Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area is divided between two districts in Northern Wyoming and Southern Montana. The park offers great camping, hiking, and boating recreational opportunities.
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
We visited Bighorn Canyon NRA in Montana on what turned out to be a cold, grey, foggy day which was not what we had planned at all. We were supposed to go on a scenic boat ride to explore the canyon and learn more about the Ok-A-Beh Marina and Bighorn Lake.
Sadly we were unable to go out on the water due to the fog and weather. Instead, we spent time trying to explore as much as we could. This is a park we definitely want to return to and spend more time exploring.
Bighorn Canyon NRA was established as federally protected land by an act of Congress on October 15, 1966, following the construction of the Yellowtail Dam by the Bureau of Reclamation. The park includes 120,000 acres of wilderness.
Bighorn Lake extends 71 miles through Wyoming and Montana 55 miles of Bighorn Lake is within Bighorn Canyon NRA. The park has spectacular views and world-class boating.
Top Things to do in Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
The Ok-A-Beh Marina is located near Fort Smith, Montana. It is open from Memorial Day until Labor Day throughout each year.
The marina offers fishing and boating supplies, food and beverage sales, pontoon rentals, and safety equipment.
Horseshoe Bend Marina
The Horseshoe Bend Marina is located near Lovell, Wyoming. It is open Memorial Day weekend through early September.
The marina offers fishing and boating supplies, paddle boat rentals, Food and beverage sales including beer, and boat slip rentals.
Horseshoe Bend Marina:
Phone: 307-548-7230 (Summer)
Hidden Treasure Charters Scenic Boat Tours
Hidden Treasures Charters is located at the Horseshoe Bend Marina in Wyoming. They offer scenic boat tours of Bighorn Canyon including a sunset tour and daily 2-hour scenic tours.
- 2-hour tours daily from Horseshoe Bend Marina at 10 am and 2 pm
- Sunset Cruises Friday and Saturday Evenings at 6:30 pm
Hidden Treasure Charters:
To book a tour go to http://www.hiddentreasurecharters.com/
Free Kayak Tours
Both the Montana and Wyoming offer free guided kayak tours from the National Park Service. Check with the visitor center for the upcoming times of tours.
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area has five camping areas with over 100 campsites. Almost all camping in Bighorn Canyon is on a first-come, first-served basis.
There are a very small number of reservable spots available on the south district online only at: https://www.horseshoebend-marina.com/
First Come First Serve Campgrounds
Horseshoe Bend Campground - 48 sites with 19 water and electrical hook-up sites. There are 3 pull-through sites. Modern Restrooms, RV dump station, and drinking water are available
Afterbay Campground - 40 sites near Fort Smith, Montana. 28 RV and tent sites are located on the south shore of Afterbay lake, 12 RV and tent sites are located near Grapevine Creek on the north shore of Afterbay lake. Composting vault toilets, RV dump station, and drinking water available.
Barry's Landing & Trail Creek Campgrounds - 30 total sites located 27 miles from Lovell, Wyoming. The campgrounds have 14 RV sites (most RV sites are small for a 28 foot RV or smaller) and 16 tent sites.
Backcountry camping is allowed on Bighorn Lake below the high watermark of 3640 feet elevation in undeveloped areas.
There are over 17 miles of hiking trails within the park. These trails range from short distances to full-day hikes. You can download the Bighorn Canyon NRA Trail Guide for details on each of the trails.
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area is home to one of the largest herds of wild horses in the United States. Make sure to keep your eyes open while driving in the park.
Bighorn Canyon NRA is home to four historic ranches. Visitors can walk around the ranches and explore the area.
The ranches are:
During the summer when staffing is available the park offers tours of the historic ranches. You can find out more about the historic ranch tours here.
Disabled Access: For those who have a permanent disability and would like to access one of the historic ranches, please contact the front desk at the Bighorn Canyon Visitor Center at 307-548-5406 at least 48 hours in advance to arrange your visit.
Things to know when planning a trip to Big Horn Canyon NRA
Bighorn Canyon NRA is divided into two districts that are approximately 3 hours away from each other.
Cal S. Taggart Visitor Center -Wyoming
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area South District Visitor Center
20 US Hwy 14A, Lovell, WY 82435
The Lovell WY visitor center is open year-round. Cal S. Taggart visitor center in Lovell, WY is open 8:30 - 4:30 daily.
Yellowtail Dam Visitor Center - Montana
The Yellowtail Dam visitor center in Fort Smith, MT is only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Cell Phone Service - Cell phone service in the park is limited and dependent on the carrier.
Restrooms - There are floating docks with restrooms every few miles in the canyon.