Hiking The Bighorn Mountains
The Bighorn Mountains offer a hiker's paradise with their rugged beauty, diverse landscapes, and breathtaking vistas. Located just west of the charming town of Sheridan, the Bighorn Mountains are a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a memorable hiking experience. In this guide, we will take you on a virtual journey through the enchanting trails of the Bighorn Mountains and provide you with essential tips for an unforgettable hiking adventure.
Tips for an unforgettable hiking adventure in the Bighorn Mountains:
1. Getting There
Sheridan, Wyoming, serves as the gateway to the Bighorn Mountains, providing easy access to the trailheads. If you're arriving by air, the Sheridan County Airport is the most convenient option. Alternatively, you can drive to Sheridan from nearby cities like Billings, Montana, or Rapid City, South Dakota.
2. Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit the Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming is during the summer months, from June to early September. This period offers the most favorable weather conditions for outdoor activities, with average temperatures ranging from 65°F to 80°F (18°C to 27°C). During this time, the snow has melted, and most of the trails and roads are accessible. The wildflower bloom is at its peak, adding vibrant colors to the landscape. It's also the prime season for camping, fishing, hiking, and wildlife spotting. However, visitors should be prepared for sudden weather changes, as mountain weather can be unpredictable.
3. Selecting the Right Trail
The Bighorn Mountains have a diversity of recreation experiences, nearly 192,000 acres of wilderness, and over 1,200 miles of trail for visitors to explore. Day hiking and backpacking opportunities abound on the Bighorn National Forest. Grab your pack, water bottle, and hiking shoes and enjoy all of the wonders the Forest has to offer via one of our spectacular hikes. We have interpretive trails, some that overlook beautiful waterfalls. Before embarking on your journey, carefully choose a trail that matches your fitness level and time constraints. We have compiled a list of hiking trails selected for their scenic beauty, relative ease, and convenient access.
4. Essential Hiking Tips and Gears
- Ensure you carry essential items such as a map, compass, first aid kit, plenty of water, snacks, and proper clothing for changing weather conditions.
- Wyoming weather can be unpredictable, so check the forecast before heading out and be prepared for sudden changes. Always remember to have adequate preparation and be knowledgeable about the area, weather, closures/restrictions, and limitations of your body. These tips can help ensure a safe and memorable hiking experience.
- Respect nature and wildlife by following the principles of "Leave No Trace" and leaving the trail as pristine as you found it.
- Consider hiking with a partner or a group, especially on more challenging trails, for safety and enjoyment.
- Hiking with your dog is not only beneficial, but it’s a lot of fun. The diverse trails of varying difficulty levels cater to both you and your furry companion, ranging from leisurely strolls to more challenging treks. Be sure to prepare by carrying enough water for both you and your dog, keeping your dog on a leash to protect wildlife and maintain safety, and packing essentials like dog-friendly snacks and waste disposal bags. Exploring the Bighorn Mountains with your dog not only deepens your bond but also allows both of you to revel in the natural beauty and adventure this stunning wilderness has to offer. That being said, there are several things to keep in mind when it comes to good dog hiking etiquette and staying safe.
5. Wildlife and Safety
While hiking in the Bighorn Mountains, you may encounter various wildlife, including deer, elk, moose. Other wildlife may be occasional black bear, mountain lions (although both are rarely seen), beaver, snowshoe hare, squirrels, birds, and more. To ensure your safety and the well-being of the animals, maintain a safe distance and avoid feeding them.
Additionally, be cautious of changing trail conditions, especially during or after rainfall, as trails may become slippery. Always stay on marked paths and avoid shortcuts that can damage fragile ecosystems.
The Best Place to Stay During Your Hiking Adventures in the Bighorn Mountains
For those seeking the perfect accommodation while hiking the Bighorn Mountains, look no further than Sheridan KOA Journey. Our KOA Journey is a camping paradise that seamlessly combines the spirit of the Old West and the beauty of nature, modern amenities, and endless adventures. The campground has everything you need, whether your trip is a quick weekend getaway or a week-long vacation. It’s also a convenient location between Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone National Park. This KOA location offers Pull-Thru or Back-In RV Sites. Most of our sites are full hookups and every site has 50, 30 or 20 amp service. If you do not have an RV or want a more luxurious camping experience, consider staying in one of our Deluxe or Camping Cabins or even a Conestoga Covered Wagon with a private bath house! If you want a truly authentic camping trip, you can camp at one of the Tent Sites. We also now offer RV rentals through our partnership with RVshare. We also have extended stay and group stay options to get the most out of your camping experience. You can also enjoy your stay here by exploring our uniquely Wyoming gift store, calf roping demonstrations, mini golf, fishing Goose Creek, and our gem mining sluice!
If you want to experience great camping and the spirit of the Old West at the same time, the Sheridan Bighorn Mountains KOA is the perfect campgrounds for you and your family! Reserve a campsite today!