With over 1.1 million acres of land, Bighorn National Forest is one of the oldest protected forest lands in the nation. It’s yet another massive area of the sprawling West that should be a must-visit for every regional traveler.
For road trippers, that begins on the forest’s three scenic byways, which offer 115 miles of stunning views. There’s Bighorn Scenic Byway, which follows U.S. Highway 14 across the mountain from Dayton to Shell, Wyoming. Then there’s Medicine Wheel Passage, which follows U.S. Highway 14A from Burgess Junction to the west side of the Bighorns. Finally, Cloud Peak Skyway takes U.S. Highway 16 from Buffalo to Ten Sleep, Wyoming.
The Medicine Wheel/Medicine Mountain National Historic Landmark is a main draw to the Bighorns. It’s an important prehistoric archeological landscape and a Native American spiritual site where tribal ceremonies continue to this day. It’s also one of the largest and best preserved such places on the northwestern Plains. (The medicine wheels are found in Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota and the Canadian provinces Alberta and Saskatchewan.)
For hikers, there are 1,200 miles of trails that traverse Bighorn National Forest. There are ATV trails, too, for those who prefer a quicker trip through the forest.