Welcome to Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
Hiking the Om-Ne-A Trail and the Yellowtail Dam construction road in the north offer dramatic views of the Canyon mouth. IN the south, trails from the park road the Canyon rim such as State Line, Sykes Mountain, Sullivan's Knob and Rim Loop reveal the sheer cliffs and sparkling waters of Canyon Vistas. Layout Creek trail climbs above the Ewing-Snell Ranch into cooler Douglas fir forest to a refreshing spring.
Wildlife Watching and Birding provides the chance to observe animal behavior. Look for black bear roaming along the lakeshore in Black Canyon. Study the bighorn lambs between the state line and Barry's Landing as they prepare for adulthood by playing headbutting and agility games. Scan the skies over Yellowtail Wildlife habitat for birds migrating through or making this their summer or winter home.
Reliving the Human History allows us to imagine transporting all our possessions over the Badpass Trail hundreds of years ago as we followed the seasonal changes in search of food. Cattle ranching at the Mason-Lovell and Lockhart Ranches was hard work in remote country. Cattle drives along the park road can still be seen as cattle are driven to prime grazing land. Miners cut prospect pits searching for uranium. How did the people change the land? How did the land change the people?
Camping is allowed in developed campgrounds, boat-in campgrounds, and below the highwater mark along Bighorn Lake. Backcountry backpacking is also available although fresh water is limited.
Wayside Guides, Hiking Guides, Bird Lists, and Wildlife and Ranching inserts are available in he Visitor Center.
Stay awhile and explore Bighorn Canyon.
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Welcome To Bighorn Canyon
Just a few miles from here you will find Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, one of the deepest canyons in the United States.
The are is named "Bighorn" after a Crow Indian story that relates the power and wisdom of Bighorn Sheep. Crow Indians have lived in this area for more than 400 years. To them, the canyon, mountains, and the river are sacred. Homesteaders and ranchers have also left their mark in the Canyon. Doc Barry's Hillsboro Ranch was one of the first dude ranches offering adventure seeking tourists a way to experience the "Wild West." Signs of the historic Bad Pass Trail can be found at Sullivan's Knob.
Devil Canyon Overlook offers visitors awe inspiring views of Bighorn Canyon and the surrounding area. Millions of years ago, shifting in the tectonic plates beneath the earth's surface caused an uplifting that now forms the Bighorn Mountains to the east and the Pryor Mountains to the west. Erosion over 65 million years has carved the 50 mile-long Bighorn Canyon between these two mountain ranges.
The Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range in and adjacent to the Recreation Area was established in 1968 as the first public wild horse range in the country. The Range is now home to 140 or more wild mustangs. Other wildlife living in the canyon include Bighorn Sheep, Mule Deer, Coyote, and more than 200 species of birds. The Yellowtail Habitat provides riparian, cottonwood forest, shrubland, and wetlands for bald eagles, pelicans, heron, waterfowl, wild turkeys, songbirds, and many other species.
The beauty of the Canyon is that its mysteries are still being discovered. Take a trip back through time and visit the tipi rings up on Mustang Flats or explore the historic ranches. Camp at Black Canyon, accessible only by boat. Enjoy the wildlife, the views, and the water, but help us preserve them for future visitors. Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints.
Welcome to the beautiful Bighorn Canyon
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A Community of Pioneering Spirit
Jim Bridger, trapper and mountain man brought one of the first expeditions of travelers through the Big Horn Basin in 1864. The basin saw the arrival of the first white settler when Josiah Cook arrived in 1877.
The town was named after Henry Clay Lovell, and influential cattle rancher in the these parts during the late 1800s and early 1900s. The town was laid out and the post office moved three times before settling at its present location.
Cattle ranching and farming built the foundation for the settlement of Lovell, Mormon immigrants engineered and excavated an irrigation network in the early 1900s that provided water to farms throughout Big Horn Basin. Their efforts have made agriculture in this arid land not only possible but very successful.
The last 30 years of the twentieth century brought significant changes to the region. Gypsum and bentonite processing, sugar refining, and the railroad are supplementing the agricultural economy that played such an important role in the settling of the Lovell Township.
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Last updated: August 27, 2017
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area South District Visitor Center
20 US Hwy 14A
(307) 548-5406 is the South District in Lovell, WY.
(406) 666-9961 is the North District in Fort Smith, MT.