Hiking the Bighorn Mountains

The opportunities in the Bighorn Mountains for enjoyable day hikes are endless – whether the adventurer chooses to follow established trails or blaze their own.

The following is a list of some well-loved hiking trails in the area. A complete list of trails and a map of the Bighorn National Forest is available from the U.S. Forest Service Office located at 2013 Eastside Second St. in Sheridan.

Be sure to check out the interactive map on this website for more hiking and biking destinations.

 

Tongue River Canyon

To reach this trailhead, head west on U.S. Highway 14 to county Road 92 just before Dayton. The trailhead begins at the end of County Road 92 and continues 11.2 miles to Forest Service Road 196.

It is not necessary to hike the entire distance, however. Many locals make Tongue River Canyon a short day-trip to put their feet in the cool rapids of the Tongue River and enjoy the beauty of high canyon walls towering above.

Those willing to trek up the canyon are rewarded with an open meadow filled with wildflowers in the spring.

 

Steamboat Point

A breathtaking landmark in the Bighorn Mountains, Steamboat Point is visible from U.S. Highway 14 and resembles the bow of a steamboat, especially during a fog-filled morning.

Hikers can make the trek to the top of Steamboat Point for 360-degree views of the Bighorns and surrounding valleys. The hike is just under one mile but is a steep climb. Parking is available at the base of Steamboat Point, approximately XXX miles up Highway 14 from the town of Dayton.

 

Black Mountain Lookout

This trail will take you to the historic Black Mountain Fire Lookout built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. The elevation of the lookout is 9,500 feet, and it provides spectacular views south towards Black Tooth Mountain and east towards Steamboat Point.

Black Mountain Lookout is a rewarding but relatively short and easy day hike, clocking in at 1.5 miles from the camping area off of Black Mountain Road. There is a two-seater outhouse at the top before the last rocky jaunt to the lookout.

To reach the trailhead, travel west on Highway 14, turn onto Forest Road 16 (Black Mountain Road) and then head east on Forest Service Road 222.

 

Sibley Lake

This oft-traveled trail boasts two picnic areas, a campground and the lake with fishing and boating access. The trail system in the area provides hiking options in the summer and Nordic ski and snowshoe trails in the winter.

The trail includes several miles for exploration around the man-made lake built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s and also winds into mountain meadows and back to a warming hut west of the lake.

To reach Sibley Lake, travel west on U.S. Highway 14 past Steamboat Point and Black Mountain Road, following signs to Sibley Lake.

 

Bucking Mule Falls

Trekkers have two options on this trail.

An easy, fairly flat 3-mile trail to an overlook of the falls provides a short jaunt primarily in the shade of towering evergreens. This hike to the overlook takes just a few hours roundtrip.

The second option is a more strenuous 11-mile trail that drops down into and out of Devil Canyon. The U.S. Forest Service also recommends this trail for backpacking and horse trips.

The trailhead for this trek has facilities for horses and camping is allowed.

To get to the trailhead, take U.S. Highway 14 west and get on Highway 14A at Burgess Junction. Head west then turn north on Forest Service Road 14, following signage to the trailhead.

 

Porcupine Falls

At one mile roundtrip, the hike to Porcupine Falls is short and sweet – and steep. Hikers should prepare for a steep grade and stairs on this easily accessed and rewarding day hike.

After a sharp descent, hikers will be able to stand almost directly below the towering and tumbling falls, feeling the spray on a warm summer day. The hike can be done in less than an hour and offers a great chance to stretch the legs and move around for tourists traveling through the Bighorns. Just be ready for a steep climb back up.

Access this hike by taking U.S. Highway 14 west to Burgess Junction, getting on Highway 14A and turning north on Forest Service Road 14, following signage to the trailhead.

 

Medicine Wheel National Historic Landmark

While the drive from Sheridan to this historic landmark takes time, the impact of the site on visitors is significant.

Constructed approximately 700 years ago, the bighorn Medicine Wheel is believed to have been built by a member of the Crow Tribe before the tribes that now occupy the area arrived.

The landmark is made of rocks gathered in the area and arranged into a “wheel” with 28 spokes about 8 feet long that radiate from a center pile of stones.

The piles of rocks at the end of each spoke line up with stars to mark important dates in Crow culture.

The walk to the landmark from the parking area is approximately two miles. To find this important piece of Wyoming history, follow Highway 14 west and turn onto Highway 14A. Turn onto Forest Service Road 12 and travel two miles to find the parking area, which also offers restroom facilities.

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