The Pole Mountain Area of the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest certainly is unique and it is difficult to compare to any outdoor destination outside of Wyoming. The history of this 55,000 acre parcel of southeast Wyoming wilderness is interesting too, because up till 1959 this actually used to be a military training area. Pole Mountain is now a National Forest recreation site that beckons to be experienced, especially by those who wish to escape from the big crowds at the National Parks. Pole Mountain is a place where reservations are not required and there are no camping fees, which will please traditional outdoorsmen to no end!
Horseback riding, hiking, biking or a high ground clearance vehicle are best for accessing this vast recreation area, because not all of the dirt roads are smooth enough for an ordinary passenger car. The deeper you go into the Pole Mountain Area, the rougher the terrain becomes and the same can be said about the dirt roads, especially during inclement weather. Dispersed camping is allowed at established campsites, which usually have a stone fire ring. There are no facilities onsite, so the 100% pack it in-pack it our rules do apply. For those who do not camp in an RV, portable toilets are required for camping on most public lands in modern times.
The Pole Mountain Area terrain is composed of rolling hills, grassy plains and towering granite outcrops that are unique to this region. Many of the hilltops are covered with a wide range of higher elevation trees and many of the campsites are nestled in the shade of tall pines. There are some deep forests to be found, but the grass covered hills cover most of the landscape. In fact, the Thunder Basin National Grasslands are right next door, so the same wildlife found on the open range can be encountered here, which includes deer, elk, Pronghorn Antelope and some mighty big bison. Herds of Bighorn Sheep can also be seen grazing, while moose tend to haunt the the deep woods while the summer temperatures are at a peak. Mountain lions and bears thrive in this region too, so it is best to take precautions and be well aware of the surroundings.
With 55,000 acres to explore, there certainly will be plenty of adventures to experience in the Pole Mountain Area. Popular activities include mountain biking, OHV trail riding and horseback riding. The Pole Mountain Area is a prime time birding and wildlife viewing area, so be sure to pack a good camera for the ride. This is a great place to do some warm weather rock climbing, while Nordic Skiing is one of the popular activities during the winter season. Since this is a National Forest recreation site, seasonal hunting and fishing can be done too. The Pole Mountain Area definitely is an outdoor adventurist's paradise, so be sure to check it out when touring southeast Wyoming!
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