Trees and Shrubs
One of the most fascinating aspects of Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area are the diverse species of trees and shrubs found in a relatively small area. There are three major groups of plants in the park:
Each of these groups contains trees and shrubs that thrive in extreme conditions.
The Rocky Mountain plant group dominates the central and northern areas in the park. Shrubland in this climatic zone gives way to limber and ponderosa pines. On Black Canyon's north facing (shadowed) slopes Douglas Fir can be found.
At the north end of the recreation area, Great Plains species are abundant. They require greater moisture then species to the south. Most prominently, thick, hardy, cottonwoods line the banks of the Bighorn River.
(Sources include: Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area by Paul Gordon)
Did You Know?
Long before the Bighorn River was tamed by the Yellowtail Dam, the roiling waters through the canyon were feared. During spring snowmelt, the water turned into a raging torrent, a combination of whirlpools, rapids, and eddies. Conversely, the river through the canyon had a reputation for being placid by late summer, when dry heat and lack of rainfall turned it into a sedate stream. More...