Off-Roading in the Bighorn Mountains

The Bighorn Mountains are the perfect destination spot for off-roading and nature enthusiasts! Read along for a comprehensive guide to help you plan your trip to the Bighorns!
A roaring waterfall rushing down a canyon
Published on
April 19, 2024

The Perfect Side x Side Adventure

Nestled amidst the towering peaks and breathtaking scenery of the Bighorn Mountains lies Burgess Junction, Wyoming – a haven for outdoor enthusiasts seeking adventure. Imagine cruising alongside crystal-clear lakes, navigating through vibrant meadows, and summiting challenging climbs – all while surrounded by the majestic beauty of Wyoming's wilderness. If this sounds like your kind of thrill, then side-by-side (SxS) riding near Burgess Junction might be the perfect activity for you.

This comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know for an unforgettable SxS adventure in the Bighorn Mountains. Whether you're a complete beginner or a seasoned off-roader, this guide will help you plan the perfect trip catered to you. We'll delve into the exhilarating world of SxS riding, explore the unique appeal of Burgess Junction, and highlight the unforgettable trails waiting to be conquered in the Bighorn Mountains.

Why a Side by Side?

Side-by-side vehicles are off-road vehicles designed to seat multiple passengers side-by-side. They offer a thrilling and comfortable way to explore unpaved paths and enjoy the beauty of nature.  SxSs are generally easier to handle than traditional motorcycles or ATVs, making them a great choice for families and groups with varying experience levels.  Imagine the excitement of exploring the wilderness with friends or family, sharing the experience, and creating lasting memories.

At Bear Lodge Resort, we offer multiple types of SXSs which allow you to customize your trip to better fit your needs. We are a Polaris outfitter so all of our machines are Polaris brand models. This year we have a Polaris General 2 seater which has a half windshield and roof, an Expedition 2 seater which is a fully enclosed vehicle, and an Expedition 4 seater which is also fully enclosed. Lastly, we have a RZR XP 1000 4 seater which has an open style with just a roof.

Why Choose Bear Lodge Resort for Your Side-by-Side Adventure?

Bear Lodge Resort in Burgess Junction, Wyoming, sits at the heart of the Bighorn National Forest, boasting a vast network of designated off-road trails perfectly suited for SxS exploration. 

Once you return from a thrilling SxS adventure come hangout with us in our scenic mountain lodge. Originally constructed in the early 1900s, Bear Lodge Resort embodies the rugged spirit of the Bighorns. Our freshly renovated hotel offers comfortable lodging, tasty meals, and a warm welcome, making it the perfect base camp for your side-by-side adventure. Here's what makes Burgess Junction a prime location for your side-by-side adventure:

Unparalleled Access 

We offer convenient access to numerous trailheads, allowing you to embark on your adventure right from your doorstep. We have direct access to over 300 miles of trails! No need for extensive travel – hop on your SxS and get ready to explore!

Cozy Mountain Lodging

Bear Lodge Resort is the perfect home base for groups of any size. Planning a quick weekend trip with a few friends? You’ll love one of our freshly renovated hotel rooms! Looking to spend some quality time with the whole family? Check out our private mountain cabins!

Exceptional Facilities

Even though we’re located in the remote wilderness, you never need to worry about a thing. We’re an officially licensed Polaris repair shop and our expert mechanics are always here to lend a hand. Many of our team members have extensive knowledge of the local trails and can answer any questions you might have. 

And don’t worry about making a mess. We have on-site cleaning facilities where you can wash off all the mud after a long day on the trails.

Delicious Dining

After a day of adventure, you’ll want to refuel with a heart home-style meal. Lucky for you the chefs at Bear Lodge are working around the clock to make you something special. Want to watch the sunrise in our scenic dining area while you have your breakfast? Be our guest! Maybe you’re in the mood for a perfectly charred ribeye steak after a long day behind the wheel? Well, we’re the place for you! 

And don’t forget to stop by our historic western bar for a drink while you plan the next day's adventure.

All Skill Levels:  

From rolling meadows and winding valleys to challenging climbs and rocky descents, there's a trail for every skill level.

Unforgettable SxS Trails for Every Skill Level

The Bighorn National Forest boasts a plethora of SxS trails catering to various skill levels.  Here are a few popular options to consider, all within easy reach of Burgess Junction:

Beginner-Friendly Trails

  • Bighorn Reservoir Trail: Distance: 5 miles. Difficulty: Easy. This scenic trail, perfect for beginners, offers stunning views of Bighorn Reservoir.  The wide, well-maintained path lets you cruise comfortably alongside the sparkling water, taking in the breathtaking mountain scenery. Keep an eye out for waterfowl and other wildlife inhabiting the area.
  • Black Mountain Loop Trail: Distance: 3 miles. Difficulty: Easy. This gentle loop trail winds through meadows and forests, offering a relaxing introduction to SxS riding in the Bighorns.  The terrain is relatively flat with minimal obstacles, making it ideal for families with young children or those new to off-road exploration. Enjoy the fresh mountain air and the diverse plant life along the way.

Moderate Trails for Experienced Riders

  • Cloud Peak Cutoff Trail: Distance: 12 miles. Difficulty: Moderate. This trail winds through meadows and forests, eventually leading to the Cloud Peak Wilderness Area.  Prepare for breathtaking vistas and a challenging yet rewarding ride.  The difficulty level increases gradually as you climb higher, offering experienced riders an opportunity to test their skills while enjoying panoramic views of the Bighorns. Be prepared for some rocky sections and switchbacks that require careful navigation.
  • North Fork Trail: Distance: 8 miles. Difficulty: Moderate. This scenic trail follows the North Fork of the Crazy Woman Creek, offering a moderate challenge with stunning views of the surrounding mountains.  The trail features a mix of terrain, including open meadows, forested sections, and some water crossings.  Be prepared to navigate rocky sections and switchbacks, requiring focused driving and good throttle control.  This trail rewards riders with breathtaking scenery and a sense of accomplishment.

Advanced Trails for Thrill-Seekers:

  • Freezeout Trail: Distance: 15 miles (one-way). Difficulty: Difficult. This challenging trail traverses through breathtaking terrain, offering experienced riders a true adventure.  Expect steep climbs, loose rocks, and switchbacks that will test your skills and require a high level of experience.  This trail is not for the faint of heart and demands a powerful SxS with good ground clearance.  The reward for conquering this trail is unparalleled panoramic views and the satisfaction of pushing your limits.
  • Red Grade Trail: Distance: 9 (one-way). Difficulty: Difficult. The Red Grade Trail is a renowned route for side-by-side (SxS) riding in the Bighorn Mountains, offering enthusiasts a thrilling and challenging adventure through rugged terrain and scenic landscapes. The Red Grade Trail is located in the Bighorn National Forest, near the town of Sheridan, Wyoming. Access to the trailhead is typically from Red Grade Road, which intersects with US Highway 14 near the town of Big Horn.

Immerse Yourself in the Majesty of the Bighorns

Beyond SxS riding, Burgess Junction offers a gateway to explore the wonders of the Bighorn Mountains.  Here are some additional activities to consider:

  • Fishing: Cast a line in one of the crystal-clear lakes or streams teeming with trout. Enjoy a peaceful afternoon surrounded by nature and try your luck at catching a trophy fish.
  • Hiking: Explore the Bighorn Mountains on foot. Numerous trails cater to various skill levels, offering opportunities to witness stunning scenery, diverse wildlife, and hidden waterfalls.
  • Wildlife Watching: Keep your eyes peeled for the abundant wildlife that call the Bighorns home. Spot majestic elk grazing in meadows, watch for graceful deer bounding through the forest, or catch a glimpse of a bighorn sheep perched on a rocky outcrop. The Bighorns are also the perfect place to observe moose in their natural habitat.

Visit Bear Lodge Any Time!

This blog barely scratches the surface of all of the incredible things to do here in the Bighorn Mountains. With hundreds of miles of isolated and rugged terrain, there are countless opportunities for adventure to be found here. Bear Lodge Resort has direct access to all of these activities which makes it the perfect launching point for your visit.

Now that you know a little bit more about the exciting sport of SxS riding, you’re ready for your big mountain adventure! Click here to book the ultimate side-by-side vacation with Bear Lodge Resort!

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