Have You Hiked In Wyoming’s Historic And Beautiful Outlaw Canyon?
When I was a kid my grandpa's introduced me to westerns. John Wayne, Audie Murphy, Gary Cooper, Robert Mitchum, Paul Newman and Robert Redford all starred in the movies we'd watch. The stories they'd tell were almost like they knew some of the outlaws these movies highlighted.
They've both passed on, but I'm still a big fan of the movies and stories of those old time, wild west outlaws they loved to learn about. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Jesse James, Billy The Kid and Doc Holliday were regular fixtures in our discussions. I was able to travel to some of the some of the areas these bad boys roamed with my grandpa. Lincoln County, New Mexico for Billy the Kid and different places in Missouri for Jesse James history.
One place we never got to travel was the Hole in the Wall, here in Wyoming. It's been on my bucket list since moving to the Cowboy State, but hadn't had the chance...until now.
Last summer while on a tour of the Johnson County War with Hoofprints of the Past Museum, I learned about the general location of the canyon in the Red Wall National Backway. I finally made the trip, and it was 100% worth the wait. I packed up and headed to the Outlaw Cave Trail and Campground. If you like to camp, this is a free, first come first serve campground on the lip of the fantastic outlaw canyon.
To get to the canyon is really pretty easy and not that far of a trip. The easiest way to get there is to travel west on Highway 190 from Kaycee. Turn left on Highway 190W to Barnum. Then left on Bar C road. There will be signs pointing you to the Outlaw Cave Campground.
It would be a good idea to drive a vehicle with a high clearance and be prepared to take your time driving back to the campground. Once you're there, you'll realize exactly why it was the chosen spot of outlaws hiding away from lawmen.
The hike into the canyon to explore the caves and Middle Fork Powder River, is not for the faint of heart, those with issues walking or climbing. The descent is about 500 ft of winding, rocky, gravel and dirt. Then you have to go back up 500 ft, the same way you came, to leave. The trail isn't a groomed, smooth trail, so be prepared with water, snacks and extra time.
If you're looking to camp, there are plenty of options and it's free. There are 12 sites with fire rings and even a toilet.
Outlaw Cave Trail and Campground is an awesome trip to explore.