Red Desert, Wyoming, USA by Chip Carroon

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Not all badlands are created equal. As someone who has spent a lot of time working on this, there is a lot of diversity. There is diversity in erosional forms which are related to rock types and precipitation and diversity related to the amount and type of vegetation. I remember going to Badlands National Park in South Dakota and wondering if that was the best representation of the general landform. The short answer is no. There are many other superb badlands with spectacular erosional shapes that are much different from those in the national park. Some of these are fairly well-known, but many are not. The badlands in the Red Desert of Wyoming is one of those places which is definitely off the radar.

One does not think of badlands as being related to Wyoming. When thinking of that state, you think of high elevation mountains and water. However, much of Wyoming is an arid high desert, and you may not want to dismiss it as being completely uninteresting.

The Red Desert of southern Wyoming has terrestrial sedimentary rocks that are close to horizontal in orientation. This is a good combination if one is looking for classic southwestern hoodoos, which are the pinnacles formed by varying sequential rock types in an arid environment.

If you are interested in photography within the high desert of Wyoming, you will probably want to choose a time within the summer since winter is extreme and spring and fall can yield roads that are impassable. You will want to choose a time when there is thunderstorm activity so you will have impressive clouds in the sky. You also will need to do a lot of reconnaissance to find a specific area for your work. There are almost no signs and near monotony of the access roads, so you may want to use a gps en route.

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