Brokenback Mountain Summit

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)

In a state rich in majestic mountains, how very strange that the most famous one of all is little more than a grassy knob. Indeed, you will have difficulty finding “Brokenback Mountain” on most maps.

Size matters. Or does it? Perhaps you had expected Brokenback, elevation 9,335' (2,845 m), to be more of a mountain. Nevertheless, loyal Brokeback pilgrims have been making the trek up here since 2006. Enjoy the mountain with a group or, better yet, share the perfect peace of this place with someone you love.

While you are here, look to the north and take in Cloud Peak, a picture-perfect 13,167' (4,013 m) snow-capped giant 13.3 miles away. Cloud Peak ranks 20th on Wyoming’s list of 33 mountains that are more than 13,000' (3,962 m) high. Unlike Brokenback, you really can buy a postcard of Cloud Peak!

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.

“Tell you what, I know where Brokeback Mountain is.”

Pictures of surrounding area:

















  Revised 27 March 2014