National Historic Landmark
Medicine Wheel National Historic Landmark
Medicine Wheel Ranger District
604 East Main
Lovell, Wyoming 82431
Located near the top of a mountain in Wyoming is the Medicine Wheel, a large geoglyph measuring approximately 80 feet in diameter. The Medicine Wheel sits above the tree line on Medicine Mountain. From the Wheel a magnificent view of distant, high peaks and the vastness of the Big Horn Basin can be seen below. This is a sacred site, an historic site, and an archaeological site.
The Medicine Wheel was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970. It was probably constructed between 1,200 and 1,700 A.D. It is approximately 245 feet in circumference with a central cairn, a small donut-shaped structure. From the central cairn 28 spokes radiate to the outer rim of the circle. Placed at varying intervals around the rim are six smaller cairns. Five of the peripheral cairns touch the outer rim. One is located approximately ten feet outside of the circle. Of these six cairns, four face the center of the circle, one faces north, and one faces east. The central cairn is much larger than the rest and measures 12 feet by 7 feet. Some of the cairns may have been covered with skins supported by wooden posts.
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8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Closed from September 30 to June 15.
There is a designated parking area, no drinking water, a vault toilet at the parking area and another at the end of the trail near the Wheel. There are interpretive displays. A printed guide is available.
The Medicine Wheel is located between Sheridan and Lovell, Wyoming, on Wyoming Highway 14A at the end of a narrow paved road (FDR 12). It is not recommended for trailer traffic. It is necessary to walk 1.5 miles from the parking area to the Medicine Wheel.
Map Coordinates (NAD83): 44 49.572N; 107 55.303W
At almost 10,000 feet above sea level, the weather can change rapidly. Dress appropriately, as snow has been known to fall during the summer months and the winds can be brisk at this altitude. It is recommended that you take a jacket.
Regulations and Precautions
- There are no trash receptacles at the site, so carry out everything that you carry in.
- Rocky cliffs and fissures surround the Medicine Wheel. Watch your step and be sure to watch your children.
- Backcountry Considerations
- Backcountry Emergencies
- Encountering Wild Animals
- National Park Service Restrictions and Regulations
- Pets in the Parks and Backcountry
Archaeological Resources Protection Act Hotline: 800-227-7286.
There is no overnight camping at this Landmark.
There is an easy 1.5 mile trail along a dirt road from the parking area to the Medicine Wheel.