so be careful and don’t fall if you do any kind of climbing around. The lower portions that can be climbed on foot without any gear are made up of very steep and loose debris so it is easy to slip and fall.

To get to the Boar’s Tusk take U.S. 191 North from Rock Springs about 8 miles to the Chilton Road turn off. Turn East onto the Chilton Road and follow it East and then North for about 15 miles. The road is gravel but it is usually in good shape and it is possible to drive the road at fairly fast speeds in some stretches. Stay on the main road and do not turn off on any of the side roads such as Long Canyon and Cedar Canyon, as you get closer to the Boar’s Tusk you will see it standing alone in the distance. At the 15 mile mark the road forks to the left and the right. You can go either way and then look for a two track that will take you to the base of the peak. The easiest way is to take the left fork as outlined in the route that accompanies this post. After the fork you can be to the formation in about 3 or 4 more miles.

The mileage sign that is posted at the beginning of the Chilton road.

The Chilton road can be traveled easily in any kind of car but as usual 4WD is advised to make it all of the way out to the Boar’s Tusk. The last section of road that takes you out there, regardless of your final approach, can be very sandy in some spots and rutted in other spots. If the roads are wet the going instantly becomes much more difficult but in the summer time they dry out very quickly once the sun comes out. Travel in the winter is fairly easy as long as it’s not snowing or windy, and this time of year can offer a different perspective of this area. You might also consider approaching the Boar’s Tusk from 191 farther north near the tiny farming community of Eden. I have never taken this route but I know this approach has less dirt road, but it means more miles total.
Looking to the North from between the pinnacles of the Boar's Tusk. The light color terrain in the distance is
part of the Killpecker Sand dunes.

On your way to and from the Boar’s tuck the usual high desert animals can often be seen: wild horses, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, and even a few elk. I have seen coyotes and foxes as well. A few times I have come across fairly large flocks of sage grouse standing right in the middle of the road. These animals suffer from severe stupidity. They will stand in the middle of the road and let you run them over, but obviously I would advise that you go really slow and let them move out of the way. The sage grouse is thought to be a threatened species so you must be friendly to these wild desert chickens.

The other thing to consider if you want to drive out to the Boar’s Tusk is a visit to other things in the neighborhood. These include the Killpecker Sand Dunes, The White Mountain Petroglyphs, Cedar Canyon, the Table Mountains, Steamboat Mountain, and a few others. No matter which sights you go to see, make sure to bring food, water and a full tank of fuel. This is another area where shade is rare so keep that in mind when you go.

Click here to download the route on Google Earth

The saddle area between the pinnacles.

From the southeast side.
A couple of the Adventure Kids can be seen on the rocks. 


  1. Beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing this little-known part of the world.

  2. Just a heads-up, Boars Tusk has been closed to climbing since 2009.