Rock art near Worland, Wyoming. Scenery along the Red Gulch-Alkali Backcountry Byway near Worland, Wyoming. Duck Swamp Interpretive Area near Worland, Wyoming. Scenery in the Gooseberry Badlands near Worland, Wyoming. Dinosaur track at the Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite near Worland, Wyoming.
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Worland Field Office

Red Gulch/Alkali National Backcountry Byway

Red Gulch/Alkali Backcountry Byway 
Red Gulch/Alkali Backcountry Byway 
Red Gulch/Alkali Backcountry Byway 
The Red Gulch/Alkali National Backcountry Byway is a 32-mile scenic drive on improved gravel and dirt roads through the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains. Near each of the two entrances to this historic route you will see a National Backcountry Byway kiosk which provides historical information about the byway as well as road conditions.

The northern access from U.S. Highway 14, is four miles west of Shell. The southern entry can be reached from U.S. Highway 31, north of Hyattville. The route is marked with mileage signs. Milepost 0 is near Shell and milepost 32 is close to Hyattville.  Location map

The Red Gulch/Alkali National Backcountry Byway can be driven from May through October. Even light rains cause muddy, unsafe travelling conditions on the byway. The road negotiates undeveloped country which could be hazardous if traveled by the unprepared. Please take all necessary safety precautions. The road is maintained on an annual basis, however some areas of the road can accumulate several inches of dust. In normal conditions a high clearance, two-wheel drive vehicle can manage the road without much difficulty.

The steep, rugged canyons cut into the mountains along the byway and offer many challenging and interesting hiking opportunities. Among the wondrous sights you may see are hoodoos. These strange, artistic rock formations were carved over the centuries by Wyoming’s wind.

Get Away From It All

scenic view along the Red Gulch/Alkali Backcountry Byway 
scenic view along the Red Gulch/Alkali Backcountry Byway 

Dayhike or backpack into one of three areas nominated for the National Wilderness Preservation System.

The Alkali and Red Gulch roads serve as boundaries for the Alkali Creek Wilderness Study Area, known for its fascinating rock formations.

Superb fishing is common in the dramatic Medicine Lodge Canyon, a part of the Medicine Lodge Wilderness Study Area. Trapper Creek Wilderness Study Area lies a few miles north of the Alkali/Red Gulch intersection and offers an impressive view into Trapper Canyon. This is one of the most spectacular canyons on the western slope of the Bighorn Mountains. Access into Trapper Canyon is very difficult and permission to cross privately-owned land is necessary.

Public land is your land and belongs to everyone.
Treat it with care and respect. 

  • Stay on developed roads and limit travel that would cause ruts in the road.
  • Do not cross private land without the owner’s permission. The Worland Field Office can provide maps and land ownership information. Leave gates as you find them and abide by all signs.
  • Pack out what you pack in. Take only pictures, leave only memories.
  • Report all vandalism.