Although camping is primarily a summer activity, it can also be enjoyed in the winter months at Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. The campgrounds at Bighorn Canyon remain open, except for the …
Although camping is primarily a summer activity, it can also be enjoyed in the winter months at Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. The campgrounds at Bighorn Canyon remain open, except for the Afterbay Campground at Fort Smith, Montana.
Major renovations at the Afterbay location got underway this fall and although the project has shut down until spring, the campground will remain closed for the winter. Improvements include larger camping sites, which will have both water and electricity.
“It is looking great, but there is still work to be completed in the spring — bear boxes, water connections, picnic tables, fire pits, etc.,” said Bighorn Canyon Chief of Interpretation Christy Fleming. “We are excited to open it in May to the public.”
Across from Afterbay, the Grapevine Creek campground remains open as well as the Trail Creek Campground at Barry’s Landing. Both locations have pit toilets available.
The Horseshoe Bend Campground is open as well but the utilities have been turned off for the winter. Visitors using the campground will need to be self-contained or plan to use the restroom facilities near the marina, as the bathrooms in the campground have been winterized.
Fees at all camping areas have been suspended for the winter, meaning hardy recreationists can stay for free.
The common corrals area, used by ranchers and people camping with their livestock, has been winterized. There is no water available at the troughs so visitors planning on camping or using that area should bring enough water for themselves and their livestock, Bighorn Canyon officials say.
All boat launch areas remain open and courtesy docks at all lake ramps will remain in place until the lake starts to freeze.
“Boaters should also be aware that there is more driftwood than normal for this time of year on the lake,” Fleming advised in a news release.
A new ramp at Afterbay remains under construction, with the project delayed until the end of February due to higher river levels. The ramp extension has been poured and will be pushed in when river levels allow. Fleming thanked anglers for their patience on the important infrastructure project.
Especially with the recent warm weather, “winter can be a great time for all activities at Bighorn Canyon,” Fleming said, “but please remember to plan accordingly.”
She advised to bring water, watch weather reports and dress accordingly, as conditions can change rapidly.