Top Wild Places

Explore some of the best wild experiences — from iconic landscapes to hidden gems — the United States has to offer.

Every wild place is unique and has characteristics that we connect with for different reasons. We hope you find, among this list, some amazing wild places that inspire you:

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is considered the crown jewel of all refuges. This vast land of fragile tundra, dramatic mountains and epic wildlife migrations is truly the nation's last untouched wilderness. 

Arctic Ocean

The Arctic Ocean is one of the most fragile and challenging environments on earth. This partially frozen ocean at the top of the world is our front line of climate change.

Boise National Forest

Idaho's Boise National Forest spans 2.6 million acres and includes 7,600 miles of streams and rivers. It also houses more than 250 lakes and reservoirs.

California Desert

Located between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, the California Desert is a vast landscape of painted mountains, sand dunes and hidden streams. It includes world-renowned places like Death Valley and Joshua Tree national parks.

Clearwater Basin

Clearwater Basin is a 6 million-acre landscape that rises from Idaho’s Palouse prairie into a craggy, moss-draped wilderness. Clearwater Basin is the native land of the Nez Perce Native American tribe and one of the places that Lewis and Clark explored.

Dolores River Basin

Starting in the 14,000-foot peaks of Colorado’s San Juan mountains, the Dolores River winds through 230 miles of Colorado and Utah. The surrounding basin contains vast stretches of varied wilderness, from alpine forests to redrock canyons.

Eastern Tennessee

Wilderness areas dot the highland slopes of Cherokee National Forest in eastern Tennessee. The forest is located in the Southern Appalachian Mountains.

Gallatin Range

Montana’s Gallatin Range is a pristine chain of mountains. It begins in Yellowstone National Park and runs north to foothills outside the growing community of Bozeman.

Greater Dinosaur Region

The Greater Dinosaur Region in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah is sometimes called the sagebrush Yellowstone. Teeming with wildlife and divided by the Yampa and Green rivers, Greater Dinosaur is a paradise for backcountry hikers seeking wilderness adventure.

Greater Grand Canyon

Anchored by our most famous national park, the Greater Grand Canyon stretches from Grand Canyon National Park in northwest Arizona to the Utah border. It includes lesser-known gems like Vermilion Cliffs National Monument and the ancient ponderosa pines of the Kaibab National Forest.

Highway 2

Washington state's Highway 2 corridor spans the crest of the Cascade Mountains, encompassing the Skykomish basin in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and most of the Wenatchee basin in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

Methow Valley

The eastern gateway to Washington's North Cascades, the Methow Valley is flanked by impressive peaks that offer countless recreational opportunities year-round. The Methow serves as the eastern gateway to North Cascades National Park and provides access to more than 680,000 acres of Wilderness in the Pasayten and Lake Chelan-Sawtooth areas.

North San Diego County Wild Heritage

California’s North San Diego County has a wild heritage. About an hour’s drive outside urban San Diego, the rugged area remains untouched by the rapid sprawl of the region. It provides a welcome escape from hectic city life.

Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks

New Mexico's Organ Mountains are named for the granite “needles” in the highest part of the range that resemble pipes from a pipe organ.

Otero Mesa

Otero Mesa is a hauntingly beautiful wild grassland that stretches more than 1.2 million acres in southern New Mexico.

Owyhee Canyonlands

The Owyhee Canyonlands span southwest Idaho, southeast Oregon and northeast Nevada. They are among the most remote areas of the continental United States.

Payette National Forest

Idaho's Payette National Forest is home to remarkable wildlands with pristine backcountry, wildlife habitat and unparalleled recreation.

Pinnacles

Pinnacles National Monument is a swath of stunning volcanic formations in central California.

Rocky Mountain Front

Montana's Rocky Mountain Front is a hiking and backpacking gateway, where the prairie meets a wall of towering peaks. The Front provides access for long trips into the Bob Marshall Wilderness, and day hikes near the outfitter towns of Choteau and Augusta.

Sierra Nevada

The Sierra Nevada is a breathtaking mountain range that spans 500 miles of California and touches Nevada.

San Gabriel Mountains

The San Gabriel Mountains are an urban escape near Los Angeles. They are Southern California’s most accessible wildland — within an hour’s drive of more than 15 million city dwellers.

Southeastern Utah

Utah’s canyon country is a backpacker’s dream. This remote and beautiful red rock wilderness includes Canyonlands National Park and is known as “the most weird, wonderful, magical place on earth.”

Southern Los Padres

This 100-mile expanse of land between Snow Mountain Wilderness and Lake Berryessa is an urban escape, 100 miles from San Francisco. City dwellers visit for its ample recreation opportunities, including hiking and swimming.

Southwestern Crown

In Montana’s Southwestern Crown of the Continent, the Blackfoot and Clearwater rivers join to create the Blackfoot-Clearwater region. The region’s many forests, rivers and other wildlands offer recreation of all kinds.

Western Arctic Reserve

The Western Arctic Reserve is a vast 22.1-million acre home to Arctic wildlife on Alaska’s North Slope. The Petroleum Reserve is roughly the size of Indiana. It remains a place where some Arctic drilling and Arctic wildlife can co-exist.

Western North Carolina

The highlands of western North Carolina are a place where wilderness hikes weave through towering old growth forests and rhododendron jungles.

White Mountain National Forest

White Mountain National Forest includes some of the most untamed and beautiful country in New Hampshire and Maine. This is New England’s wild backyard.

Wyoming Range

A state known for its wildlands, Wyoming gets its this name from this range in particular. It’s home to the 11,363-foot Wyoming Peak, where open slopes are dotted with sagebrush and pockets of aspen trees.

Yakima Basin

The Yakima Basin is one of the most diverse watersheds in Washington state. From the wet, alpine forests of the Cascades to the arid, sagebrush-studded Yakima Valley, the basin is home to the largest tributary of the Columbia River, the Yakima River.

  • Testimony delivered by The Wilderness Society's Chase Huntley to the House Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources

  • A letter to Members of the House of Representatives urging them to oppose HR 4899, a bill that would undermine important wildland protections and force drilling in pristine areas of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska

  • Every year, a coalition of conservation and environmental groups produce a report to help Congress as it debates the federal budget for the year. This report, has typically been to referred to as the "Green Budget." This year, it is titled "Green Investments," and it illustrates the importance of reinvesting in conservation and natural resources programs for Fiscal Year 2015 by looking at some of the effects of recent budget cuts.