If you’re planning to see Wyoming, you really want to find some time for Bighorn National Forest. One of the oldest and beautiful open spaces in the United States, it has a history of cultural significance thanks to its storied trails being walked by Native Americans and homesteaders. You will be thrilled by Big Horn’s majesty and natural beauty and the many adventures it has to offer.
Things to Do in the Bighorns
Miles of Trails to Enjoy
Bighorn National contains over 1,500 miles of natural, winding trails. Visitors have the opportunity to explore on foot, by bike or on horseback. The opportunities are so vast the best ways to plan a day is on the Bighorn website. It can help you with the best starting points, like Lovell, Dayton and Buffalo, and how to navigate the trailheads.
Check Out the Cloud Peak Wilderness Area
If your goal is some serious hiking and backpacking, you want to start at Cloud Peak Wilderness. From here, you are going to be able to reach Bighorn’s tallest peaks and some of Wyoming’s most amazing high altitude scenery. Cloud Peak itself is a unique adventure with its highest point at over 13,000 feet.
Lots of Sweet Angling
Considering its broad scope of terrain, mountains and forests, it should come as no surprise Bighorn has a wealth of streams, reservoirs, lakes and rivers. Enjoy them for their simple, unspoiled beauty or grab a reel. Serious anglers won’t have any trouble bringing home dinner in an area filled with brooks, Yellowstone, rainbow trout and more.
Bag Some Game
The mountains and forests of Bighorn are extremely popular grounds for hunters. For seasons and licensing, you should contact the Wyoming Gaming & Fish Department. They can give you all the information you need about the best places to find mule and whitetail deer, elk, moose, coyote, mountain lion, antelope and more.
Sleep under the Stars
Bighorn has over 30 sites for camping sprinkled across its forests. Moving between them would certainly be a way to see as much of the park as possible. Anyone will tell you you’d need more than day anyway. It’s an ideal opportunity for getting away from it all and not only basking under beautiful blue or star filled skies but making wondrous contact with the surrounding wildlife.
A Skiers Paradise
During the winter months, the Bighorn Mountains boast some beautiful snow. There are miles and miles of trails for cross country skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling adventures. Snowmobiles have access to over 350 miles to transverse. Or you can slap on some snowshoes, some gear, and walk until you need to warm up. That would be the time to build a nice fire in a warming hut.
Embrace the Bighorn Way
Wyoming takes pride in its steep culture of cowboy traditions. You can grab all the authentic gear you need, from ropes to saddles to hats and gloves. Ride horses on the same trails taken by the first cattlemen and cowboys that built and sustained Bighorn.
The dude ranch began in Wyoming with the Eaton’s Guest Ranch. Visitors can spend their time in a log cabin and enjoy amazing adventures on horseback that will take them into the farthest corners of the Bighorn. The Paradise Ranch has been around over a century and embraces a rugged lifestyle you won’t find at a summer resort. But don’t think the area’s locked in a time warp. The Big Horn Equestrian Center is a great place to catch a polo match or relax in your room and take in a movie.
Still, the Bighorn is the only place in the world to pound across beautiful landscapes of pine forests and cured grass on horseback. Travel across wide boulder fields to Elk Lake and let your horse refresh themselves while you marvel at the jumble of rocks. There are incredible valleys that will make you forget your butt and knees hurt. You will just be anxious to get back on that horse to see what awaits further along the journey. And there will be more than you can imagine like rocky outcrops, thick forests and mountain meadows.
Plan a Great Trip
With over a million acres of untouched, preserved landscapes, you won’t find a greater bigger-than-life experience. Use one of the primary entrances from the closest towns and expect to leave civilization behind. Immerse yourself in a world of thick pine forests, alpine waters, rolling hills, staggering mountains and breathtaking cliff views that will remind you just how beautiful the world is.
But to truly enjoy it, take the time to carefully research the Bighorn National Forest so that you know what activities appeals to you most. Plant yourself closest to some of the best eats in the area like the Rib and Chop House or the Buffalo Jump Steakhouse. Try to imagine the tastes of good food after a day of adventures on the trails. Enjoy rodeos, music, arts, seasonal fairs and festivals. The Bighorn promises an experience unlike any other destination.
Contact one of Bighorn’s two visitor centers beforehand or stop by after you get there. A courteous staff member will be able to help you plan your trip down to the last detail.
You won’t be able to see it all, but if you plan your trip carefully, you will see as much of it as possible in whatever time you choose to spend exploring Bighorn.
And of course, you can always go back.