Centuries-old Medicine Wheel draws many to national forest in Wyoming

For centuries, the Medicine Wheel in the Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming has been used for prayer and vision quests by the Crow Tribe and other Native people.

Visitors come from all over the world to hike up Medicine Mountain to the wheel, a National Historical Site managed by the Bighorn National Forest with guidance from the Medicine Wheel Alliance.

The Medicine Wheel’s origins are uncertain. Many believe it was built by the Sheepeaters, a Shoshone band whose name is derived from their expertise at hunting mountain sheep.

The most common Crow story is about how Burnt Face, a handsome young Crow, fell into the fire while entering his mother’s tepee. Embarrassed of his severely burned face, he left his people to live in the mountains, where he built the Medicine Wheel based on instructions he received in a vision from the Sun.

Red Plume, a Crow chief during the time of Lewis and Clark, found great spiritual power at the Medicine Wheel.

At 9,462 feet elevation, on a clear day the Medicine Wheel provides a view of the Teton Mountains more than 100 miles away. It sits halfway between Lovell and Sheridan, Wyoming, just a dozen miles from the Montana border.

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