Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bighorn Scenic Byway (Wyoming 14 & 14A)

The Bighorn Mountains in northern Wyoming and southern Montana are a 200 mile extension of the Rocky Mountains.  The Bighorn Basin lies between the Bighorn Range to the east, and the Absaroka Range to the west.  The Absarokas are where you will find Chief Joseph Scenic Byway and of course the famous Beartooth Pass (WY 212).  (Ride along with me in the video below!)

Map of the General Area
There are three highways that traverse the Bighorns and they are all designated Scenic Byways - These include U.S. Route 14, WY 14A and WY 16, which is also called Cloud Peak Scenic Byway.

Overview of Area

The Scenic Byways of The Bighorns

Today we are going to ride 14 from Cody over to Sheridan (Bighorn Scenic Byway), then return.  At Burgess Junction on the way back, we'll take the 14A Northern Branch into the Bighorn Basin into Cody.  This is a great day ride and you can either eat lunch in Sheridan or picnic at Burgess Junction.

US Route 14 is one of the original United States Highways of 1926.  The most eastern part of 14 is in Chicago, Illinois.  The western terminus is the east entrance of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

The Bighorns were uplifted beginning approximately 70 Million years ago.  At many points along the route you can see 2.9 Billion year old Precambrian rocks - some of the oldest rocks on earth.  There is even a glacier on the east slope of Cloud Peak.

Aerial view of the Bighorns
Western Slope of the Bighorns

On your way east from Greybull and shell, be sure to stop at Shell Falls, a waterfall on Shell Creek on the WY 14 section.  The falls are 120 feet in height and tumble over basement rock of granite.  From the visitors center you can see outcrops of the Cambrian sandstone about 500 Million years old. 

Shell Falls
Base of Shell Falls

WY 14 and 14A come together at Burgess Junction, a great place for a rest stop or picnic.  I suggest you continue heading east to get the best twisties on the eastern slope of the Bighorns as you head toward Sheridan.  You will even see many signs on the side of the road describing the amazing geology through which you are riding. Geology students from all over the world come here to study. Take time to pull off and take in the billions of years of earth's formation that are exposed for you. 

When you head back west to Cody, once again at Burgess Junction, take the WY 14A northern branch.  This will let you descend a rare 10% downgrade into the Bighorn Basin.  A thrilling ride!  There are several places where you can pull off and look west into the Basin - a major source of our nation's energy.

My Bike At Burgess Junction Sign
You won't see many signs like this

Jimmy Chance and Family
Patricia on her Wing ready to head down

The Bighorn Scenic Byway offers the two wheeler some of the best twisty roads you will find in the United States.  Plan a day ride, or take the road when traversing the country from either direction, you won't regret it!

Shiny Side Up!  

"Road Dog"

NOW, Enjoy The Video! 


  1. Great video! Beautiful videography and interesting commentary. Well done. I look forward to many more.

  2. Thanks Rodney, a lot of time goes into those 3 minutes, but it is a labor of love. I have about 20 topics sitting here to do, plus I have to make a living. Ugh. Thanks again.