Bighorn Scenic Byway
Bighorn scenic byway is in north-central Wyoming 21 miles west of Sheridan. It follows US 14 between Dayton and Shell, a distance of 58 miles. US Highway 14 is a two-lane paved road suitable for all vehicles. Temporary closure by snow is possible in winter, otherwise the byway remains open year-round. Forty miles are officially designated a National Forest Scenic Byway.
From Dayton, the Bighorn National Forest Scenic Byway begins at an elevation of 3,926 feet and climbs to over 9,000 feet at Granite Pass. Between these two points, the byway twists and turns up switchbacks as it makes the ascent up the Bighorn Mountains. From Granite Pass, the byway begins its descent of nearly 5,000 feet to pass through Shell Canyon and the byway's end in Shell. Accompanying you for this portion of the byway are the babbling waters of Granite and Shell Creeks. All along the byway wildflowers display their beautiful colors from spring to autumn. Joyful songbirds sing, telling you of the marvelous scenery they live among. Byway travelers will pass through forests of ponderosa pine, alpine fir, Engelmann spruce, and lodgepole pine in addition to wide open grassy meadows and valleys.
Wildlife observers will delight in small and large creatures that inhabit the area. Of the smaller variety are porcupines, gophers, and beavers. Mule deer and white-tailed deer may be seen with elk grazing along rivers and streams or among the grasses of open meadows. Moose, black bears, bobcats, and coyotes also inhabit the area but are more secretive. Bighorn sheep have been transplanted into the area and may also be spotted occasionally. Anglers may want to spend some time trying to pull rainbow, brown, and brook trout from the forest's many rivers and streams.
Be sure to stop and view the beautiful Shell Falls. Walking trails provide closer examination of the waterfalls. An information center here has some information on the area. Stay awhile and read a good book, talk with others, or enjoy a picnic. By all means, take some pictures!
Information: Bighorn National Forest, 1969 S Sheridan Ave, Sheridan WY 82801 / 307-672-0751