Hiking & Backpacking


Hiking in the Bighorn National Forest can be an enjoyable, rewarding experience. Trails are found along lakes and streams, across grassy parklands and climbing to reach the highest mountain summits. Those listed on the accompanying trail table (20K) are only a sample of opportunities awaiting the visitor.

We encourage you to purchase a detailed Forest Map to accurately locate these trails. The Forest Map can be purchased at any of the Bighorn's District Offices and at many commercial outlets throughout the area. If you wish, you can order a map online. Topographic maps are available through the US Geological Survey or at local sporting good stores.

Take responsibility for a safe memorable trip:

  • Plan ahead.

  • Know your abilities and limitations.

  • Tell someone where you're going.

  • Carry the appropriate maps.

  • Be aware of weather changes.

  • Carry water, food, first-aid kit, and other essentials.


backpacker. Photo by Rob YinglingBackpacking

Backpacking offers freedom to the forest traveler. You become part of a scenic landscape and survive in a primitive environment with few modern conveniences. With this freedom goes an individual responsibility to care for the environment and respect the rights of those you meet along the way. Many areas are experiencing heavy use. Firewood may be scarce. Streams no longer provide safe drinking water. Help protect this fragile resource by following the "Leave No Trace" principles.

If you are planning a trip to the CLOUD PEAK WILDERNESS follow these additional regulations:

  • Campfires, other than a self contained stove, are not allowed above 9200 feet elevation.  Campfires below 9200 feet must be built on a fire blanket or in a fire pan so that they are not directly on the ground or not built within 300 feet of lakes, streams or trails.

  • Possessing or transporting any part of a tree above 9200 feet elevation.

  • Camping is not permitted within 100 feet of any lake or stream.

  • Camping at sites posted as being closed is not permitted.

  • Camping structures such as hitching racks or tent frames must be dismantled after use.

  • Hitching, tethering or hobbling a horse to a live tree is prohibited except while unloading. Keep hitched or hobbled horses 100 feet from a lake or stream.

  • Group size is limited to a maximum of 10 people with a maximum of 15 head of recreational livestock in any group. Groups may have an additional 2 people in their group if a member of the group is trained in "Leave No Trace" outdoor skills and ethics and has a copy of their certification with them. Larger groups must split into separate groups for hiking and camping, and must remain a minimum of 1/2 mile apart.

  • Cutting a trail switchback is not permitted.

  • Possessing a wagon, cart, wheelbarrow, bicycle or other mechanical or other motorized vehicle including a game cart is prohibited.

  • All users must register prior to entry.



Leave No Trace

Following these guidelines helps ensure a quality outdoor experience and protects this resource for future generations:

  1. PLAN AHEAD AND PREPARE - Know the regulations.

  2. CAMP AND TRAVEL ON DURABLE SURFACES - Stay on the trails.

  3. DISPOSE OF WASTE PROPERLY - Carry out all your trash.  Bury human waste in "catholes" 6-8 inches deep and at least 200 feet from water.

  4. LEAVE WHAT YOU FIND - Travel our natural heritage with respect.

  5. MINIMIZE CAMPFIRE IMPACTS - Carry a lightweight stove for cooking. Do not scar rocks. Use dead and down wood only!



The Leave No Trace program is managed by LNT Inc., a non-profit organization located in Boulder, Colorado.


More hiking and biking information can be obtained at the U.S. Geological Survey website.