Sundance to Ogden Creek Loop

Gilette, Wyoming

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The Sundance Campground and trailhead is located in open grassland at the edge of the Wyoming prairie. Just a few yards to the west, however, the forest begins, so this is a good place to appreciate the diversity of the Bear Lodge Mountains and to do some wildlife watching. Here you will see birds from both the Rocky Mountains, such as western tanagers and mountain bluebirds, and those from the Great Plains like bobolinks and lark buntings. The plants are fascinating as well, as they make a rapid transition from prairie grasses to mountain forests. But even those forests are unusual, in particular for their uniformity. Unlike the evergreen forests found elsewhere in Wyoming with the mix of pines, spruces, and firs, the conifers here consist only of a few scraggly junipers and continuous stands of stately ponderosa pines. Deciduous trees are more varied with different species found at different elevations. Look for bur oak at lower elevations along with hackberry and chokecherry. At higher elevations quaking aspens become more common as does water birch. Wildlife is common throughout the mountains. Some of the more interesting species you are likely to see are wild turkeys and white-tailed deer (both abundant) and Rocky Mountain elk.

Sundance to Ogden Creek Loop Professional Review and Guide

"The Sundance Campground and trailhead is located in open grassland at the edge of the Wyoming prairie. Just a few yards to the west, however, the forest begins, so this is a good place to appreciate the diversity of the Bear Lodge Mountains and to do some wildlife watching. Here you will see birds from both the Rocky Mountains, such as western tanagers and mountain bluebirds, and those from the Great Plains like bobolinks and lark buntings. The plants are fascinating as well, as they make a rapid transition from prairie grasses to mountain forests. But even those forests are unusual, in particular for their uniformity. Unlike the evergreen forests found elsewhere in Wyoming with the mix of pines, spruces, and firs, the conifers here consist only of a few scraggly junipers and continuous stands of stately ponderosa pines. Deciduous trees are more varied with different species found at different elevations. Look for bur oak at lower elevations along with hackberry and chokecherry. At higher elevations quaking aspens become more common as does water birch. Wildlife is common throughout the mountains. Some of the more interesting species you are likely to see are wild turkeys and white-tailed deer (both abundant) and Rocky Mountain elk."

Activity Type: Backpacking, Hiking
Nearby City: Gilette
Distance: 16.6
Elevation Gain: 2,700 feet
Trail Type: Shuttle
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: 2–5 days
Season: May to November
Local Contacts: Bearlodge Ranger District, Black Hills National Forest
Local Maps: USGS Sundance East and Sundance West

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Jun 2018