Leave No Trace

Leave the park the way you would like to find it! Learn and follow the principles of Leave No Trace to help keep Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area pristine, both for future visitors and for the wildlife that makes their home in this magical place.

Plan Ahead and Prepare
Choose realistic goals, bring proper gear, learn backcountry skills, know the terrain, and make contingency plans. It’s not only important for your safety; good planning makes it easier to leave no trace in the backcountry.
  • Let someone know your plans. Always let a responsible person know where you are going and when you expect to return. Let them know how long overdue you can be before they should start to worry.
  • Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
  • Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
  • Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
Fragile alpine vegetation is easily damaged and can take years to recover.

  • Camp on durable surfaces whenever possible such as gravel river bars.
  • Your tent must be at least 1/2 mile (1.3 km) away from the park road and not visible from it.
  • In pristine areas within the backcountry avoid camping where others have camped.

Dispose of Waste Properly
Neither pit nor chemical toilets are available in the backcountry. You must follow these rules for proper waste disposal:

  • Pack out all trash This includes all food trash and packaging materials – even things that are biodegradable!
  • Dispose of human waste properly Dig a hole at least 6 imches deep (15 centimeters) and at least 100 feet (30 meters) away from water for fecal waste disposal.

Leave What You Find
Take only memories (and photos!). Do not move rocks or plants. Leave the area as you found it so that future hikers do not see your signs of use.

Fires are not permited in the Denali Wilderness

Respect Wildlife
In the backcountry you are a visitor. Be mindful that you are sharing this place with bears, caribou and other wild residents. Take care not to let your actions impact their behavior or damage their habitat.

  • Observe wildlife from a distance.Do not follow or approach them.
  • Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
  • Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
  • Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.

Be Considerate of Other Visitors

  • Keep your group size small to minimize impact.
  • Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
  • Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
  • Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
  • Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises

For more information on the principles of Leave No Trace, visit the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics

Last updated: February 24, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area Headquarters Office
PO Box 7458

Fort Smith, MT 59035


(307) 548-5406

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