"Through the heart of the canyon" by U.S. National Park Service , public domain

Bighorn Canyon

National Recreation Area - MT,WY

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area was established following the construction of the Yellowtail Dam. It straddles the border between Wyoming and Montana. The dam, named after the famous Crow leader Robert Yellowtail, harnesses the waters of the Bighorn River by turning that variable watercourse into Bighorn Lake. The lake extends 71 miles (114 km) through Wyoming and Montana, 55 miles (89 km) of which lie within the national recreation area. About one third of the park unit is located on the Crow Indian Reservation. Nearly one-quarter of the Pryor Mountains Wild Horse Range lies within the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area.

maps

Official Visitor Map of Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area (NRA) in Montana and Wyoming. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Bighorn Canyon - Visitor Map

Official Visitor Map of Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area (NRA) in Montana and Wyoming. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units and Regions

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Heritage Areas

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) of Pryor Mountains in Custer Gallatin National Forest (NF). Published by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).Custer Gallatin MVUM - Pryor Mountains 2020

Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) of Pryor Mountains in Custer Gallatin National Forest (NF). Published by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).

Highway Map of Montana. Published by the Montana Department of Transportation.Montana State - Montana Highway Map

Highway Map of Montana. Published by the Montana Department of Transportation.

https://www.nps.gov/bica/index.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bighorn_Canyon_National_Recreation_Area Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area was established following the construction of the Yellowtail Dam. It straddles the border between Wyoming and Montana. The dam, named after the famous Crow leader Robert Yellowtail, harnesses the waters of the Bighorn River by turning that variable watercourse into Bighorn Lake. The lake extends 71 miles (114 km) through Wyoming and Montana, 55 miles (89 km) of which lie within the national recreation area. About one third of the park unit is located on the Crow Indian Reservation. Nearly one-quarter of the Pryor Mountains Wild Horse Range lies within the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. The vast, wild landscape of Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area offers visitors unparalleled opportunities to immerse themselves in the natural world, and experience the wonders of this extraordinary place. With over 120,000 acres, one can find an astounding diversity in ecosystems, wildlife, and more than 10,000 years of human history to explore. Bighorn Canyon has two districts that are separated by a three hour drive. To get to the North District at Fort Smith, MT from Billings,take Interstate 90 south to Hardin, MT. Turn at exit 495 onto State Highway 313 to St. Xavier and then to Fort Smith, Montana. To get to the South District at Lovell, WY from Billings, MT, take Interstate 90 west. Turn at exit 434 at Laurel, MT. Turn onto US 310 East/US 212 South. Turn at US 310 East to Lovell. The visitor center is on the east side of Lovell. Cal S. Taggart Bighorn Canyon Visitor Center (Lovell, WY District) The visitor center includes various exhibits and programs ranging from a large regional relief map, to films about the wild horses, canyon/area geology, and authentic historic displays. The Cal S. Taggart Visitor Center is just east of Lovell, Wyoming, at the junction of US Highway 14A and US Route 310. Yellowtail Dam Visitor Center The Yellowtail Dam Visitor Center is on the Fort Smith, MT District and is only open between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Construction of the Yellowtail Dam was completed by by the Bureau of Reclamation. This dam, named after the famous Crow chairman Robert Yellowtail, harnesses the waters of the Bighorn River and turns this variable stream into a magnificent lake. This visitor center offers a variety of displays focused on the building of the dam and the functions of the dam. To reach the Yellowtail Dam Visitor Center, take Montana Highway 313 southeast from Hardin to Fort Smith. Continue straight through Fort Smith and continue on the road (stay left at the fork after Ft. Smith, drive past the government camp, and the Bureau of Reclamation office), continuing up the hill until you see the visitor center located near the top of the dam. Afterbay Campground - Near Fort Smith, Montana - Open All Year! - $15 per night fee ($7.50 with Senior Pass) - 27 RV and tent sites are located on the south shore of Afterbay lake - All sites have fire rings and picnic tables - Composting vault toilets - All sites are back in (not pull through) - There are no RV hookups - There are several hydrants with potable water behind sites 1-17 and across the road from sites 18-27 - RV dump station available across the road near the Headquarters building Afterbay Campground Fee 15.00 The Afterbay Campground is first come first serve. ALL Sites: $15 per night. NPS Senior Pass, Golden age, Golden Access Passport, Golden Eagle Pass, or Access Pass: $7.50 per night. Cash and check only at this time. Please make checks payable to: Afterbay Campground Service. Afterbay Campground upper spots A gravel campground spot with a fire pit and picnic table with trees and afterbay lake in the back. Upper camp spots at Afterbay Campground Afterbay Campground looking toward Grapevine Campground. Campground with lake in the background and Grapevine Campground in the distance. Afterbay Campground looking toward Grapevine Campground. Afterbay Campground Map A hand drawn sketch of the layout of afterbay campground. Afterbay Campground Map Afterbay Campground A gravel road with several side by side campgrounds lining the left side. Lower units at Afterbay Campground. Barry's Landing & Trail Creek Campground Barry's Landing & Trail Creek campgrounds are located on the south district near Barry's Landing, 27 miles north of Lovell, WY on HWY 37. - Open All Year - $18 per night during the summer season (Mid April through October) - 14 RV sites, 16 tent sites - Most RV sites are small for a 28 ft RV or smaller - Vault toilets only, no running water or electricity Trail Creek Campground Fee 18.00 The Trail Creek Campground fee is $18 per site from mid April through October, per night. Only one RV is allowed per site. NPS Senior Pass discounted price is $9 per night. Please make checks payable to: Hidden Treasure Charters. Add 4% for credit cards. Credit Cards can only be taken at Horseshoe Bend Marina (13 miles south). Fee free October through mid May. Barry's Landing Camping A gravel drive through campground with the canyon and lake in the background. Barry's Landing Campground Trail Creek Tent Campground Several small tent campgrounds in the cotton wood trees. Trail Creek Tent Campground Trail Creek RV Campground A gravel road with several well spaced out camp spots along a red rock background. Trail Creek RV Campground Black Canyon Campground Black Canyon is a boat-in-only campground located five lake miles from the Ok-A-Beh boat ramp. - Open All Year - Docks in seasonally (Memorial Day - Labor Day) - 17 tent sites Black Canyon Campground 0.00 There is no campground fee for Black Canyon Campground. Black Canyon Stream Flowing water over rocks Beautiful stream flowing at the Black Canyon Campground Black Canyon dock system and floating comfort station Looking into Black Canyon at the dock system and floating comfort station. Black Canyon dock system and floating comfort station Black Canyon Campground Several primitive tent sites in the foreground with the lake and canyon in the background. Black Canyon Campground Dayboard 9 Campground This small boat in only campground is located at Dayboard 9, approximately 9 miles south of Okabeh Marina. During the summer season (Memorial Day - Labor Day) this location features a courtesy dock and floating comfort station. The primitive gravel campsites include picnic tables, bear boxes, and fire pits. Fee Free 0.00 This is a first come first serve fee free boat access only campground. Dayboard 9 A primitive campground in the foreground with lake and canyon walls in the background. Dayboard 9 Grapevine Campground - Near Fort Smith, Montana - Open All Year! - $15 per night fee ($7.50 with Senior Pass) - 14 RV and tent sites are located on the north shore of Afterbay lake - RV sites are back in (not pull through) - All sites are handicapped accessible, have fire rings, and picnic tables - Vault toilets are accessible - There are no RV hookups - Trash cans available seasonally (May-Oct) - RV dump station and drinking water available across afterbay lake near the Headquarters building and Afterbay Campground Grapevine Campground 15.00 Grapevine Campground is first come first serve. ALL Sites: $15 per night. NPS Senior Pass, Golden age, Golden Access Passport, Golden Eagle Pass, or Access Pass: $7.50 per night. Cash and check only at this time. Please make checks payable to: Afterbay Campground Service. Grapevine Campground Looking down the gravel drive with campground sites on both sides and pit toilet. Grapevine Campground Grapevine Campground looking toward Afterbay Campground A gravel camp site with picnic table and bear box looking through a few trees to the lake. Grapevine Campground looking toward Afterbay Campground Grapevine Campground Map A hand drawn sketch of the layout of Grapevine Campground. Grapevine Campground Map Grapevine Tent Only Sites A gravel road and parking area with several tent sites in some cotton wood trees. Grapevine Tent Only Sites Horseshoe Bend Campground - Located near Lovell, WY - Open All Year - 68 RV and tent sites - 28 sites have water and electrical hook-ups. The water is only available at these sites Memorial Day to Labor Day. The electricity remain on year round. - 3 pull through sites - Modern Restrooms, RV dump station and drinking water are available - Swim beach and picnic less than 1 mile hike from the campground - Horseshoe Bend Marina and boat docks less than 1 mile hike from the campground Horseshoe Bend Campground fee for Utility sites 30.00 The sites with electrical and water hook-ups are $30 (which includes sales tax) per night per site. Only one RV is allowed per site. No discounts apply. Add 4% for credit cards. Please make checks payable to: Hidden Treasure Charters. Fee free during off season (October 30 through mid April 15). No utilities during this time either. Horseshoe Bend Campground Fee for Non-Utility sites 18.00 The Horseshoe Bend Campground fee for sites without hook-ups is $18 per site (includes sales tax), per night. Only one RV is allowed per site. NPS Senior Pass discounted price $9 per night. Add 4% for credit cards. Please make checks payable to: Hidden Treasure Charters. Fee free during off season (October 30 through mid April 15). Horseshoe Bend Campground Map Simple map of a campground's site layout Horseshoe Bend is one of the most popular, and more accessible, campgrounds at the park. Horseshoe Bend Campground Several despersed camp sites on an open desert plain with the lake and red cliffs in the background. Horseshoe Bend Campground Horseshoe Bend Campground from loop B A paved road with gravel campsites disperse in a dessert plain with bright blue sky and a few clouds Horseshoe Bend Campground from loop B Medicine Creek Campground Medicine Creek campground is a boat-in or hike-in only campground. It is approximately 3 miles north of Barry's Landing by land or water. - Open All Year - Lake level affects the proximity of the boat mooring to campsites Medicine Creek Campground 0.00 There is no fee for Medicine Creek Campground Medicine Creek Looking into medicine creek from Bighorn Lake Medicine Creek Yellowtail Dam (Fort Smith, MT District) Summer view of the Yellowtail Dam from the Ok-A-Beh road. Summer view of the Yellowtail Dam from the Ok-A-Beh road. (Fort Smith, MT District) Spring Cactus spring cactus with yellow flowers Spring Cactus Kayaks at Barry's Landing (Lovell, WY District) Four orange kayaks laying with their tips on the red rocks at Barry's Landing. Kayaks at Barry's Landing ready to go. (Lovell, WY District) Bighorn Sheep Overlooking the Canyon Bighorn Sheep Overlooking the Canyon Bighorn Sheep Overlooking the Canyon Devil Canyon Overlook from Sullivan's Knob Trail (Lovell, WY District) Looking up canyon toward Devil Canyon from the rim at Sullivan's Kob. Devil Canyon Overlook from Sullivan's Knob Trail (Lovell, WY District) On The Lake smooth water just south of Barry's Landing A Great Day on the Lake Horseshoe Bend from the Sykes Mountain (Lovell, WY District) Red hills in the foreground with Bighorn Lake in the background with a brilliant blue sky. Horseshoe Bend from the Sykes Mountain (Lovell, WY District) Grand Teton National Park Fire Management Program Transfers Fire Engines to Rural Wyoming Fire Districts Grand Teton National Park Fire Management Program Transfers Fire Engines to Rural Wyoming Fire Districts Fire engine on a trailer ready to be transported NPS Structural Fire Program Highlights 2014 Intern Accomplishments NPS Geodiversity Atlas—Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, Montana and Wyoming Each park-specific page in the NPS Geodiversity Atlas provides basic information on the significant geologic features and processes occurring in the park. Links to products from Baseline Geologic and Soil Resources Inventories provide access to maps and reports. rocky cliffs Wildland Fire in Douglas Fir: Western United States Douglas fir is widely distributed throughout the western United States, as well as southern British Columbia and northern Mexico. Douglas fir is able to survive without fire, its abundantly-produced seeds are lightweight and winged, allowing the wind to carry them to new locations where seedlings can be established. Close-up of Douglas fir bark and needles. Crew Performing Structure Assessments Responds to Wildfire Hot, dry conditions in July 2012 pushed Bighorn Canyon NRA into extreme fire danger and fire restrictions, as well as prompting a severity request and stepped up staffing. Bandelier Wildland Fire Module was sent to mop up a fire near Bighorn Canyon’s boundary. While they were there, the crew conducted thorough assessments on all four historic ranches in the NRA and helped suppress a wildland fire. Their work helps create fire–adapted human communities. A log cabin schoolhouse sits in a grassy field with trees nearby, mountains in the distance. Mastication Treatments Help Protect Unique Riparian Habitat The Big Fork fire started on private land near the Shoshone River in northern Wyoming. It quickly spread through a unique and critical riparian corridor. When the 1,509-acre fire reached Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, firefighters used a recent mastication treatment to prevent the fire from spreading further onto the treasured landscape within the park. The treatment was done in service of the NPS goal to maintain and restore resilient landscapes. Wildland Fire in Ponderosa Pine: Western United States This forest community generally exists in areas with annual rainfall of 25 inches or less. Extensive pure stands of this forest type are found in the southwestern U.S., central Washington and Oregon, southern Idaho and the Black Hills of South Dakota. Recently burned ponderosa pine forest. Series: Geologic Time Periods in the Paleozoic Era During the Paleozoic Era (541 to 252 million years ago), fish diversified and marine organisms were very abundant. In North America, the Paleozoic is characterized by multiple advances and retreats of shallow seas and repeated continental collisions that formed the Appalachian Mountains. Common Paleozoic fossils include trilobites and cephalopods such as squid, as well as insects and ferns. The greatest mass extinction in Earth's history ended this era. fossil corals in a rock matrix Series: National Park Service Geodiversity Atlas The servicewide Geodiversity Atlas provides information on <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geoheritage-conservation.htm">geoheritage</a> and <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geodiversity.htm">geodiversity</a> resources and values all across the National Park System to support science-based management and education. The <a href="https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1088/index.htm">NPS Geologic Resources Division</a> and many parks work with National and International <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/park-geology.htm">geoconservation</a> communities to ensure that NPS abiotic resources are managed using the highest standards and best practices available. park scene mountains Pennsylvanian Period—323.2 to 298.9 MYA Rocks in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park represent vast Pennsylvanian-age swamps. Plant life in those swamps later became coal found in the eastern United States. fossil tracks on sandstone slab Mississippian Period—358.9 to 323.2 MYA The extensive caves of Mammoth Cave and Wind Cave national parks developed in limestone deposited during the Mississippian. Warm, shallow seas covered much of North America, which was close to the equator. fossil crinoid The Precambrian The Precambrian was the "Age of Early Life." During the Precambrian, continents formed and our modern atmosphere developed, while early life evolved and flourished. Soft-bodied creatures like worms and jellyfish lived in the world's oceans, but the land remained barren. Common Precambrian fossils include stromatolites and similar structures, which are traces of mats of algae-like microorganisms, and microfossils of other microorganisms. fossil stromatolites in a cliff face Paleozoic Era During the Paleozoic Era (541 to 252 million years ago), fish diversified and marine organisms were very abundant. In North America, the Paleozoic is characterized by multiple advances and retreats of shallow seas and repeated continental collisions that formed the Appalachian Mountains. Common Paleozoic fossils include trilobites and cephalopods such as squid, as well as insects and ferns. The greatest mass extinction in Earth's history ended this era. fossil corals in a rock matrix Scientist Profile: Andrew Ray, Ecologist Meet Andrew Ray, ecologist with the Greater Yellowstone Inventory & Monitoring Network! Andrew is fascinated by aquatic habitats and wetland plants. Learn about his favorite project studying the unique Crater Lake Manzama newt, and discover how he got to be where he is today. Scientist gestures to something in a fishing net as two people in NPS uniform observe. Water Flow in the Bighorn River near Fort Smith, Montana Daily flow measurements on the Bighorn River near Fort Smith, MT, are recorded from a U.S. Geological Survey streamflow gage. Most recent discharge results are presented here. A river flowing through an arid landscape Bighorn River Water Quality near Fort Smith, Montana Each year, we collect water from across the entire width of the river and at multiple depths to test for chemical and metal components. We also collect core water quality measurements, including water temperature, dissolved oxygen, conductance, pH, and turbidity. A person standing in a river holding a bottle on a pole under water to collect river samples Water Quality Criteria for the Bighorn River near Fort Smith, Montana, and Additional Water Quality Information Links Links to federal and state water quality standards that apply to the Bighorn River near Fort Smith, MT, and other related links. A river flowing through a snowy landscape containing some shrubs and a few bare trees. Series: Water Resources Monitoring in the Bighorn River near Fort Smith, Montana The Greater Yellowstone Network monitors water quality and analyzes river discharge in the Bighorn River near Fort Smith, MT, each year. This sampling location in Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area is just downstream of the Yellowtail Afterbay Dam. Water quality is relatively good at this location. We will update this site each year as new information is collected. Two boats on the side of a blue river lined by green plants and a few trees Monitoring Methods for the Bighorn River near Fort Smith, Montana The Greater Yellowstone Inventory and Monitoring Network monitors water resources in parks, including the Bighorn River near Fort Smith, MT, in Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. This long-term monitoring is based on peer-reviewed protocols. Read about our monitoring methods here and explore the protocols by clicking on the links at the bottom of the page. A person holding a bottle and water quality equipment standing in a river Bighorn River near Fort Smith, Montana The Bighorn River flows from Wyoming north into Montana. It is formed below the confluence of the Wind River and the Popo Agie River in central Wyoming and flows 236 miles to the Yellowstone River in Montana. We monitor the Bighorn River near Fort Smith, MT on Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. A blue river and an afterbay dam.
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area Hiking Guide Experience Bighorn Canyon 15 13 14 Hiking the approximately 17 miles of designated trails within Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area is a great way to experience the park. You will be surrounded by the effects of both the distant and recent past. For example, the Hillsboro Trail takes hikers through a historic ranch where Dr. Barry used the recreational opportunities of Bighorn Canyon to create a successful guest ranch, a type of ranch focused on visitors and tourism. Other hikes wander through areas of disturbance, natural and human, that nature has begun to reclaim. Whether hiking to be close to nature, for exercise, or just taking a break, stop and consider the effects of your own footsteps. What will you leave behind? Trail Safety and Tips Bighorn Canyon NRA is a desert with many terrific views. For your safety, please take the following precautions whenever hiking. 12 11 9 810 7 6 5 4 2 3 1. Carry plenty of water, especially on longer hikes and on hot summer days. 2. Wear good, sturdy shoes with closed toes. The canyon trails are rocky and have a lot of spiny vegetation. 3. There may be rattlesnakes anywhere in Bighorn Canyon. Although they generally shy away from people, you need to watch where you put your hands and feet. 4. Do not get too close to the canyon rim. In some places there may be weak, unstable overhangs and winds can become hazardous. 1 5. Don’t forget sunscreen, a broadbrimmed hat, and sunglasses to keep you protected from the sun. 6. After any spring or summer hike, check your skin and clothing for ticks. 7. Stay on the trails; there is poison ivy in the park. Remember, “Leaves of three, let them be.” 8. If hiking alone, let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return. Enjoy your hike and remember to stop and look around occasionally. Sometimes the best views are behind you. 1 1 Visitor Center Pond Description: Easy, Handicapped accessible, 0.26 Miles Round Trip The Visitor Center Pond is located behind the Bighorn Canyon Visitor Center just past Lovell, Wyoming. There is a concrete loop around the pond, which offers a great place to see red-winged blackbirds and boreal chorus frogs during the summer. The pond was originally built to reflect light on solar panels that have long since been removed from the building. The pond is now slowly being reclaimed by nature and will one day become a small marshland. Photo by Virginia DuBowy 2 3 Photo by AIRs Diane Durant & Devyn Gaudet 2 Sykes Mountain Trail Description: Hard, 4.6 Miles Round Trip with 250 feet elevation gain Sykes Mountain Trail is a rugged hike up a desert mountain that directs the hardy hiker to overlooks of Bighorn Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. This is a favorite hike for many but is less enjoyable during hot summer days. The trail begins at the Horseshoe Bend access road sign. You may park in the Ranger Station parking area across the road. Follow the trail markers around the hill and into the first drainage until you see a small game trail. At the rockslide, cross to the east side of the drainage. Here the game trail disappears. Continue to follow the trail markers, making your way upward. At the top, a deep canyon forces you to go east. Follow the ridge to where it begins to bend into a horseshoe. From here follow the trail markers through the shallow drainage to the overlook. There are two hills southwest of the overlook. The taller of the two is called Crooked Creek Summit. For a longer hike cross the juniper flats and proceed to the summit. From here you can see vistas of surrounding landscapes and the mountains that enclose the Bighorn Basin. 4 5 3 Mouth of the Canyon Trail Description: Moderate, 1.8 Miles Round Trip Seldom-seen views of the canyon, as well as spectacular views of the Pryor and the Bighorn Mountains, can be seen from this trail. The deep red Chugwater outcrops are a sharp contrast to the surrounding geologic colors of Bighorn Canyon. To explore the colors and contrasting scenery Horseshoe Bend has to offer, begin hiking at the service road on the north end of loop B in Horseshoe Bend Campground near campsite number B-15. Just before reaching the water storage tank, veer right onto an abandoned two-track. Follow the two-track up and around the hills toward the canyon. When the road disappears, follow the trail markers along the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range boundary fence. From this vantage point, you can see the mouth of the canyon and its union with Crooked Creek. This colorful setting invites one to rest and watch the horses graze below and the birds soar above. You may either go back the way you came along the abandoned two-track road or follow the trail through a juniper-lined draw to the top of the ridge and back to the road. Please stay on the trail to help preserve the cryptobiotic soil. Photo by AIRs Diane Durant & Devyn Gaudet 6 7 4 State Line Trail Description: Easy to Moderate, 1.52 Mile Rou

also available

National Parks
USFS NW