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Medicine Wheel, Lovell

#209 of 649 in Things to do in Wyoming
Must see · Landmark · Tourist Spot
The Medicine Wheel/Medicine Mountain National Historic Landmark is a medicine wheel located in the Bighorn National Forest, in the U.S. state of Wyoming. The Medicine Wheel at Medicine Mountain is a large stone structure made of local white limestone laid upon a bedrock of limestone. It is both a place of sacred ceremony and scientific inquiry. In Native Science these uses are not distinguished as separate as they are in Western science.
The cultural history of the Big Horn Mountains, home to the Big Horn Medicine Wheel, dates back over ten thousand years.
No indigenous people have publicly claimed to have built the Big Horn Medicine Wheel. During negotiations to include the Big Horn Medicine Wheel to the registry for National Historic Landmark and Sacred Site status, the Crow stated that the Wheel was already present when they came into the area. However, the Wheel rests within the Crow homeland, an area given to the Crow by the Creator when No Vitals, the visionary Crow Leader (circa 1400-1600), had his vision of stars descending into tobacco blossoms while he fasted and prayed on the highest mountain in the Bighorns (Cloud Peak). Oral history from several indigenous nations sets the Big Horn Medicine Wheel as already existing, having been built by "ancient ancestors" or "people without iron."
The Big Horn Medicine Wheel is a sacred site to many people of many nations. Although the Wheel was built high above the Bighorn Basin, and the climb up from the basin takes effort, a wide and deep cut ancient trail takes the traveler directly to the Wheel. In winter, when the modern asphalt road is covered in snow and closed for the season, one can still make their way by foot up the old trail from Five Springs Campground. Stephen C. Simms of the Chicago Field Museum, upon examining the Wheel in 1903, astonishingly surmised that the travois trail (road) must have been well-traveled for long periods in the past to acquire its deeply cut edges. The Bighorn Mountains are high above the hot summers of the basin. In 1887, the Sheepeater Elder Aggretta said her people chose to live high in the Bighorns to escape the flies and human conflict.
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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
115 reviews
  • Feeling at peave with the world. Beautiful drive to get there. Perfect weather for an afternoon 1.5 mile hike to see the wheel If u are handicapped u r able to drive to the wheel. Very spiritual...  more »
  • We are interested in the Native American history and this stop has been on our bucket list for some time. Don't let the 3 mile round trip walk scare you as we are not in the best of shape and it was.....  more »
  • This is a very spiritual site. Just amazing. I loved every minute I was there. Be prepared to walk 1 5 miles there and then back. There were plenty of benches to rest if needed. I would recommend to anyone .
  • Very solemn, reverent place. Sacred for the Native Americans who created and hold ceremonies here. At bit of a drive and walk but well worth it.

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