Medicine Wheel, Bighorn Mountains.
The Medicine Wheel/Medicine Mountain National Historic Landmark (NHL, designated such in 1970) is a major Native American sacred complex and archaeological property used by many different tribes from times before Euro-American contact to the present day. The NHL is 4,080 acres in size and includes a high concentration of integral natural formations and vistas that are perceived as cultural features, traditional use areas, and associated archaeological sites that include one of the largest stone medicine wheels in North America. (https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/bighorn/home/?cid=fseprd521531 ).
None noted. Visitors are expected to walk on the road from the lower parking lot and Interpreter’s cabin to the Medicine Wheel, which is roughly 1.5 miles each way (3 miles total). Physically-challenged individuals may drive or be driven to the small parking area next to the Medicine Wheel. Please contact the Medicine Wheel Ranger District to make a request. Restroom facilities are located in the parking lot. Please bring your own water bottle and snacks.
Suggested Spiritual Practices
History of the Site
Medicine Wheel, at 9,640 feet in elevation, is located in the Bighorn National Forest in Big Horn County in north-central Wyoming, just 12 miles south of the Montana border. The nearest town, Lovell, WY, lies 25 miles to the west and Sheridan is 75 miles to the east. The Medicine Wheel is normally accessible from mid to late June through mid-September. This all depends on snow. Check WYDOT and the Medicine Wheel Ranger District in Greybull. The NHL is managed by the Bighorn National Forest under a signed Historic Preservation Plan. Formal Signatory consulting parties include the Medicine Wheel Alliance (Tribal), Medicine Wheel Coalition (Tribal), Big Horn County commissioners, Bighorn National Forest, Federal Aviation Administration, Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office, and the Secretary of Interior’s Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.
This is an active Native American sacred site, so please be respectful at all times. (more information is coming from Jessica Reynolds).
St. John’s Episcopal Church, 308 Mountain View St., Powell, WY 82435 (307-754-4000)
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church 1 S Tschirgi St, Sheridan, WY 82801 (307-674-7655)
Camping abounds in the Big Horn National Forest. On the Lovell side, 5 Springs Campground, picnic ground (BLM); Porcupine Campground (U.S. Forest Service); Bald Mountain Campground (U.S. Forest Service). For more information, contact: Town of Lovell 307-548-6551, National Park Service 307-548-6541, or Lovell Chamber of Commerce, 307-548-7552
Other Lodging: Travelodge by Wyndham, Lovell; Cattlemen Inn, Lovell, Western Motel, Lovell; Travelodge by Wyndham, Powell, Super8 by Wyndham, Powell; Wyoming High Country Lodge (https://www.wyhighcountry.com/contact-us) or 307-529-0914 (must plan ahead).
Please note U.S.-14 Alt. is closed at the 5 Springs Campground to Burgess Junction during the winter months, as is Medicine Wheel (late October – Memorial Day Weekend). This is all dependent on snow conditions. So, depending on snow removal, U.S.-14 Alt. tries to open by Memorial Day Weekend. Contact WYDOT for updated information.
From Lovell, WY, take U.S.-14 Alt. for 21.9 miles. You will see signs for the 5 Springs Campground. Continue on U.S.-14 Alt. to climb the mountain. Once you reach the top, look for FR 12. Turn left onto Forest Service Road 12. Travel approx. 1.2 miles to the parking lot for Medicine Wheel. Once you park, there is a U.S. Forest Service cabin that is operated by USFS personnel. There is a 1.5 mile walk on a dirt road to reach the Medicine Wheel.
Medicine Wheel Ranger District, 95 Highway 16/20, Greybull, WY 82426, 307-765-4435 USDA Forest Service, Bighorn National Forest, 2013 Eastside 2nd Street, Sheridan, WY 82801, 307-674-2600