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Big Horn Range

Big Horn Range

Big Horn Range

Page Type: Area/Range

Location: Wyoming, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 44.30000°N / 107°W

Object Title: Big Horn Range

Activities: Mountaineering

Elevation: 13167 ft / 4013 m


Page By: jimmyjay

Created/Edited: Jan 12, 2006 / Jul 10, 2007

Object ID: 170884

Hits: 24608 

Page Score: 83.86%  - 18 Votes 

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The Big Horn Range is a member of the Central Rocky Mountain Chain. It sits mostly in Wyoming with it's northernmost foothills descending into Montana. The range runs parallel to, but nearly 100 miles east of, the Continental Divide. It is bound on the west by the Bighorn Basin, one of the lowest in Wyoming, and on the east by the start of the Great Plains.

It is the northernmost range in the Rocky Mountain chain to surpass the elevation of 13,000' (3962m).

The defining feature of the range is Cloud Peak. The crest of the range is managed as the Cloud Peak Wilderness and it is in this area that backpackers and mountaineers set most of their goals.

Sport Climbing is well developed in Ten Sleep Canyon, along US 16 just west of Tensleep, Wyoming. There has also been route activity on Tongue River Canyon, Story Canyon, and Crazy Woman Canyon near Buffalo.

Zones in Big Horns range from arid desert at the base of the range east of Lovell, to the Cloud Peak Galcier, above timberline.

The range has one ski resort, currently up for sale.


The majority of the alpine peaks are inside the area managed as the Cloud Peak Wilderness of the Bighorn National Forest.

These are the rules and regulations for use of the Cloud Peak Wilderness:
  • Must possess self-registration permit, obtained at trailhead
  • Building or maintaining fire prohibited; must use stove
  • Can not possess, store, or transport any part of a live or dead tree
  • Can not camp within 100 feet of lakes or streams
  • Must leave no objects behind including wrappers, tent pegs, tethers or any trash
  • Can not enter with a group of 10 or more
  • Can not short cut a switchback on a trail
  • Can not possess a wagon, cart, bicycle, or any wheeled device


    All trailheads are reached from either US16 (Greybull to Sheridan via Granite Pass) or US14 (Worland to Buffalo via Powder River Pass).

    Above Powder River Pass, US#16. photo: jimmyjay


    Drier than most Wyoming ranges, there are only a few remnant glaciers with the largest being the Cloud Peak Glacier.

    The alpine rock is a mix of Gneiss and Granite with associated outcrops of Quartz monzonite.

    The rock in the canyons is Big Horn Dolomite and limestone.

    Bighorn Cirque. photo: knoback


    Bonney, O.H. (1977). The Big Horn Range, 3rd Ed.; Swallow Press. Chicago, IL.
    Huey, Aaron (2006). Mondo Beyondo: Tensleep Canyon Rock Climbing; self-published.
    Molvar, Erik (1999). Hiking Wyoming's Cloud Peak Wilderness; Falcon/Globe Pequot Press. Guilford, CT.

    Additions and Corrections

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    Viewing: 1-2 of 2    
    needarealnamecorrect highway numbers


    Hasn't voted

    Although most people will figure it out, the highway numbers are backwards. It should read: All trailheads are reached from either US14 (Greybull to Sheridan via Granite Pass) or US16 (Worland to Buffalo via Powder River Pass).
    Posted Mar 17, 2009 12:31 am
    MarkDaskFront country amenities


    Hasn't voted

    You can get a shower for $2 at the YMCA of the Bighorns, which is located on rt 16 on the east side of the mountains roughly a dozen miles out of Buffalo. Very clean.
    Posted Sep 27, 2009 8:14 am

    Viewing: 1-2 of 2