Monday, September 19, 2011

Bighorn Medicine Wheel, Wyoming

The Bighorn Medicine Wheel is a geoglyph in northern Wyoming.  That is, it is a pattern laid out in stones on the ground.  This Medicine Wheel has been used for Native American rituals since its construction anywhere from 500 to 1500 years ago.  Access to the Medicine Wheel is limited to a few summer months because of its remote location and 9642' elevation.

The trail to the Medicine Wheel is about three miles round trip, and nearly every step is uphill or downhill.  At this high elevation it can be a difficult walk for some people, but the high mountain scenery is spectacular.  People who have difficulty walking can drive to the site if they can figure out how to get past the log gate.  I walked, but had to leave Linda back at the parking lot.

The Medicine Wheel is 80' in diameter and has 28 spokes.  The four outer cairns align with the rising and setting sun during the summer solstice.  Perhaps the spokes represent the 28 days of the lunar month.  The Medicine Wheel appears to be part of an enormous network of regional prehistoric sites dating back 7000 years!  Note that this photo was altered in Photoshop to remove a rest room and two cars from behind the back fence.

Prayer offerings are still being left on the rope fence all the way around the Medicine Wheel.  After I hiked back to the parking lot I managed to open the gate and drive Linda to the site so that she was able to see it.  And, I got to see it twice.

Montana State University picked up two of these photos and used them in their magazine, "Confluence".  You can see the article and photos on page 11 here:


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you. I'm glad you like this. It was a great experience.