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Travel

Sightseeing in the Bighorns

HISTORIC & SCENIC TOURS IN THE BIGHORNS

The Bighorn Mountains and Bighorn National Forest offer many opportunities for sightseeing. There are 3 major highways traversing the Bighorns in an east-west direction. Each offers its own distinct and memorable scenery with relatively equal travel distances and comparable surfaces. So the choice is up to you and your travel objectives:

CLOUD PEAK SKYWAY (US Hwy 16) traverses the southern Bighorn Mountains and offers breathtaking vistas of distant snowcapped peaks along its 45 mile length. This route connects the towns of Buffalo and Tensleep, Wyoming. Highlights include Hospital Hill, Powder Pass, Meadow Lark Lake and Tensleep Canyon. Open year around.

BIGHORN SCENIC BYWAY (US Hwy 14) connects Sheridan and surrounding communities with Greybull, Wyoming and includes 45 miles of scenic mountain driving. Look out over spectacular valley views from one of several roadside turnouts — on a clear day, you can see forever. Interesting stops include Shell Falls, Burgess Junction Visitor Center and Sand Turn. Open year around.

The MEDICINE WHEEL PASSAGE (US 14A) rises sharply from the Bighorn Basin near the city of Lovell and travels 25 miles through high alpine meadows to Burgess Junction, where it intersects with the Bighorn Scenic Byway

Bud Love Winter Range (1-2 hours) On this tour, there is some of the most scenic mountain views imaginable of the Bighorns. As it traverses a wildlife reserve, expect to see white tail deer, mule deer, antelope, wild turkey and other game birds, as well as elk in the winter months.

Fort Phil Kearny (1/2 to a full day tour) Relive some of the West’s legendary history on this tour of where some of the fiercest fighting between Native Americans and the U.S. Calvary took place. The highlight of this tour is the Fort Phil Kearny historic site, which has a visitor’s center and museum with outstanding displays of battle scenes and local history. Go further down Wyoming 193 to Story to visit the site of the Wagon Box Fight. Retrace your steps and as you come to Highway 87, turn left to the Fetterman Monument and historic walk where you can trace the movements of both sides in this tragic battle.

Dry Creek Petrified Trees
(1 – 2 hours) A brief drive through Wyoming ranch country takes you back 60 million years on this tour. What will you find? The petrified tree and tree stumps for which the area is named, of course. And you will also find a complete eight station ecological walking tour.

Crazy Woman Canyon
(half day, but NOT recommended for trailers or large RVs) One of the favorite outings for locals looking for a beautiful drive and nice, cool place to picnic in the middle of the summer, Crazy Woman Canyon offers a close up view of beautiful rock formations as it hugs a roaring mountain stream along its way. This tour follows a single dirt lane through high canyon walls and ends with a great view of the surrounding Bighorn Mountains.

Pole Creek and Sheep Mountain
(one half to a full day, but high clearance vehicles are necessary for some sections of this route) This tour provides breathtaking panoramic views of Hazelton and Cloud Peaks, the Powder River Basin, as well as likely sightings of mule deer and other wildlife.

Outlaw Cave
(one half to a full day, but high clearance vehicles are necessary for some sections of this route) This loop tour takes you deep into Wyoming’s Legendary Outlaw Country – the hideout area of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid! Johnson County locals and visitors enjoy the wildlife found on this tour as much they do soaking up the history and tales about this wild bunch of outlaws. Nearby Outlaw Cave is a prehistoric rock shelter and Indian Pictographs are to be found a short distance further along the trail. The Middle Fork of the Powder River is also viewed along this route as well as beautiful panoramas of the red mountain walls, the canyon at the Middle Fork of the Powder River and the Dull Knife Battlefield.

Lake DeSmet & Ucross
(half to a full day) Enjoy the best of both worlds — Wyoming outdoors at its best and a great art gallery on the site of an old stage coach stop. Lake DeSmet was named for the great missionary to the Native Americans of this region. The lake that bears the name of Father DeSmet, whose statue graces the western shoreline, is a wonderful place to fish, picnic, swim or just cool off for a while. There are also great facilities for boating and picnicking. Traveling on you will come to one of the best public art galleries in the region, Big Red as it is known locally. This Big Red barn houses great art exhibits.

May 3, 2015