Bighorn National Forest

Cloud Peak Wilderness

On September 3, 1964, the United States did something that no other nation had ever done before. They 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."

The United States Congress designated the Cloud Peak Wilderness in 1984 with the Wyoming Wilderness Act and it now has a total of 189,039 acres. All of the wilderness is in the state of Wyoming.
About the Cloud Peak Wilderness

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 Bighorn National Forest--Cloud Peak at 13,167 feet--the Wilderness 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 forest is 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 and thousands of backpackers who hike along more than 100 miles of trails.
Management of Area

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

It is the intent of this page and associated links that you may learn more about these wilderness areas,

the National Wilderness Preservation System, and what you can do to help preserve these special places.

Wilderness is for your use and enjoyment, but you 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.

Become aware of your impact, and knowledgeable of how you can reduce it.

"Leave No Trace" is an organization dedicated to teaching responsible backcountry practices.

Please visit their site, for which the US Forest Service is a partner. Click on Easy Info.
7 Principles of Leave No Trace


Plan ahead and Prepare

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

Dispose of Waste Properly

Leave What You Find

Minimize Campfire Impacts

Respect Wildlife

Be Considerate of Other Visitors

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

* Campfires, other than a self-contained chemical 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.