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Cloud Peak Wilderness

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Area Management

The Cloud Peak Wilderness is part of the 110 million acre National Wilderness Preservation System. This System of lands provides clean air, water, and habitat critical for rare and endangered plants and animals. In wilderness, you can enjoy challenging recreational activities like hiking, backpacking, climbing, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, horse packing, bird watching, stargazing, and extraordinary opportunities for solitude. You play an important role in helping to "secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness" as called for by the Congress of the United States through the Wilderness Act of 1964. Please follow the requirements outlined below and use Leave No Trace techniques when visiting the Cloud Peak Wilderness to ensure protection of this unique area.

General Wilderness Prohibitions

Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited on all federal lands designated as wilderness. This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters, unless provided for in specific legislation.

In a few areas some exceptions allowing the use of motorized equipment or mechanical transport are described in the special regulations in effect for a specific area. Contact the Forest Service office or visit the websites listed for more specific information.

These general prohibitions have been implemented for all national forest wildernesses in order to implement the provisions of the Wilderness Act of 1964. The Wilderness Act requires management of human-caused impacts and protection of the area's wilderness character to insure that it is "unimpaired for the future use and enjoyment as wilderness." Use of the equipment listed as prohibited in wilderness is inconsistent with the provision in the Wilderness Act which mandates opportunities for solitude or primitive recreation and that wilderness is a place that is in contrast with areas where people and their works are dominant.

Wilderness-Specific Regulations

Wilderness managers often need to take action to limit the impacts caused by visitor activities in order to protect the natural conditions of wilderness as required by the Wilderness Act of 1964. Managers typically implement 'indirect' types of actions such as information and education measures before selecting more restrictive measures. When regulations are necessary, they are implemented with the specific intent of balancing the need to preserve the character of the wilderness while providing for the use and enjoyment of wilderness.

The following wilderness regulations are in effect for this area. Not all regulations are in effect for every wilderness. Contact the Forest Service office or visit the websites listed for more specific information about the regulations listed.


The following acts are prohibited:

1. Entering or being in the Cloud Peak Wilderness without a self-issue registration signed and in possession of the group for each visit.

2. Having a campfire above 9200 feet in elevation (does not include self-contained chemical stoves). Below 9200 feet, campfires must be contained on a fireblanket or within a fire pan or enclosed stove so as not to be directly on the ground. Campfires are not allowed within 300 feet of lakes, streams, or trails.

3. Having a campfire at Lakes Number 6 or 7 in the Seven Brothers area.

4. Gathering or cutting wood (for campfires or other purposes), including branches, limbs or trunk, above 9200 feet in elevation.

5. Camping within 100 feet of all lakes, streams or other free flowing waters.

6. Failure to dispose of debris including camp structures such as hitching racks, tent frames, and pegs after the use period.

7. Exceeding the maximum group size of 10 people or having more than 15 head of recreation stock in any group. Larger groups must split into separate groups which meet the group size limits and must remain a minimum of 1/2 mile apart, even at campsites. Groups may have an additional 2 people in their group over the 10 person maximum party size if a member of the group is trained in "Leave No Trace" outdoor skills and ethics and they have a copy of their certification with them.

8. Exceeding the maximum length of stay of 14 days from June 1 to September 10. Any new location (campsite or area of occupancy) must be located at least five air miles from the previous location. A location vacated after 14 days of use may not be returned to by the same party for the purpose of camping during the next consecutive 14 day period.

9. Camping at sites posted as being closed to camping.

10. Short cutting a switchback in a trail.

11. Using a wagon, cart, wheelbarrow, bicycle, and other vehicles (including game carts).


The following acts are prohibited:

1. Hitching, tethering, restraining or hobbling a horse or other saddle or pack animal to a live tree, except while loading or unloading.

2. Hitching, tethering, restraining or hobbling a horse or other pack animal within 100 feet of lakes or streams, except when loading or unloading.

3. Having more than 15 head of recreation stock in any group.

4. Having non-weed free feed. All feed including hay, hay cubes, straw, grain or other crop or mulch products must be certified weed free. Bales, containers, or sacks must be tagged with the proper weed-free identification as required by the product's state of origin, or you must have the original and current state documents that certify the hay or crop products meet or exceed the North American Weed Management Association or comparable certification standard. This regulation does not apply to commercially processed feed (feed pellets or steamed, rolled grains).

5. Riding, hitching, tethering or hobbling a horse or other saddle or pack animal in violation of posted instructions at Lakes Number 6 or 7 in the Seven Brothers area.

Learn more about why regulations may be necessary in wilderness.

Wilderness Permit System

A wilderness permit system has been implemented for this wilderness. This involves a mandatory permit, which does not limit use. Wilderness permit systems are implemented to collect information on use levels and patterns and as an education and information tool. People interested in visiting the Cloud Peak Wilderness should contact the Forest Service office or visit the websites listed for more information about this permit system, which may vary by location or time of the year.

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