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Cloud Peak Wilderness

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Area Management

The Cloud Peak Wilderness is part of the 111 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.


-- Group size is limited to 10 people. Larger groups must split into separate groups which meet this limit and remain 1/2 mile apart; even at campsites. Groups may have 2 additional people over the 10 person maximum if a member of the party is trained in “Leave No Trace” outdoor skills and ethics and has a copy of their certification with them.

-- Each group or individual visiting the Wilderness is required to sign a self-issued registration and keep it in their possession for the duration of the visit.

-- Campfires (other than self-contained chemical stoves) are prohibited above 9,200 feet in elevation and within 300 feet of any lake, stream, or trail. Below 9,200 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 prohibited at Lakes Number 6 and 7 in the Seven Brothers area of the Cloud Peak Wilderness.

-- Do not shortcut switchbacks.

-- As with all designated Wilderness areas, mechanical transportation (including wagons, game carts, wheelbarrows, bicycles, or other vehicles) is prohibited.

-- Possessing, storing, or transporting any part of a tree (branches, limbs, trunk) above 9,200 feet in elevation is prohibited.

-- Properly dispose of debris including camp structures such as hitching racks, tent frames, and pegs after their use period.

-- Solid human waste must be contained in a leak-proof portable toilet or other self-contained receptacle and removed from National Forest lands in the West and Middle Tensleep drainages.


-- Overnight visitors cannot camp at, store equipment at, use, or otherwise occupy any single location for a period in excess of 14 days between June 1 and September 10.

-- Any new location occupied following a 14 day period must be 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.

-- Camping is prohibited within 100 feet of any lake, stream, or trail.


-- Using more than 15 head of pack or saddle stock is prohibited.

-- Hitching, tethering, restraining, or hobbling pack or saddle stock to a live tree or within 100 feet of any lake, stream, or trail (except when loading or unloading) is prohibited.

-- Hitching, tethering, restraining, or hobbling pack or saddle stock is prohibited at Lakes Number 6 and 7 in the Seven Brothers area of the Cloud Peak Wilderness.

-- All pack or saddle stock feed must be certified weed seed free. Weed seed free products must be certified as being noxious weed seed free by an authorized State of Department of Agriculture official or designated county official; each individual bale or container must be tagged or marked as weed free and reference the written certification.

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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