Brokenback Mountain Cache

Contributed photo
Contributed photo
Location: Bighorn National Forest, Bighorn County, WY
GPS:   44d 12m 7s    -107d 15m 47s
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 cache is in an area to the right of the split rock, between two smaller rocks and near the ground, at the very far northern end of the ridge. (Reference: 44d 12m 7s, 107d 15m 47s) Update: Sadly, in August 2013 the cache was reported missing. A reward has been offered for its return.

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

It was an inspired act. Wyoming Brokeback enthusiast Dana placed a weather tight container atop Brokenback Mountain shortly after the film became the object of worldwide fascination in 2006. Since then, a diverse community of people have come from around the world to leave something special “up on Broke(n)back.”

Among the many touching items there as of this writing are personal and group photos, notes, letters, poetry, a fishing lure, harmonicas, printouts of website postings, foreign coins, whisky bottles, a soup box, cigarettes, a lighter, name tags, a mug, and various Heath Ledger and Matthew Shepard remembrances. The variety of items, and the creative genius they reflect, beautifully mirrors the diversity and the resourcefulness of the Brokeback community. A logbook records the thoughts, many of them quite poignant, of pilgrims to this spot.

The cache is, in itself, a work of art. It is a powerful focal point of honor, inspiration, and remembrance.

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.

“He used to say he wanted his ashes scattered on Brokeback Mountain, but I wasn’t sure where that was.”

Pictures of surrounding area:












  Revised 27 March 2014