About the Forest


The Bighorn National Forest, created on February 22, 1897, is among the oldest of the National Forests. It is named for the Bighorn River, which is fed by streams from the west side of the Forest.

Forest Facts

The Bighorn National Forest is 80 miles long and 30 miles wide.

The Forest covers 1,115,073 acres.

Elevations range from 5,500 feet to a high of 13,167 feet at Cloud Peak.

Black Tooth Mountain stands at 13,005 feet.

The most common tree is lodgepole pine.

The Forest has 32 campgrounds, 3 group campgrounds, 10 picnic areas, 1 visitor center, 2 alpine ski areas, 8 lodges, 2 recreation lakes, 3 Scenic Byways, and over 1,200 miles (1,931 Km) of trails.

The Bighorn River, flowing along the west side of the Forest, was first named by American Indians due to the great herds of bighorn sheep at its mouth. Lewis and Clark transferred the name to the mountain range in the early 1800s.


100 Years - 1000 Uses!

For thousands of years, human cultures have inhabited the Bighorn region, using mountain resources to improve their quality-of-life.

During the 1800s, the Bighorns provided tipi poles, lumber for nearby Fort Phil Kearny, beaver pelts, medicinal plants, and abundant big game. Today it continues to provide recreational opportunities, lumber, summer grazing for cattle and sheep, and clear, cool water.

On February 22, 1897, President Grover Cleveland signed legislation creating the Big Horn Forest Reserve, in recognition of the value these mountains hold for the American people and their livelihood. In 1907, a Congressional Act changed the Reserve to the Big Horn National Forest.  Later in 1908, an Executive Order signed by President Theodore Roosevelt changed the name to Bighorn National Forest.