annie on canyon rim overlooking bighorn lake

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area

Around the Bighorns

After my week in Buffalo hiking and visiting historic areas, I sort of bounced around a few days, spending a little time in Ten Sleep, Greybull, and Lovell.  Ten Sleep had a great brewery that offered $3 hot showers.  Greybull has a pretty good grocery store called Lynn’s Superfoods and the KOA let me fill up my water tank for $2.  And finally, I got some laundry done in Lovell. In the process of looking for shade on this 90 degree day, I ended up at the offices for Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area.

I hadn’t planned to visit Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area beyond making a drive by to see if I could spot any of the wild mustangs on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range.  But after stopping inside the ranger station to ask a few questions, I spent almost a full day at the recreation area.

lost twin lakes

Mirror Lake and Lost Twin Lakes

How to Get to Mirror Lake and Lost Twin Lakes

Mirror Lake and Lost Twin Lakes are located in the Cloud Peak Wilderness portion of the Big Horn National Forest near Buffalo, Wyoming.  The lakes are accessed via Trail #65 from the West Tensleep Trailhead.

There is a large dirt parking lot, pit toilets, and a few picnic tables at the trailhead located at the end of West Tensleep Road.  West Tensleep Road is a very popular camping area.  Free, designated sites line the road and are available on a first come first served basis.  There are also a few basic campgrounds.

So far, the hike to Mirror Lake and Lost Twin Lakes has been my favorite of the season.  It definitely earns FIVE STARS on AllTrails.  Somehow, I doubt it will be topped, but I have many more hikes in Wyoming to complete.

girl and dog at sherd lake

Happy Hiking: Sherd Lake Trail

Sherd Lake Trailhead is located off Circle Park Road in the Cloud Peak Wilderness of Big Horn National Forest near Buffalo, Wyoming.  Normally the moderate, 3.5 mile roundtrip hike leaves from a small dirt parking area with a pit toilet.

Currently, due to all the precipitation in Wyoming, Circle Park Road is closed at the entrance gate off Highway 16.  The closure adds 4.5 miles to the hike, though much of the additional distance may be covered via a connector trail after walking a mile down the road.

the occidental hotel in buffalo

Things to Do in Buffalo

The small town of Buffalo, Wyoming is located nine miles east of the Big Horn National Forest in Johnson County, Wyoming.  It is just large enough to provide all the amenities when exploring the area.  Buffalo features a historic downtown as well as a slew necessary travel businesses on Hart St which intersects with I-90.

Buffalo’s colorful history includes Indian Wars, Cattle Baron Wars, and outlaw activity.  Though it might be best known as Durant in Absaroka County in the Longmire Series written by Craig Johnson, who lives on a ranch in nearby Ucross.  A&E and later Netflix aired a combined six seasons of the Longmire mystery series based in Buffalo and Johnson County.

Things to Do in Buffalo

There are many things to do in Buffalo, from visiting outlaw hangouts, to fishing, camping, climbing, horseback riding, and strolling through the quaint Buffalo Historic District.  Below are a few things you will find when visiting Buffalo.


Grouse Mountain Trail and Ice Caves

My first 24 hours in Wyoming were a little rough.  I drove through two hailstorms. While looking for a camp spot, I got stuck in the mud and had to get a tow from some nice cowboys. And finally, Annie cut her paw and lost her brand-new bear bell on our first hike to Grouse Mountain and Ice Caves.  But, after waking up to a magnificent sunrise, breathing in the fresh mountain air, and spotting deer, pronghorn, and grouse during the first two hours of my hike, I’m quickly reminded why I venture into the wilderness.  #thatsWY

annie on goat hill above raton

Happy Hiking: Climax Canyon Trail

Anytime I come through Raton, New Mexico, I simply just think of it is the place to get gas between Colorado and Texas as there is a long stretch of road without facilities.  Raton, in fact, has more to offer than just gas, particularly its surrounding hiking trails. 

The last time I stopped near Raton for more than just gas was twelve years ago on my first road trip across the USA.  I explored Sugarite Canyon State Park to the Northeast of Raton.  This time, I took Annie to stretch her legs in Climax Canyon Park on the west edge of town.

epic rv journey along america's scenic byways

Epic RV Journeys: Exploring America’s Scenic Byways

Many people ask why I roam the USA, and how I pick my next destination. This guest blogger piece about exploring America’s Scenic Byways in an RV takes the words right out of my mouth. Couple these scenic drives with chasing 70 degrees, and that is how my first year-long journey across the USA began twelve years ago. What perfect timing for this article coinciding with my next road trip through Wyoming. Stay tuned!

Epic RV Journeys: Exploring America’s Scenic Byways

The sensation of having the open road beneath your wheels, the comfort of having your own mobile living space, and the joy of uncovering the hidden gems of America; are the life of an RV traveler. It’s a lifestyle that many have encapsulated as the epitome of freedom. This isn’t just about seeing America; it’s about experiencing America in the most intimate and personal way.

And when you explore America’s scenic byways, the journey becomes the destination. Life on the road is truly an art; every journey is a unique masterpiece. The thrill of the new, the charm of the unexpected, and the delight of returning to your familiar yet always surprising sanctuary on wheels are the symphony of the RV traveler’s soul. It’s about immersing yourself in America’s breathtaking landscapes, vibrant cities, and charming small towns, painting memories with every mile.

So, as you embark on your next adventure, remember – it’s not just about where the road takes you, but also about the stories you weave, the connections you make, and the horizons you broaden along the way. Buckle up, rev that engine, and prepare to fall in love with every twist and turn of America’s picturesque byways. With the freedom of the open road and the comfort of your RV, the world is truly your oyster.

sunset at lake koocanusa

State Sign Challenge: Montana

After spending three weeks in Idaho, I continued to Montana where I spent close to a month.  I didn’t get my state sign shot until I was leaving Montana on the Beartooth Highway.  Montana is known as the treasure state, so I had Annie where a pot of gold while I donned a grizzly bear mask for the state animal.  The eye holes were not conducive to snapping photos, so this is the best I’ve got.  Let’s see your state sign pics (taken responsibly, of course)!


Things to Do in Red Lodge

Red Lodge is a small city located in south, central Montana with a population of approximately 2,200.  It was established in the late 1800’s and relied on coal mining until the Great Depression.  Upon many mines closing, residents turned to bootlegging, selling its “syrup” as far away as San Francisco and Chicago.

The city was linked to Yellowstone National Park after the Beartooth Highway opened in 1936.  This access to the park coupled with the largest coal mining disaster in Montana in 1943, steered the Red Lodge economy toward the outdoors and tourism.

Over time, it’s lovely downtown has been redeveloped, and the red brick buildings donning American flags feature a variety of boutiques, restaurants and hotels. Despite the recent Yellowstone floods which heavily affected the area, Red Lodge is a great little city to visit with many things to do.

lower basin lake

Happy Hiking: Basin Lakes Trail

After spending a few weeks in the Flathead Valley, I moved farther south to Red Lodge, Montana.  Though you can still see many effects from the flood early this summer, the roads and businesses are open, so go support them.

Unfortunately, some of the hikes on the top of my list were not accessible unless I added an additional 8+ miles along a road.  Since those trails were already 10 miles, 18 miles wasn’t in the cards for me.  Fortunately, the Basin Lakes Trail was open, and it was spectacular!