Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area

Fort Smith, Montana

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Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area consists of three components: the seventy-one-mile reservoir created when Yellowtail Dam was constructed at Fort Smith, Montana, in 1964; the canyon; and the rough terrain that surrounds the canyon and lake. Bighorn Lake is named, as are the canyon and river, for the bighorn sheep that inhabit the region. The canyon is a geologic marvel that was formed as the Bighorn River carved a natural meander through limestone layers over thousands of years. Reminiscent of the Grand Canyon and Canyonlands country, though smaller in scale, Bighorn Canyon has steep-walled cliffs reaching more than 1,000 feet above the lake surface. General Information: French fur trader Francois Laroque was probably the first white European explorer to float through Bighorn Canyon in 1805. Famed mountainman Jim Bridger claimed to have rafted through the dangerous rapids of Bighorn Canyon during the 1825 Ashley fur trading expedition. This eTrail provides detailed information on birding strategies for this specific location, the specialty birds and other key birds you might see, directions to each birding spot, and helpful general information.
Birding Montana

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Birding Montana

by Terry McEneaney (Falcon Guides)

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area consists of three components: the seventy-one-mile reservoir created when Yellowtail Dam was constructed at Fort Smith, Montana, in 1964; the canyon; and the rough terrain that surrounds the canyon and lake. Bighorn Lake is named, as are the canyon and river, for the bighorn sheep that inhabit the region. The canyon is a geologic marvel that was formed as the Bighorn River carved a natural meander through limestone layers over thousands of years. Reminiscent of the Grand Canyon and Canyonlands country, though smaller in scale, Bighorn Canyon has steep-walled cliffs reaching more than 1,000 feet above the lake surface.

General Information: French fur trader Francois Laroque was probably the first white European explorer to float through Bighorn Canyon in 1805. Famed mountainman Jim Bridger claimed to have rafted through the dangerous rapids of Bighorn Canyon during the 1825 Ashley fur trading expedition. This eTrail provides detailed information on birding strategies for this specific location, the specialty birds and other key birds you might see, directions to each birding spot, and helpful general information.

©  Terry McEneaney/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Birding
Nearby City: Fort Smith
Trail Type: Several options
Duration: 4 hours to 2 days or more
Best Times: Best spring, early summer; April, May, June
Local Maps: Montana Highway Map
Driving Directions: Directions to Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area

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Apr 2018