Wide Open Country

For a Wyoming omni-sport adventure, start here...

Aug 1, 2000
Outside Magazine


The Spot

Upwards of 50 sport and traditional one-pitch climbs (ranging from 5.6 to 5.12) pepper the Tongue River Canyon in Bighorn National Forest near Dayton. Pick your way up dolomite pockets, cracks, or bulges.

Choice Trail
All the routes face south and can get hot in summer. Big Bird (5.9), Edward's Crack (5.8+), and Hang Dog City (5.11+) have roofs that keep the climbs rain-free.

Take Interstate 90 north from Sheridan to U.S. 14 west; go right on County Road 92 and about two miles to a parking area. A trail leads to the crag (don't cross the bridge), about a quarter-mile up on the right.


The Spot

Dozens of remote alpine lakes, reached by hiking along the 45-mile Solitude Loop Trail, are filled with cutthroats, rainbows, and browns.

Choice Trail
At Lake Solitude, eight miles north of the West Ten Sleep trailhead on the Solitude Loop Trail, scores of hooked cutthroats will wear out your click drag.

Four main trails spin off the circuit, but those at West Ten Sleep (70 miles west of Buffalo) and Hunter Corrals (20 miles west of Buffalo) are well-marked and easily accessed from U.S. 16.


The Spot

You won't need ropes or other hardware to explore novice-friendly Tongue River Cave. Experts will want to find 1,403-foot-deep Great Expectations, on the mountains' western flank, but few will brave its infamous tunnel, "Grim Crawl of Death."

Choice Trail
Go deeper into Tongue River Cave for graffiti-free rock formations. You'll need three days for Great Expectations; be ready to rappel down waterfalls and slither through a water-filled tunnel with little breathing room above the chilly, 37-degree stream.

Tongue River Cave: Hike toward the crag in Tongue River Canyon (see Climbing, The Spot, above) and cross the bridge. The cave's a quarter-mile away. Great Expectations: You'll need a local caver to find and unlock its gated opening.


The Spot

The thermals at Sand Turn, a leeward cliff launch at 6,495 feet, carry gliders up 2,000 feet or more over rocky gorges and ravines. A paved parking area has room to assemble at least ten gliders.

Choice Trail
Thermal-sailing along the rock faces shooting up from the Tongue River is best in late morning. The daring will soar up to 11,000 feet and cruise the Bighorns' 40-mile spine.

Follow U.S. 14 west from Dayton for about ten miles to the marked launch at the Sand Turn scenic lookout. Favored landing zones include the football field in Dayton and a clearing at the mountain's base.

Filed To: Fly-Fishing, Rock Climbing, Multisport, Wyoming
From Outside Magazine, Aug 2000

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