Hanging Out At Hell’s Half Acre
- Date Visited: July 5, 2021
- GPS: 43.04002, -107.09311
On our travel day last week we saw a sign for Hell’s Half Acre and with a name like that we just had to check it out. We didn’t know exactly what to expect, but I think this geological roadside oddity can best be described as a little bit of the Badlands National Park in Wyoming.
Located right off US highway 20/26 between Shoshoni and Casper, Hell’s Half Acre is around 320 acres of badlands surrounded by miles of flat, dry plains. In 1924 the Federal Government donated a 960-acre land grant to Natrona County and Hell’s Half Acre was part of that agreement. It was originally given the name Devil’s Kitchen, but has also been called The Pits of Hades and The Baby Grand Canyon.
Native American tribes once used the area for hunting Bison. The drop from the top of the ravine is over 150 feet so it was the perfect spot to herd the giant beasts to their death. Bison bones, flint arrowheads and spear points have been discovered at the bottom of the ravine that are thought to be 3,000 to 1,200-years-old.
From 1940 to 1971 a post office operated at the site. In 2005 the restaurant and motel that were located on the premises were torn down. It was at that time that the county decided to fence off the site.
As I stated before when viewing the deep ravines, small caves and rock spires of this area you can’t help but get that Badlands vibe from it. Badlands National Park is one of my favorite national parks we have visited so far so to find this attraction while driving down the highway in the middle of Wyoming was a real treat.
The entire area is fenced off and there is no way to gain access to the cliff edge or the valley itself. The giant chain link fence makes you get a little more creative while taking pictures, but it can still be easily done.
Off to the left we could see multiple shelters in an area with just a low fence providing perfect unobstructed views of Hell’s Half Acre. Unfortunately the gate providing access to the area was locked up tight and there was no other way to gain entry to the spot. That was really disappointing, because it looked like the perfect spot to get some phenomenal pictures.
If your a sci-fi movie fan this spot may look vaguely familiar to you. Hell’s Half Acre was used for shooting part of the 1997 movie Starship Troopers. It served as the set for planet Klendathu, the homeworld of Pseudo-Arachnid. I’m a big fan of that movie series so I thought that little factoid was pretty cool.
If you’re driving by, this little geological attraction is completely worth a stop. It’s right off the highway so you won’t add any miles to your trip and it will only take 15 minutes to check out. It’s a great opportunity to stretch your legs and see another cool creation from Mother Nature.