Sheridan, WY— If your plans for the 4th of July include a visit to the Bighorn National Forest, here are a few important safety reminders to help you enjoy the holiday.

  • Fireworks are illegal on the national forest 365 days a year.
  • The Bighorns have many challenging trails for hiking or riding in remote areas. For your safety, check the weather forecast and be prepared for afternoon thunderstorms, lightning, and high winds. Let others know where you’ll be and when you plan to return. It’s important not to exceed your experience level, whatever the activity may be.
  • Cell phones do not work in most areas of the Bighorns, so don’t rely on a cell phone for communication.
  • Please remember that motorized travel is restricted to designated and signed roads and motorized trails. The best way to ensure you’re on a legal route is to get a free motor vehicle use map, available at local ranger district offices and from the Bighorn’s website. Ensure your off-highway vehicle is registered properly.
  • Roads and trails are still very wet in places.  Please respect road and trail closures and do not attempt to drive parallel to ruts or around mud puddles off the route.  This is not only illegal but it damages the land and makes the mud hole and route wider and makes maintenance more expensive.  If it is too wet, return the way you came and try again after it dries out.
  • Although fire danger is low, campfire safety is always important, so never leave a campfire unattended and make sure it’s cold to the touch before you leave.
  • Federal regulations prohibit discharging a firearm in or within 150 yards of a developed recreation site or occupied area and across or on a National Forest System road or a body of water.
  • Wildlife mothers are very protective of their young, so watch wildlife from a distance. Black bears roam throughout the Bighorns and can be aggressive when defending food or cubs. Be bear aware by keeping a clean camp. Store attractants inside a building, a vehicle, or in a bear-resistant container. Carry bear spray and keep it handy.
  • All Bighorn National Forest campgrounds are open. Reservations are encouraged to ensure you will be able to enjoy the holiday at your favorite campsite. Reservations can be made at or by calling 877.444.6777.

We hope you celebrate Independence Day by getting outdoors for a relaxing hike, ride, or camping trip. For more information, contact the Powder River Ranger District in Buffalo at 307.684.7806, the Tongue Ranger District in Sheridan at 307.674.2600, or the Medicine Wheel Ranger District in Greybull at 307.765.4435, or see the Bighorn’s website at

Bighorn National Forest offices will be closed Thursday, July 4.

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