Description - No region in Wyoming provides a more diverse landscape than the Bighorn; from lush grasslands to alpine meadows; from rugged mountain tops to canyonlands and desert.
Copyright: Rick Cameron - US Forest Service
Steamboat Point, near the east end of the Bighorn Scenic Byway
- No region in Wyoming provides a more diverse landscape; from lush grasslands to alpine meadows; from rugged mountain tops to canyonlands and desert. The Bighorn has many unique geological formations and historic Native American sites. This land once felt the footsteps of legendary giants like Jim Bridger, Lewis and Clark, Red Cloud, Plenty Coups and Buffalo Bill. This area was highly valued by tribes like the Crow, Sioux, Cheyenne, Eastern Cheyenne and Arapaho. Some of the most famous battles between American Indians and the US military were waged at the foot of the Big Horn Mountains or in close proximity.
One of the many treasures on the Bighorn is the abundance of large alpine meadows. These wildflower filled meadows intersperse evergreen forests, extending from just above the foothills to timberline. The open landscapes make for great wildlife viewing. The Forest supports large elk and deer herds as well as moose, bighorn sheep, black bears, coyotes other wildlife.
Gorgeous canyon country is a hallmark of the Forest. Shell, Tensleep and Crazy Woman Canyons are among those that can be enjoyed from your car window. Others, like Tongue and Devil Canyon are better viewed on foot.
Backpackers can travel into remote areas on the forest, including the Cloud Peak Wilderness. If traveling by car, the Forest is traversed by several scenic highways. US 14 (Big Horn Scenic Byway) crosses 8,950-foot Granite Pass and winds through scenic Shell Falls and Canyon. US 14A (Medicine Wheel Passage) passes Medicine Mountain near the enigmatic Medicine Wheel. US 16 (Cloud Peak Skyway) crosses Powder River Pass (9,677 ft.) and threads through beautiful TenSleep Canyon.
Recreation - The Bighorn has 32 campgrounds, 14 picnic areas, two visitor centers, two ski areas, seven lodges, two recreation lakes, three Scenic Byways and over 1,500 miles (2419 Km) of trails. Located in the Big Horn Mountains are two downhill ski areas, Antelope Butte Ski Area and Powder Pass Ski Area. Winter sports enthusiasts will also find excellent cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
Climate - As throughout the Rocky Mountains, the climate varies drastically depending on elevation. Summers generally offer warm clear days with cool nights. Afternoon thunderstorms are often a possibility in the summer. In the winter, sunshine, with plenty of snow in the higher elevations, are ideal for winter activities. Harsh weather - including wind, cold, and snow - is possible throughout the winter and even throughout the year, in the highest elevations.
The Bighorn National Forest encompasses 1.1 million acres in the Big Horn Mountains of north-central Wyoming. The towns of Sheridan and Buffalo lie to the east of the forest, with Lovell, Greybull and Worland to the west. Forest Service offices are located in all of these towns. The Montana-Wyoming border forms the forests northern boundary.