In 1984, Congress passed the Wyoming Wilderness Act, which designated the Cloud Peak Wilderness in the Bighorn National Forest. 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, the 189,039-acre 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 the Bighorn National Forest – Cloud Peak at 13,167 feet – the area 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 area is characterized by 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 of backpackers who hike along more than 100 miles of trails.
The Cloud Peak Wilderness is located in the most rugged portion of the Bighorn range, and serves as a truly wild and rugged destination. With 106 million acres of Bighorn National Forest encompassing 180,000 acres of wilderness, it’s easy to encounter tranquil, secluded streams, and some of the finest fishing in Wyoming. The Cloud Peak Wilderness is one of the finest hiking destinations in America; rock and ice climbing are remarkable; and in winter, the Bighorns become a cross-country skiing paradise. Those wild waters, along with trophy reservoirs and private streams and ponds, provide ample opportunity to test your mettle against a variety of trout.