Paesaggi alieni in Wyoming: Hell’s Half Acre, Gooseberry Badlands e Devil’s Kitchen

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Lluis Enric Mayans
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Wyoming is certainly not new to alien settings, one of the most undisputed symbols of science fiction cinematography, the monolith of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, is in this very state (see our article on Devils Tower), but today we talk about 3 landscapes much less known and that will make the happiness of those looking for amazing natural landscapes out of the ordinary, so unusual as to give the impression of having landed on another planet (not surprisingly, one of these was used for the filming of the movie Starship Troopers ).



In these landscapes the geological erosion process has produced badlands (badlands) with incredible colors and shapes: just as if you had just arrived in another world, your gaze, in search of the perfect photo, will wander among slopes, ravines and hoodoos with surprising chromatic shades. Similar landscapes, with due differences, can be found at Badlands Park in South Dakota, but here the experience will feel much more remote, perhaps more like that of Coal Mine Canyon in Arizona or Painted Mines Park in Colorado. So let's see how to visit Gooseberry Badlands, Devil’s Kitchen e Hell’s Half Acre.

Index

  • Map of the 3 sites
  • Gooseberry Badlands, Painted Desert
    • Where is it and how to get there
    • How to visit the site
    • How to insert it in an itinerary
    • Video
    • Accomodation
  • Devil’s Kitchen
    • Where is it and how to get there
    • How to visit the site
    • How to insert it in an itinerary
    • Video
    • Accomodation
  • Hell’s Half Acre
    • Where is it and how to get there
    • How to visit the site
    • How to insert it in an itinerary
    • Video
    • Accomodation

Map of the 3 sites

Gooseberry Badlands, Painted Desert



Where is it and how to get there

Gooseberry Badlands, Also known as Painted Desert, is located in northern Wyoming, within the Bighorn Basin, an arid plateau on which the Bighorn Mountains rise. It is more or less halfway between the towns of Meeteetse and Worland (about 30 minutes by car from both). To reach it, just take the state road 431 and park in the small parking area that you find at these coordinates.

How to visit the site

From the parking lot begins a path called Gooseberry Badlands Scenic Overlook Trail, a 2,4 km trail with an altitude difference of 43 meters equipped with explanatory panels. The route will take you to admire the entire valley, passing from rocky conformations similar to gigantic mushrooms to other strange and bizarre hoodoos with the most varied colors.

By reading the panels you can discover the erosion processes that produced such a chromatic result, be amazed at how once there was a tropical climate in this area and learn about the local fauna (including rattlesnakes).

How to insert it in an itinerary

Cloud Peak Skyway

You can quite easily include this stop in your itinerary if you travel from Yellowstone to Mount Rushmore (e.g. from Cody to Rapid City), thus traversing the Bighorn National Forest on the scenic route. Cloud Peak Skyway, which you can pick up in the town of Worland, 51 km from Gooseberry Badlands. Of course, you can also enter it if you travel the route in the opposite direction.


Video

Accomodation

The closest towns (albeit with few accommodations) are Worland and Meeteetse, but I also recommend that you take a look at our tips on where to sleep in the Bighorn Mountains area, as there may be other better strategic options for your itinerary. , as well as a greater availability of rooms.


Our tips for sleeping in the Bighorn Mountains area

Devil’s Kitchen

Where is it and how to get there

The area of ​​46 hectares called Devil’s Kitchen it is also located in northern Wyoming, within the Bighorn Basin, although further north, 13 km from the town of Greybull. Reaching it is a bit more complex and requires driving on a dirt road, which however is not recommended to undertake in rain or wet conditions.

From US-14 take Davis Road, then turn left onto Big Horn County L33 and then turn left (coordinates) onto an unnamed road leading to the site.

How to visit the site

Don't expect tourist services of any kind, Devil's Kitchen is a totally unspoiled place. After parking your car you will find yourself in front of an extraordinary panorama with truly impressive chromatic colors, you can move close to the ridge to admire it from various angles or even decide to go down to the bottom, however you must be careful because there are no marked paths and the exploration is totally free.

How to insert it in an itinerary

Bighorn Scenic Byway

Like Gooseberry Badlands, Devil's Kitchen can be included in an itinerary that crosses the Bighorn National Forest from Yellowstone to the Black Hills, even if choosing a different scenic route: no longer the US-16, Cloud Peak Skyway, but the US-14, Bighorn Scenic Byway. The detour will take you about 20 minutes round trip, plus the time it will take you to visit the site.


Video

Accomodation

The nearest town to find accommodation is Greybull, where there is also an interesting aeronautics museum (Museum of Flight & Aerial Firefighting), however, again for reasons of accommodation availability and itinerary strategy, I also recommend in this case to read our tips on how to find accommodation in the Bighorn Mountains area.


Our tips for sleeping in the Bighorn Mountains area

Hell’s Half Acre

Where is it and how to get there

Hell’s Half Acre is a large escarpment of about 130 hectares located 64 km west of the town of Casper, in east-central Wyoming. The area is a little better known than the previous 2 as it was used as a set for the planet Klendathu in Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers movie. Fans of the film can't miss it then.

The discovery of bison fossils and arrowheads in this area has led to evidence that some Indian tribes used the site to attract bison and then slaughter them. Hell’s Half Acre it is easy to reach as it is located on Highway 26, a 45-minute drive from Casper; at this point you will have to turn left into Hell's Half Acre road, go through the gate and park your car.

How to visit the site

The site is neither kept nor equipped for tourist visits, it is more to be considered as a roadside attraction than a park to be explored with its paths. This is unfortunately due to the fence that surrounds it in its entirety, and which does not allow you to get close to the edge of the escarpment, much less to go down to the bottom. The only thing you can do is to walk around the perimeter of the escarpment and observe the surreal landscape beyond the fence. In principle, there are no guarantees as to whether the gate will open or not, however, all visitors who have passed through here report that they found it open.

How to insert it in an itinerary

Hell's Half Acre is located in the heart of Wyoming, an area that can be easily crossed if you need to travel to Yellowstone from Denver, Colorado. However, you will have to give up the slightly shorter route (the one that passes through Laramie and Lander, also described in our article From Denver to Yellowstone) in favor of the route that passes through the towns of Cheyenne and Casper.

Video

Accomodation

The best town in terms of proximity and number of available accommodations is undoubtedly Casper, which boasts, among other things, some interesting attractions including a pleasant historic downtown and museums dedicated to the west. Here is the list of all the accommodations in the city:

All of Casper's accommodations

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