This blog post is a bit behind, we have been back to Minnesota and Wisconsin now for a while and we have even pushed off to our fall destinations. It is finally time to close our northwest summer 2021 trip of looping from Minnesota to Oklahoma to Colorado, and Ouray in Colorado, then on to Moab and Salt Lake City, and turning around in Seattle to come back through Glacier of Montana and Wyoming. Total loop mileage when we arrived back in Minnesota was just 100 feet and 1 mile shy of 5,000 miles!
The Big Horn Mountains are a memorable location for us. The first time we were here in July 2018 is when we realized we loved to check out the depths of our US forests but we did not have the vehicle for it. Back then we had to turn around when we were checking out the Big Horn mountains with our RAM 3500 truck. This time we came to tackle the same route and to see what we were missing out on when we pressed back that spot with our much better-equipped Jeep!
Medicine Lodge trail is the access to the ascent up to the Big Horn National Forest and we worked up to the top and came back down on a rocky dirt path labeled “Jeep Trail,” which was indeed very true. That trail led back into the backend of the Medicine Lodge Campground through the valley.
We could have checked out Yellowstone again, or even gone down to the Grand Tetons, but the less traveled Big Horn Mountains are also spectacular on their own merits. We have yet to see any Big Horn sheep here, but in the summer they are lush green and fun to drive the forest roads.
We set our basecamp in Worland, Wyoming, at the Worland RV Park on the North end of town. The present owners have worked hard at upgrading the RV park and they are dedicated to ensuring you have a good stay. Town has a classic Main Street cafe for breakfast and you will find very few fast-food chains here, it is also a fairly small and quiet western town struggling with keeping businesses open. You will be within driving distance to Thermopolis and it is a good stopover when you have made it over the mountains on Highway 16.
To continue East from Worland to Spearfish was just over a half-day drive. We don’t mind taking Highway 16, however, some people may be more comfortable crossing the mountain range on the more Northern Highway 14. Highway 14 is wider and more developed with fewer and more sweeping switchbacks than Highway 16. Both of the highways border the Big Horn US Forest range.
We connected up with some friends in Spearfish and only spent a couple of nights during the peak season at the Spearfish KOA.
We were running about 12 to 24 hours ahead of schedule getting back to Minnesota, we decided to find somewhere that we could stop overnight and get some power. We tried several campgrounds we had on the map and most were full of long-term seasonals. Jason needed to connect to work for some training in the morning and the Lagoon Park Campground in Montevideo, Minnesota, served very well for that. It was a bit tricky to find but the sites were perfectly level for just turning off the engine and not leveling or popping the slides out. We got the last of the non-reservable sites and at $20/night for 50-amp that was a pretty decent bargain. From here then we continued to our ending point where we closed out the loop just 1 mile short of 5000 miles!