It may be more than a little out of the way, but it’s hard to miss a 400-foot snaggle tooth-looking rock formation sticking up in the middle of nowhere north of Rock Springs, Wyoming.
It’s called Boar’s Tusk — and for obvious reasons, because the early settlers passing through the area along one of the many historic pioneer trails said it looked like a giant tooth of a wild pig.
More than just a curiosity, Boar’s Tusk is a rare geologic feature that excites rockhounds around the Cowboy State.
It’s A What?
Boar’s Tusk is what’s left of a prehistoric volcano. More specifically, it’s the core of a long-dormant powder keg that’s been exposed after the rest of the mountain has been worn down by the elements.
It’s the much-lesser-known cousin of perhaps the most famous geologic landmark on the planet, Devils Tower.
Boar’s Tusk is “incredibly unique in the sense that you can see it for a very long distance away,” said Aidan Brady, public engagement coordinator for the Sweetwater County Museum and a geology buff. “It’s a landmark you can see from quite a distance away and kind of jumps out of the landscape on its own.”
While Boar’s Tusk is about all that’s left off it, the whole area “has a volcanic history” going back 2.5 million years, he said.
“That’s why that area out there is known as the Lucite Hills,” Brady said. “When you look at that area from a satellite, you’ll see these big pits that were natural. The uplift caused by all that volcanic stuff has caused all that coal that’s older than the trona there being mined.”
And while Boar’s Tusk used to be a volcano, there’s no chance it’ll erupt, Brady said.
“It’s a very, very dormant volcano,” he said.
Off The Beaten Path
Getting there takes some work, and a four-wheel drive vehicle, Brady said, or at least something with plenty of clearance.
Although Google will tell you it takes about 50 minutes to get to Boar’s Tusk from Rock Springs, “I’m not sure I’d trust Google with that,” Brady said. “I’d say it’s probably about an hour out into BLM land that’s part of the Red Desert.”
From Rock Springs, drive north on U.S. Highway 191 until you hit mile marker 10, then turn east onto county Road 4-17 for 18 miles. Then it’s back onto the Boar’s Tusk access route for 3 miles. From there, it’s still a bit of a hike to get right up to it.
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