Cloud Peak Wilderness

Photo showing Cloud Peak in the background

In 1964, the United States Congress did something no other nation had ever done before: it created the Wilderness Act. 

The Act states,"In order to assure that an increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement and growing mechanization, does not occupy and modify all areas within the United States... leaving no lands designated for preservation and protection in their natural condition, it is hereby declared to be the policy of the Congress to secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness."

About the Cloud Peak Wilderness

In 1984, Congress passed the Wyoming Wilderness Act, which designated the Cloud Peak Wilderness in the Bighorn National Forest.

Long recognized as having some of the most majestic alpine scenery in America, this region was managed as the Cloud Peak Primitive Area as far back as 1932. For 27 miles along the spine of the Bighorn Mountain Range, Cloud Peak Wilderness preserves many sharp summits and towering sheer rock faces standing above glacier-carved, U-shaped valleys.

Named for the tallest mountain in the Bighorn National Forest - Cloud Peak at 13,167 feet - the area is blanketed in snow for a large part of the year. Most of the higher ground doesn't show bare ground until July.

On the east side of Cloud Peak itself, a deeply inset cirque holds the last remaining glacier in this range. Several hundred beautiful lakes cover the landscape and drain into miles of streams. The area is characterized by an attractive mix of pine and spruce opened by meadows and wetlands.

Although rugged in appearance, the Bighorns are actually more gentle than other mountains in Wyoming. The area is visited each year by thousands of backpackers who hike along more than 100 miles of trails.

Management of wilderness

Important: Anyone entering the Cloud Peak Wilderness is required to complete and submit a registration form. Use the links on the right side of this page for additional information about registration, a registration form, and regulations specific to the Cloud Peak Wilderness.

Unless otherwise specified, no motorized or mechanized use is allowed (this includes bicycles). This is true for all federal lands managed as designated wilderness.

Wilderness is for your use and enjoyment, but we all have an obligation to leave it unimpaired for future generations.Please understand your responsibilities when visiting these areas. Leave them as you wish to find them.

The National Wilderness Preservation System website describes what you can do to help preserve these special places.

Leave No Trace is an organization dedicated to teaching responsible back country practices.