Bighorns Top 10 Sites
Narrowing down a list to 10 sites is extremely difficult when there are thousands worth seeing. However, some of these are a must see and are unique only to the Bighorns. Waterfalls, alpine lakes, scenic overlooks, and historic places all make the list but there’s way more than just that. These are our top 10. What are yours?
Cloud peak wilderness
189,000 acres of untouched wilderness full of wildlife, hiking trails, and towering peaks. Named after the Bighorns highest peak, Cloud Peak (13,167ft), the wilderness area truly is a must see while visiting the Bighorns. The only remaining glacier in the Bighorns is also in the Cloud Peak Wilderness.
medicine Wheel national historic landmark
Estimated to be thousands of years old, the historic medicine wheel is still a wonder of the world. Its origins baffle scientist and even the native Crow tribe. It is said that the wheel has served spiritual, medicinal, and religious purposes over the years. If its mythical presence doesn’t make you pause for a minute, the scenery certainly will. The wheel sits at an elevation around 10,000 feet.
tongue river canyon
One of the most iconic hikes in Wyoming. This stunning canyon offers towering canyon walls, wildlife viewing, and fishing.
Steamboat got its name because of two factors. Steam, because when fog is present, its cliff walls emerge from the clouds as if it were pouring out steam. Boat, because its shape resembles the bow of a ship. This short but formidable hike is one of the most rewarding hikes in Wyoming. with scenic vistas of the entire northern Bighorns.
Black mountain Fire Lookout
Before modern technology, scouting the horizon from a high-point was one of the best ways to locate a fire. Today, the with airplanes and helicopters readily available, the forest rangers don’t need a fire lookout any longer. Today, the Black Mountain fire lookout serves as a resting point and the final destination to one of the most scenic hikes in Wyoming. Climb up to an elevation of 9,400 feet and be prepared to be wow’d.
Splash dam & The tie flume
In the early 20th century, timber was in high demand from the Bighorn Mountains. With the construction of the railroad and discovery of coal near Sheridan, it’s easy to see why. Packing one load of timber down the steep mountains could take a full day. To save time, lumberjacks built the tie flume which was basically a canal system that carried railroad ties down on water which could reach speeds of up to 70 mph! Splash dams were built to hold water and redirect the timber.
Park Res is a massive body of water just below the tree line of the Cloud Peak Wilderness. Great for fishing, camping, and just relaxing on the beach, this manmade lake is popular amongst visitors and locals alike.
Who doesn’t love a waterfall? This short but steep hike leads to one of the most rewarding views in the Rocky Mountains. The 200’ waterfall descends down from granite cliffs into a pristine pool. If you’re feeling bold, you can swim and jump off the boulders but beware, the water is cold all summer long!
shell falls & Copmans Tomb
Shell Falls is a more accessible, but still scenic, waterfall just off the Bighorn Scenic Byway towards the town of Shell, Wyoming. A well built stairway and pathway lead to the waterfall. To the north of the waterfall, Copmans Tomb, a massive rock formation, rises 4,000’ above the canyon.
Paradise Falls, officially known as Beaver Creek Falls, is a short and easy hike to one of the best views Wyoming has to offer. A series of pools and short waterfalls work their way down a rock slab before eventually falling off the edge. The hike is short but visitors often spend hours in this breathtaking canyon.