Cloud Peak Wilderness Area was managed as the Cloud Peak Primitive Area as far back as 1932 and runs for 27 miles along the spine of the Big Horn Mountain Range in Wyoming. The United States Congress designated the Cloud Peak Wilderness in 1984 and it now has a total of 189,039 acres. All of this wilderness is managed by the Forest Service.
Cloud Peak Wilderness Area
Cloud Peak Wilderness preserves many sharp summits and towering sheer rock faces standing above glacier-carved U-shaped valleys. Named for the tallest mountain in the Bighorn National Forest–Cloud Peak at 13,167 feet–the Wilderness is blanketed in snow for a large part of the year.
Most of the higher ground is covered by snow until July. On the east side of Cloud Peak itself, a deeply inset cirque holds the last remaining glacier in this range. Several hundred beautiful lakes cover the landscape and drain into miles of streams.
The forest is a mix of pine and spruce opened by meadows and wetlands. The high mountain lakes are the most sensitive to acid rain deposition in the Rocky Mountain Region as monitored and analyzed by lake sampling.
Although rugged in appearance, the Bighorns are actually more gentle than other mountains in Wyoming. The area is now visited each year by tens of thousands of backpackers who hike and horse users who ride along more than 100 miles of trails.
Restrictions for the Cloud Peak Widerness Area
The following acts are prohibited:
1. Entering or being in the Cloud Peak Wilderness without a self-issue registration signed and in possession of the group for each visit.
2. Having a campfire above 9200 feet in elevation (does not include self-contained chemical stoves). Below 9200 feet, campfires must be contained on a fireblanket or within a fire pan or enclosed stove so as not to be directly on the ground. Campfires are not allowed within 300 feet of lakes, streams, or trails.
3. Having a campfire at Lakes Number 6 or 7 in the Seven Brothers area.
4. Gathering or cutting wood (for campfires or other purposes), including branches, limbs or trunk, above 9200 feet in elevation.
5. Camping within 100 feet of all lakes, streams or other free flowing waters.
6. Failure to dispose of debris including camp structures such as hitching racks, tent frames, and pegs after the use period.
7. Exceeding the maximum group size of 10 people or having more than 15 head of recreation stock in any group. Larger groups must split into separate groups which meet the group size limits and must remain a minimum of 1/2 mile apart, even at campsites. Groups may have an additional 2 people in their group over the 10 person maximum party size if a member of the group is trained in “Leave No Trace” outdoor skills and ethics and they have a copy of their certification with them.
8. Exceeding the maximum length of stay of 14 days from June 1 to September 10. Any new location (campsite or area of occupancy) must be located at least five air miles from the previous location. A location vacated after 14 days of use may not be returned to by the same party for the purpose of camping during the next consecutive 14 day period.
9. Camping at sites posted as being closed to camping.
10. Short cutting a switchback in a trail.
11. Using a wagon, cart, wheelbarrow, bicycle, and other vehicles (including game carts).
The following acts are prohibited:
1. Hitching, tethering, restraining or hobbling a horse or other saddle or pack animal to a live tree, except while loading or unloading.
2. Hitching, tethering, restraining or hobbling a horse or other pack animal within 100 feet of lakes or streams, except when loading or unloading.
3. Having more than 15 head of recreation stock in any group.
4. Having non-weed free feed. All feed including hay, hay cubes, straw, grain or other crop or mulch products must be certified weed free. Bales, containers, or sacks must be tagged with the proper weed-free identification as required by the product’s state of origin, or you must have the original and current state documents that certify the hay or crop products meet or exceed the North American Weed Management Association or comparable certification standard. This regulation does not apply to commercially processed feed (feed pellets or steamed, rolled grains).
5. Riding, hitching, tethering or hobbling a horse or other saddle or pack animal in violation of posted instructions at Lakes Number 6 or 7 in the Seven Brothers area.