Bighorn Canyon is primarily a flat-water recreation area with excellent boating and fishing, plus swimming, water-skiing, and scuba diving. There are limited hiking trails and scenic drives.
Fishing regulations are tricky in these parts since the Crow Reservation encompasses nearly all of the Montana portion of the canyon. A state fishing license from whichever state you'll be fishing in is needed, and unless you are certain which it will be, it's best to get both. The visitor center has information on limits, regulations, and fishing conditions.
On the Montana Side
A park ranger can help you find the Om-Ne-A Trail, which stretches for 3 steep miles one-way along the canyon rim. The Beaver Pond Trail is a short trip from the visitor center along Lime Kiln Creek.
On the Wyoming Side
The south side of the park offers some of the more sensational canyon views and is a prime viewing spot of some of the last wild horses to run free in North America. The Horseshoe Bend area, on Wyo. 37, has a full-service marina (tel. 307/548-7230), typically open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Leaving Horseshoe Bend, you'll pass burgundy-colored hills and enter the Pryor Mountain National Wild Horse Range, which has been home to wild mustangs -- the virtual emblem of the West, along with the buffalo -- for more than a century. Sometimes, you can catch a glimpse of a few from the road. If you want more information, there is a new Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center (tel. 307/548-9453; www.pryormustangs.org) in Lovell. Just across the Montana border is the Devil Canyon Overlook, offering a view of the river as it winds through a steep canyon of gray limestone and orange shale.
At the end of the highway is Barry's Landing, with a boat ramp and fishing access, and the focus for most of the recreational opportunities in the southern part of the park.
The self-guided Canyon Creek Nature Trail (.5 mile), which starts at Loop C of the campground at Horseshoe Bend, and the trail from Barry's Landing to the campground at Medicine Creek (2 miles), are the only hikes on this side of the park.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.