Battle Pass Scenic Byway

Details

  • DesignationState Byway
  • LocationWY
  • Length57 miles
Dedicated Byway Visitor Information
Discover Carbon County, WY
Statewide Byway Partners
Wyoming Department of Transportation
Wyoming Byways Guide and Map
Battle Pass Scenic Byway

Overview

Journey through the rugged Sierra Madre Mountains of the Medicine Bow National Forest on the Battle Pass Scenic Byway, a 57-mile paved highway that winds through lush pine forests, past alpine lakes, and over the Continental Divide. Discover a landscape steeped in history, from the remnants of mining ghost towns to the site where Thomas Edison is said to have been inspired with the idea for the light bulb filament.
The byway is named after a famous battle fought in 1841 between a group of fur trappers and a band of Native American warriors. Today, the byway is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts offering stunning scenery, abundant wildlife, and various recreational opportunities.
The byway begins in the town of Encampment and climbs steadily westward. To get a more in-depth history of the Encampment Valley and learn the area’s background before heading out, visit the award-winning Grand Encampment Museum in Encampment. As the elevation increases, the trees become thinner, allowing for more expansive views. At the summit of the Sierra Madre Mountains, sits Battle Pass Scenic Overlook, which offers sweeping panoramas of the surrounding peaks and valleys.
Beyond Battle Pass, the byway descends into the Little Snake River Valley, a broad and fertile valley home to a variety of wildlife, including elk, deer, moose, and bears. The byway also passes through three small towns, starting with Savery, Dixon, and then Baggs. Glimpse into the Little Snake River Valley’s history at the Little Snake River Museum in Savery, Wyoming.

Things to do along the Battle Pass Scenic Byway
HIKING:
The Battle Pass Scenic Byway offers access to a selection of hiking trails, ranging from easy walks to challenging climbs. Some popular hiking trails include the Continental Divide Trail, Baby Lake Trail, the Green Mountain Falls Trail, and the Bottle Creek Trail. Fishing: The Battle Pass Scenic Byway is a great location to fish for trout, brookies, and other game fish. There are several lakes and streams along the byway that offer excellent fishing opportunities. If you are looking for a guided fishing trip, explore more at the Discover Carbon County, WY, website: www.wyomingcarboncounty.com/things-to-do/fishing.
CAMPING:
The Battle Pass Scenic Byway offers a variety of camping options, from developed campgrounds to primitive backcountry sites. Some of the most popular campgrounds include the Lost Creek Campground, the Battle Creek Campground, and the Hog Park Campground. Remember to be bear-aware and pack all food in a bear-proof container. When using a campfire, follow the Smokey Bear Fire Prevention Steps: Drown the fire, stir dirt or sand into the embers with a shovel if you do not have water, scrape any remaining sticks or logs to remove any embers with your shovel, continue to drown with water or stir more dirt or sand into the campfire until all material is cool.
WILDLIFE VIEWING:
The Battle Pass Scenic Byway is a great place to see wildlife, including elk, deer, moose, bears, and birds. The best time to see wildlife is early morning and late evening. Remember, these are wild animals and should be viewed only from the safety of your vehicle; these animals are unpredictable and dangerous. For their safety and yours, stay in your vehicle when viewing wildlife.
GHOST TOWNS:
The Battle Pass Scenic Byway was once home to several ghost towns, including Battle, Redefeha, Dillon, Rambler, and Copperton. Discover more about the ghost towns with interpretive signage along the route. These ghost towns offer a glimpse into the region's mining history.
HISTORY:
Rumored to have discovered the idea for the light bulb filament during a fishing trip at Battle Lake, Thomas Edison is honored at the Battle Lake Scenic Overlook with a monument providing more information about this special day in history.
EVENTS:
Each year in mid-July, beautiful antique tractors gather for the Ride the Divide Antique Tractor Drive. These fantastic pieces of historic art start their drive over the Pass at the Little Snake River Museum on the first day then stay over in Encampment, leaving to return to the Little Snake River Museum the next day.

WHEN TO GO:
The Battle Pass Scenic Byway is open during the summer and fall, with the scenery at its peak during this time. The byway closes for the winter due to the large amount of snow that accumulates in the mountains. Visiting in the summer will give the sights of a green ocean as the mountain is covered with evergreens and aspens, and during the fall (September-October) is the leaf peeping time as driving the Battle Pass Scenic Byway will provide you with stunning views of fall foliage! Aspen Alley, only a couple mile-long detour off the byway, rewards the adventurer with particularly stunning views of changing foliage.

GETTING THERE:
The Battle Pass Scenic Byway is located about 10 miles west of Encampment, Wyoming. To get there from Denver, Colorado, take I-25 north to exit 257. Follow US-287 north to WY-70, then turn west and follow the signs for the Battle Pass Scenic Byway.

TIPS FOR VISITING THE BATTLE PASS SCENIC BYWAY
The byway is paved, but it can be narrow and winding in some places. Use caution when driving and be aware of other vehicles and wildlife.
There are no gas stations or convenience stores along the byway, so it is a good idea to fill up your tank in Saratoga, Riverside/Encampment, or Baggs before you start your drive.
Be sure to bring plenty of food and water, especially if you plan hiking or camping.
Wear comfortable shoes and clothing and be prepared for all types of weather conditions in any season.
Respect wildlife and the environment. Leave no trace of your visit. Take nothing but photos and memories and leave nothing but footprints.
The Battle Pass Scenic Byway is a hidden gem in Wyoming, offering stunning scenery, abundant wildlife, and a variety of recreational opportunities. Whether you are looking for a challenging hike, a relaxing day of fishing, a nice scenic drive, or a chance to explore the region's history and culture, the Battle Pass Scenic Byway has something to offer everyone. So, plan your visit to the Battle Pass Scenic Byway and discover the hidden gems of the Sierra Madre Mountains in Wyoming.

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