May 2018 – Wyoming is best known for the eye-popping beauty of its National Parks on the western side of the state. Both Yellowstone and Grand Teton blew us away with easy to see herds of big animals, and seeing Jenny Lake glittering in the middle of the towering snow-capped Tetons is an image we will always cherish.
Keyhole Reservoir is a horseshoe shaped body of water that is lined with rocky cliffs, and we had a ball strolling on the hiking trails along the shore and taking pics as we walked.
Even though it was early Spring, there were lots of boats out on the water. There were pleasure boats zipping around and there were fishermen slowly trolling and reeling in the catch of the day.
We were within earshot of the fishermen drifting past in their boats, and we called out to the guys in one boat. We had seen fish jumping clear out of the water in a small cove nearby, and sure enough, these fishermen had a big fish to show off for us before they threw it back in the water.
Around the lake signs of Spring appeared in patches here and there on the ground in beautiful sprays of purple flowers.
But having flowers on the ground didn’t guarantee sun in the sky, and the sky was overcast for most of the day! Finally, in the late afternoon, the sun made an appearance just above the horizon and cast a yellow glow across the cliffs.
The next morning we awoke to a wonderfully mystical layer of fog.
About 120 miles west of Keyhole State Park we found Lake De Smet. The water was mirror-calm and the eerie light of an impending rain storm made for some beautiful reflections.
There were a few fishing boats on the lake and quite a few birds were out fishing too.
And the fishing went on until dark!
Around the lake and in nearby gardens, we found some lovely flowers blooming.
We had taken I-90 to get between Keyhole State Park and Lake De Smet, but on the next leg of our journey we traveled on the fabulous Bighorn Scenic Byway that crosses the Bighorn mountains between Sheridan and Ten Sleep on US-14.
What a great drive! We had been a little concerned about tackling all the hairpin turns and steep climbs at the beginning of the Bighorn Scenic Byway, but they are big sweeping gentle turns that are easy with a big rig, and the gradients are not difficult if you have a strong tow vehicle or motorhome engine.
We loved the rolling hills and views as we climbed, but it was the waterfalls that really got our attention. We noticed one as we rounded a bend and quickly pulled over to hike down a berm to get a few pics.
This first waterfall was like a warmup for the magnificent waterfalls we found at around the midpoint of the Bighorn Scenic Byway at Shell Falls. These falls have been beautifully developed to allow visitors to view the falls and surrounding canyon from many viewpoints.
The sound of the falls was a thunderous and never ending roar.
I imagine that later in the summer season the falls are a little more tame, but with the snow melt in the mountains filling the streams leading here, the volume of water was enormous.
We had driven the southern scenic drive across the Bighorn mountains along US-16 last year after spending time in the charming town of Buffalo, and it was lovely, but this northern route via US-14 has quite a few jaw-dropping moments that make it particularly stunning.
After we left Shell Falls, the mountains closed in around us in sheer rock cliffs and then slowly subsided as we descended into the town of Ten Sleep.
If you are traveling through northern Wyoming with your RV, a stop at Lake De Smet or Keyhole Reservoir makes for a delightful waterfront excursion, and the Bighorn Scenic Byway is an exhilarating drive that is very doable with an RV. Just keep your eyes on the road because the views will knock your socks off!
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More info about these places:
- Keyhole State Park, Wyoming
- Lake De Smet, Wyoming
- Bighorn Scenic Byway
- Shell Falls, Bighorn Scenic Byway
- Locations of Keyhole Reservoir, Lake De Smet and Shell Falls
Other blog posts from our RV travels in Wyoming:
- 4th of July in Cody, Wyoming – The Cody Stampede Parade! 07/04/18
- Afton, Wyoming – Cowgirl Town! 07/20/12
- Beartooth Highway Scenic Drive – Dazzling All American Road – WOW!! 07/06/18
- Bighorn Canyon – A River Runs Through It in Montana! 07/27/18
- Buffalo Wyoming – Cowboys, Cowgirls and Sheriff Walt Longmire! 08/27/17
- Buffalo Wyoming – RVing Basque Style in the Bighorns! 09/04/17
- Chief Joseph Scenic Byway – Mountain Majesty Near Yellowstone NP 07/20/18
- Devil’s Tower, WY – Remember “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” ?? 09/30/07
- Eastern Wyoming Small Towns – An RV Trip through Wyoming’s Quiet Side! 08/15/17
- Flaming Gorge, WY – Absolutely spectacular, colorful views and friendly big-game animals 09/30/12
- Grand Teton National Park – 101 Ways to Enjoy The Tetons! 09/20/14
- Grand Teton National Park WY – Mirrored Waters 09/17/14
- Grand Teton National Park WY – Wild Skies 09/10/14
- Grand Teton National Park Wyoming – Rare Sightings! 09/29/14
- Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming – Stunning! 09/28/07
- Jackson, WY – The Wild West Tamed & Gentrified 09/20/12
- Pinedale, WY – A beautiful modern-day Boomtown 09/29/12
- Summer Fun in Wyoming’s Big Horn Mountains 08/10/18
- Wildflowers in Wyoming – Spring Showers Bring Spectacular July Flowers!! 07/13/18
- Wyoming Back Roads by RV – Rugged, Remote and Wild! 05/18/18
- Yellowstone National Park, WY – Big Game Animals 09/17/07
- Yellowstone National Park, WY – Bubbling Geysers 09/22/07
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