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Custer Country Region
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
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Western Meadow Lark
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Bighorn Canyon NRA Headquarters
Fort Smith, Montana   59035-7458
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Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area was established by an act of Congress on October 15, 1966, following the construction of the Yellowtail Dam by the Bureau of Reclamation. This dam, named after the famous Crow chairman Robert Yellowtail, harnessed the waters of the Bighorn River and turned this variable stream into a magnificent lake.

Bighorn Lake extends approximately 60 miles through Wyoming and Montana, 55 miles of which are held within spectacular Bighorn Canyon. The Recreation Area is composed of 70,000+ acres, which straddles the northern Wyoming and southern Montana borders. There are two visitor centers and other developed facilities in Fort Smith, Montana and near Lovell, Wyoming. The Afterbay Lake below the Yellowtail Dam is a good spot for trout fishing and wildlife viewing for ducks, geese and other animals. The Bighorn River below the Afterbay Dam is a world class trout fishing area.

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area is a lesser known treasure waiting to be discovered. It boasts breath-taking scenery, countless varieties of wildlife, and abundant recreational opportunities, such as boating, fishing, ice fishing, camping, and hiking. Bighorn Canyon offers visitors what few other National Park areas can, that of solitude, serenity, and beauty. In the midst of our chaotic world, this is a truly unique quality.
 Hiking Trailyes
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area has several campgrounds to choose from. Use the detailed information below to decide which campground fits the needs of you and/or your party best (Note: all campgrounds listed below are open all year round):

Afterbay Campground: Adjacent to the Afterbay Lake, contains 29 sites which accommodate both RVs and tents year round. Each site is equipped with tables and BBQ pits/fire rings, bear-proof food storage containers, vault restrooms, a boatramp, drinking water and RV dump station. No reservations, hook-ups or showers.

Black Canyon Campground: Black Canyon Campground is a boat-in only campground located 5 miles south of Ok-A-Beh Marina at dayboard 5. The site contains 17 tent sites equipped with tables and BBQ pits/fire rings, bear-proof food storage containers, and floating vault restrooms. Sites available on a first come/first serve basis. Campers must carry out their own garbage. Extremely low or high water levels may make access to the campground difficult. No drinking water or terrestrial toilets available.

Horseshoe Bend Campground: Approximately one mile from the south entrance, is the turn off to Horseshoe Bend. The campground contains 54 sites which accomodate both RVs and tents year round. Each site is equipped with tables and BBQ pits/fire rings. Some sites have shade shelters. Also available are modern flush toilets, a boat ramp, drinking water and an RV dump station. NOTE: During the winter months, facilities are winterized and maybe closed with the exception of the Marina restroom. No reservations, hook-ups or showers.

Medicine Creek Campground: This boat-in or hike-in only campground is located north of Barry's Landing at dayboard 32, in Medicine Creek. Surrounded by junipers, there are 6 tent sites equipped with tables and grills. When water levels allow, a floating vault toilet, boat dock and slips are available at the site. No drinking water available or terrestrial toilet. Campground may be difficult to access during low water conditions by boat.

Trail Creek Campground: Trail Creek Campground, along the road to Barry's Landing, is a picturesque setting for the 5 tent only sites and 7 sites suitable for trailers or tents. Each site is equipped with tables and BBQ pits/fire rings enhanced by a nearby trickling creek and abundant shade. Bear proof food storage boxes and vault toilets are located in the campground. A boat ramp is located nearby. No water is available at this camping site.

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area is

Nature Programs
Junior Ranger Program:

Bighorn Canyon's Junior Ranger Program is a great way for children, as well as their parents, to experience Bighorn Canyon. By completing several different activities, the whole family will learn about the Yellowtail Dam, the history of the area, and the wide variety of wildlife. The Booklets are available at the Bighorn Canyon Visitor Center in Lovell, Wyoming, the Crooked Creek Contact Station, the Afterbay Contact Station and the Yellowtail Dam Visitor Center in Fort Smith, Montana. When the booklets are filled out, the children can return them to any of the above sites to receive their Junior Ranger badge and become an official Bighorn Canyon Junior Ranger.
Area Attractions
NEARBY ATTRACTIONS: National Park Service Areas

Yellowstone National Park, 100mi

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, 150mi

Devils Tower National Monument, 270mi

Other Attractions:

Medicine Wheel - Bighorn National Forest, 307-548-6541, 35mi

Buffalo Bill Museum & Historical Center- Cody, Wyoming, 307-587-4771, 50mi

Hot Springs State Park - Thermopolis, Wyoming, 307-864-2176, 100mi

The Wyoming Dinosaur Center - Thermopolis, Wyoming, 307-864-2997, 100mi

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Nearby Hotels

Plane - Logan International Airport in Billings, Montana for either North or South entrances. Yellowstone Regional Airport in Cody, Wyoming for South entrance.

Private Planes - The 5U7 airstrip in Fort Smith, Montana is unattended and a day VFR airstrip. There are mountains and power lines surrounding the airstrip. It is suggested that with winds permitting take off should be done on runway 07 and landings on runway 25.

Car - North Entrance - Fort Smith, Montana - Take Interstate 90 to Hardin, Montana. Turn on Highway 313 traveling 40 miles south to Fort Smith, Montana and the North entrance.

Car - South entrance - near Lovell, Wyoming - From 14A turn north on Highway 37, continuing 9 miles to South entrance.

Public Transportation - None available.

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Montana State Parks