Brokenback Mountain

Contributed photo
Contributed photo
Location: Bighorn National Forest, Bighorn County, WY
GPS:   44d 12m 1s    -107d 15m 44s
Map / Satellite Image: Google Link

Travel Directions:
Follow US-16 for 17 miles east of Ten Sleep (48 miles west of Buffalo).

Turn Left (W) at the “Deerhaven Lodge” and “West Tensleep Road” signs onto Deer Haven Lodge Road (aka Bower Road, Tyrrel Ranger Station Road, Tensleep Road). Go 1.2 miles to the fork. (Reference: 44d 10m 58s, 107d 15m 11s)

Bear Left (W) at the fork onto Road 24; go 1.7 miles to the Road 411 junction. (Reference: 44d 11m 14s, 107d 16m 19s)

[If you do not have a high profile vehicle, or if you want to enjoy the approximately 2 mile hike on this gentle grade, leave your vehicle here.]

Turn Right (NE) onto Road 411; go 1.6 miles. Stop near the crest of the hill where the rock outcropping, livestock watering tank, and three-post frame are to your left. You’ll find a worn path through the scrub to your right. (Reference: 44d 12m 14s, 107d 15m 57s)

[Again, you can take a high profile vehicle beyond this point but this is also a good place to park and walk the remaining 1/3 mile to the top.]

Follow the worn path upward through the scrub, generally southeast, approx mile around Brokenback Mountain. Within a minute or two you will see the split rock uphill to your immediate right and the telecommunications tower ahead to your right.

The gnarled tree, rock altar, and communications tower are on the opposite (south) side of the ridge. (Reference: 44d 12m 1s, 107d 15m 44s)

Annie Proulx never saw Brokenback Mountain, but that does not mean that you can’t! A decade ago she adapted her short story title from this mountain’s unusual name. Today, “Brokeback” is a household word around the world.

Pick a clear day for your adventure. Whether you drive the entire way or decide to hike the last couple of miles, you’ll enjoy the pristine Wyoming mountain scenery. During the summer months you will encounter grazing Hereford and Angus cattle on Brokenback’s open range.

This area is dear to members of the Brokeback community. Please treat it with respect and leave what you find here for others to enjoy.

Roads (especially 411) may require a four wheel drive / high-profile vehicle. Use caution. Some roads are subject to seasonal closure. Hikers should consult rangers, wear boots and protective gear, and bring ample water. Never leave valuables in a car at trailheads. You may encounter roaming livestock; drive slowly and be prepared to stop. Use caution; wild animal activity is common in this area, and in all mountain locations.

“Brokeback is not a real place. There is, on a map I once saw, a Break Back Mountain in Wyoming which I have never seen, but the name worked on several levels and replaced half a dozen more pedestrian names I had been trying out.” [1]

[1] Annie Proulx interview, Planet Jackson Hole, December 7, 2005, page 12,

Pictures of surrounding area:















  Revised 27 March 2014