Porcupine Falls

So its been a while, i know, I’m slacking on the posts, but man! has my life been crazy the past couple months! But hey, I’m back! And with a new place for you all to go visit.

Porcupine falls in the Big Horn mountains in Wyoming. People. Do yourselves a favor and get your butts there.

So long story short, my best friend came to visit us in the middle of August. We went four wheeling around the forest here, hung out, had a good time. But i wanted to do something special since it was her first real getaway for a while. Our first thought was to go to Yellowstone, but the more we thought about it, the less we liked the idea of driving 5 hours to get there, maybe spending 7 hours there, and driving 5 hours back, especially when she drove 10 hours just to get here. Also, did i say it was the weekend before the eclipse? No? Well it was, and i had already seen a TON of posts that Yellowstone was going to be PACKED. No thanks. We decided to leave Yellowstone for next time, and make it a weekend camping thing.

Instead we looked closer to home, where could we go within a couple hours that would give us some good views, and some hiking. ‘Cause we LOVE nature. My first thought was the Big Horn mountains right outside of Sheridan, Wyoming. Perfect! Was my thinking. Now i just had to find something to go see and explore in the mountain range. I started googling waterfalls in the Big Horn mountains, and came up with two, Shell Falls, and Porcupine. Our initial thought was Shell falls, we had been told to go there by my boyfriends boss, but the more i looked into it, i kept seeing that they were closed for some reason at the time. So we decided porcupine it was,

We headed out around 11am, we took the back roads to get from where we live to Sheridan, grabbed a quick bite to eat, and then headed toward where he GPS said the falls were. We took the route from Sheridan, up through Dayton, and onward and up on highway 14. It. was. Beautiful. Even though smoke had filled the air from nearby forest fires, the drive up the mountain was amazing, and there are plenty of places to pull off and take pictures. And we did, we even got lucky in capturing two men take off off the side of the mountain and hang glide, which was pretty cool. Would you catch me doing it? Probably not! But it was definitely cool to see.

As we kept going, we found a lake on the way that we pulled off and walked a ways an even found a little creek with a man made waterfall in it. My best friend Amy and i decided to walk out into the creek as far as we could on rocks and logs and take a few photo ops 🙂  Then we walked back to the car and continued.

Once we finally found the trail head (ill tell you all at the bottom of this post exactly how to get there), we had to start the hike. If you are like me and love hiking, i encourage you to download the app “All Trails”, there is maps for hikes all around you! This app also tells you the difficulty, the distance, and shows you pictures people have taken and a map.

At the trail head you will find a map of the hike, and the start is right next to the map. Please don’t make our mistake and just bring one water bottle, bring a good amount of water for each person. This is a “hard” hike according to the app and what people say. Don’t let the less the 1 mile round trip part fool you. The whole way there is nothing but decline, some of it has stairs that use railroad ties, and some of it is just dirt, which can get kind of slick if you don’t have the right kind of shoes. If you have knee problems like i do, i would suggest a knee brace or something of the sort, also a walking stick to help balance you on the way down and back up. The trail is very easy to follow also. Dogs are allowed on this hike as long as they are on leashes, but i seen about 5 dogs there that were off of there leashes, i would say just make sure your dog behaves if you bring them.

Once you get down there, there is not a lot of places to go, you can hike up onto a spot just across from the waterfall, or you can be adventurous like my boyfriend and i were and try to climb to the cave next to the waterfall, i dont recommend this though, there were loose rocks, and it was slippery towards the top since there was a steady stream trickling down from the cave, we stopped about 3 yards down from it and decided to turn back.

My advice? Bring a snack, something light to eat, bring your fishing stuff, relax and enjoy the waterfall and river, i seen plenty of people fishing at the waterfall, and then walking down the river and fishing also. There is nothing more peaceful than spending an afternoon next to a waterfall. (i don’t listen to TLC, i chase waterfalls)

When you are ready to leave, take your time getting back up. The hike going back up is worse than going down, its all incline, and if your not use to the altitude (like we weren’t), it can be a pretty hard hike back up. Again, take your time going back up, enjoy the scenery, rest when you have to, and stay hydrated. That half mile seems like a long ways when its nothing but incline!

The entire Big horn Mountains on highway 14a is something to really see. I highly suggest visiting, if not for one day, a whole weekend or week. We seen plenty of wildlife on the drive, even a huge herd of about 400 elk!

Directions to get there:

As i said earlier, the quickest way to get there is going west through Dayton, Wyoming. It takes about an hour and 45 min (without stopping to site see) from Sheridan. So head up the mountain from Dayton. Stay on that hwy until you get to Burgess Junction, then you are going to want to take Alt 14 (14a). Do NOT stay on hwy 14, this will eventually take you to the Shell waterfall if you want to go to that one though. From Burgess junction its about 45 minutes. You will get off and go north on US Forest Service road 13, this will be a gravel road, that takes you through campgrounds, etc. You will know its road 13 because for one there is a sign saying porcupine falls, but if you for any reason miss that, there will be a mountain across the hwy from you that is called bald mountain. You will know it when you see it, the top of it is literally bald. Also there is what looks to be a weather balloon on top of a hill right to the west of the turn, if you pass that on the hwy, you went to far! Once you get onto the gravel roads, just follow the signs, if you get to a junction in the road and u can either go left or right, always go left. The trailhead is to the North west of where you come in off the highway, it took us about 15 minutes or so to find it.  Note: highway 14 to get to the falls is closed during winter. The best time to go is summer and fall.

Thanks for checking out my adventure! Happy hiking!

 


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