Long before the Bighorn River was tamed by the Yellowtail Dam, the roiling waters through the canyon were feared by natives, mountain men and immigrants. During spring snowmelt, the waters turned into a raging torrent, a combination of whirlpools, rapids, and eddies meant that those who braved the waters did so at their own peril.
By the early 20th century, one notorious area near the northern end of the canyon was known as the Homborg whirlpools, named after a couple of German boys who had drowned amid the turbulent waters. Conversely, the river through the canyon also had a reputation for being placid by late summer, when dry heat and lack of rainfall turned it into a sedate stream.
Two To Remember
By the early 20th century, the industrial revolution had come of age. Mass production of engines led to the development of small motor boats. One of these motor boats happened to be the Edith, owned by Grosvenor W. Barry, owner of the Cedarvale Dude Ranch at Hillsboro.
Barry along with his stepson and a friend would use this boat to make a promotional boat trip from the mouth of Trail Creek (Barry’s Landing today) in the southern part of Bighorn Canyon all the way to New Orleans. The trip lasted from May 31, 1913 to August 1st, just a little over two months.
A Last Glimpse
Did You Know?
The power plant at the base of the Yellowtail Dam in Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area has the capacity to produce 250,000 kilowatts of hydroelectricity. The United States gets 5.7% of its total electricity needs from hydroelectric sources. More...