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Camping in the Bighorns

Bighorns

If you're looking for a great camping adventure, consider the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming. The Bighorn National Forest of Wyoming is located in north-central Wyoming about halfway between Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone National Park. It covers 1, 115, 073 acres of lush green forest. There are 32 campgrounds, 14 picnic areas, 2 visitor centers, 2 ski areas, 7 lodges, 2 recreational lakes, 3 scenic byways and over 15, 000 miles of trails. No region in Wyoming contains a more diverse landscape. Here you will see lush grasslands ablaze with wildflowers, crystal-clear streams and lakes, alpine meadows, glacial carved valleys and arid deserts with gooseneck canyons and cascading waterfalls.

 Meadow Near Medicine Wheel
Meadow Near Medicine Wheel

 Wildflowers at Ranger Creek Campground
Wildflowers at Ranger Creek Campground

 Shell Creek at Ranger Creek Campground
Shell Creek at Ranger Creek Campground

 

 Shoshone Falls
Shoshone Falls

 Shell Creek Falls
Shell Creek Falls

 Bighorn Canyon
Bighorn River and Canyon in Bighorn National Recreation Area


The mountains got their name from the Indians who named the river along the west side of the forest. They saw many bighorn sheep along the side of the river, and called it "Bighorn." Later Lewis and Clark transferred the name to the range of mountains in the distance. The elevation range of the Bighorns is from 5, 500 feet to 13, 175 feet. There you will see many lodge-pole pines and aspens. The pines not only provided poles for teepees in the 1800s, but also lumber for building Fort Kearny. The mountains provided medicinal plants, as well as abundant game.

Moose

Recreational opportunities abound in the Bighorns. You can enjoy hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, picnicking, site-seeing and photography, as well as the winter sports of snow-mobiling, skiing, and sledding.

Ranger Creek Campground at Shell Creek
Ranger Creek Campground at Shell Creek

Scenic routes have signs along the highway to inform you of the age of the mountains, which date back to prehistoric times. One such route is U.S. Highway 14, connecting the towns of Sheridan and Greybull. This is 45 miles of scenic driving where you will see snow-capped peaks. On U.S. 14A, you will travel through the town of Lovell, and on to high alpine meadows before reaching  Burgess Junction. On this route you will see the largest Medicine Wheel site in North America.

 Signs identify geologic formations along the highway
Signs Identify Geologic Formations Along the Highway

 Burgess Junction is one of two visitors centers in the Bighorn Mountains
Burgess Junction is one of Two Visitor Centers in the Bighorn Mountains


For more information, check out the websites below:

http://www.travel-to-wyoming.com/buffalo/big_horn_mountain_flowers.htm
http://www.angelfire.com/ga/mountainbuilder/wyoming.html
http://www.americanparknetwork.com/parkinfo/content.asp?catid=85&contenttypeid=16#676
http://www.lexisnexis.com/academic/2upa/Awush/AmericanWest.asp
http://www.fiberpipe.net/~foothill/Indian_Wars_Battlefields.html
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/destinations/Yellowstone_National_Park/Bighorn_Canyon_National_Recreation_Area.html
http://members.aol.com/mtofwy/bighorn.html
http://recreation.gov/advancedsearch.cfm?Interp=1&states=WY
http://www.us-parks.com/US_Recreation_Area/bighorn_canyon/NPS_Info.shtml
http://www.bighornmountains.com/photo-gallery/gallery.htm
http://www.wyogeo.org/products/1996g.htm
http://www.bighornmountains.com/about-bighorns.htm
http://www.bighornmountains.com/

Website designed by Faye Wood
Photos © Faye Wood


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