Cloud Peak Skyway
National Forest: Bighorn National Forest
Length: 47.0 mi / 75.6 km
Time to Allow: 2 hours to drive the byway.
The 64-mile paved drive, known as the Cloud Peak Skyway, travels through the southern section of the Big Horn National Forest on US Route 16 from Buffalo over Powder River Pass, down the awe-inspiring Ten Sleep Canyon and on to the communities of Ten Sleep and Worland. An ideal route for travelers heading west to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks or on their way east to Mount Rushmore, the Black Hills, and the Badlands of South Dakota, the Skyway offers travelers the least grade across the Big Horns and an opportunity to enjoy the unique beauty of these mountains, as well as breathtaking views of rangeland, open parks, and alpine forests.
The Skyway provides great views of the Cloud Peak Wilderness, Big Horn National Forest , the Big Horn Mountains and the only view of Cloud Peak, the highest peak in the Big Horn Mountains. Numerous turnouts provide travelers with the opportunity to stop and appreciate the views. The drive in the canyon is spectacular, featuring limestone and dolomite cliffs. A parking area at the top of the 9,666-ft. pass allows you to stretch your legs and enjoy the view of the Big Horn Mountains. However, the true identity of the byway can be seen in its multiple-use ethic of the landscape, with sheep grazing, fire management, wildlife, recreation, and wilderness.
For those who tread the less-traveled ways, this Skyway connects to alternative routes on picturesque gravel roads such as Elgin Park (3 miles) and Pole Creek Road (11 miles) which do not require four-wheel drive capability and allow one to exit the main road and re-enter Route 16 further up or down the route.
Travel the Cloud Peak Skyway through Bighorn National Forest and take in the historic sites and recreation-obliging forests that lie within this mountainous region.