Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area

Fort Smith, Montana 59035

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area Professional Review and Guide

"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."

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Trail Information

Fort Smith
Nearby City
Several options
Trail Type
4 hours to 2 days or more
Best spring, early summer; April, May, June
Best Times
Montana Highway Map
Local Maps