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The Big Horn Mountains

The Big Horn Mountains. (Wikipedia/John David Stutts)

They were called the Shining Mountains by early explorers and trappers, because of their snowcapped peaks. But it was the native Indians in the area that gave them their name. They called the mountains “ah-sah-tah”, which is actually the name given to the animal that was most abundant and native to the land. Bighorn sheep called the mountains home, and the Indians called the majestic mountains the Big Horn Mountains.

The Big Horn Mountains rise and run between the Bighorn Basin to the west, and the Powder River Basin to the east. The range runs along a 120-mile plateau, resplendent with lodgepole pine, spruce, and sub-alpine fir. The peaks are spectacular, many rise above 9,000-feet, with Cloud Peak climbing to 13,000-feet. There are hundreds of lakes and more than 850 miles of hiking trails in the Big Horn Mountains.

The Big Horn Mountains provide a natural habitat for an assortment of wildlife. And it’s not just the bighorn sheep that call these mountains home. There are large populations of black bear, muledeer and white-tail deer, and elk. Moose are not native to these mountains, but were introduced into the Big Horn Mountains from Jackson Hole in 1948.

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