What The Heck … Is That 400-Foot Snaggle Tooth Rock North Of Rock Springs?

Boar’s Tusk is what’s left of a long dormant volcano that now looks like a 400-foot snaggle tooth-looking rock formation in the middle of nowhere north of Rock Springs.

GJ
Greg Johnson

October 22, 20234 min read

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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.

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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.

Boar's Tusk is hard to miss even from far away driving north from Rock Springs.
Boar's Tusk is hard to miss even from far away driving north from Rock Springs. (U.S. Geological Service)

Want to know what the heck something is in Wyoming? Ask Managing Editor Greg Johnson and he’ll try to find out. Send your “What the heck is …” questions to him, along with high-quality horizontal photos of whatever it is to Greg@CowboyStateDaily.com.

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What The Heck … Is That Giant Mineral Dome In Thermopolis?

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What The Heck Is … That 60-Foot Pyramid In the Middle Of Nowhere Off I-80?

What The Heck Is … The Vore Buffalo Jump Along I-90 In Northeast Wyoming?

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Greg Johnson

Managing Editor

Veteran Wyoming journalist Greg Johnson is managing editor for Cowboy State Daily.