I took my kids hiking north of Gillette Wyoming at the North Entrance of the Burnt Hollow Recreational Area this weekend. It is a huge, about 18,000 acres. with all that space and being in sagebrush country there is all kinds of nature out there.
We regularly go up there. It’s a simple place and nothing special. However there is all kinds of stuff to do. Tall hills to climb, ponds with all kinds of creatures, and bugs. Lots and lots of bugs.
The one and only time I have found a scorpion in Wyoming was at Burnt Hollow. It was under a rock. Kind of scary, but also lots of fun. We have also found all kinds of large spiders.
Another fun thing to do out there is finding Geo Cache’s. It is fun, and just like a modern day treasure hunt. Here is the post I wrote about the first one we ever found.
We usually start at the North Entrance and walk in along an old two track road. The road is now only used by people riding horses, hikers, and mountain bikers. Once inside we choose to go left, right, or straight ahead.
Left takes you to a dry stream bed that is dry most of the year. We follow the stream in a ways looking at all the river rocks and bugs. We found an old pocket knife on the bottom last time we went.
Right takes you to a small hill that is fun for kids to climb or a much larger hill that is a little more challenging. I have climbed it with a toddler on my shoulders, and while it is possible I would not recommend it. I would definitely take bigger kids up the north side of the large hill. It can be too steep for young children. However you get up there keep in mind there is a Geo Cache up there. Remember to sign the book and if you take something remember to leave something.
Straight ahead takes you to an old stock pond. This isn’t the most beautiful body of water you’ll have ever seen. It’s actually quite ugly. Its redeeming quality is the frogs and turtles. Sometimes you can catch them. I would recommend a catch and release policy. The few we have tried to keep in an aquarium did not survive.
Note on Predators
I have seen some questionable tracks. However, with all the people and cattle out there I don’t think there is anything to worry about. Just to be safe I always keep a look out. I have heard coyotes at night, but never seen any. I wouldn’t let small children wander off. Which is probably a good policy anywhere.