Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area was established by an act of Congress on October 15, 1966, following the construction of the Yellowtail Dam by the Bureau of Reclamation. This dam, named after the famous Crow chairman Robert Yellowtail, harnessed the waters of the Bighorn River and turned this variable stream into a lake. Archeological and historical resources complement the natural scene. About one third of the area is within the Crow Indian Reservation.
Bighorn Lake WY & MT - SW part
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
Bighorn Lake extends 71 miles (114 km) through Wyoming and Montana, 55 miles (89 km) of which are held within spectacular Bighorn Canyon. The Recreation Area straddles the northern Wyoming and southern Montana borders. There are two visitor centers and other developed facilities; one in Fort Smith, Montana, and one near Lovell, Wyoming. The Afterbay Lake below the Yellowtail Dam is a good spot for trout fishing and wildlife viewing for ducks, geese, and other animals. The Bighorn River below the Afterbay Dam is a world class trout fishing area. North of Lovell, there is a spot where one can stand on the canyon rim, shout, and hear a "triple echo." Bighorn Canyon NRA has four historical ranches within its boundaries. The Lockhart Ranch was owned by Caroline Lockhart who was a famous journalist and novelist in the early 1900s. Two of her books were made into silent films in the 1920s. The Mason-Lovell Ranch was operating during the Open Range days of the 1880s, and the ranch once had 25,000 cattle roaming the entire Bighorn Basin. The Hillsboro Ranch was a dude ranch where people came to vacation. President Teddy Roosevelt was a visitor once. The Ewing-Snell Ranch is a former family ranch that was started by Erastus Ewing. Erastus came west to get rich in gold mining, but the gold fields yielded little gold. Erastus became a rancher instead.