Things to Do in Lovell
Lovell, Wyoming sits at the heart of cattle ranch vacation country on highway 310 near the east end of the Bighorn Basin. Fed by waters that find their head in Yellowstone National Park, the Bighorn Basin is one of a handful of flat grassy intermontane basins that sit between the Rocky Mountain foothills. These basins make excellent grazing land: their even terrain and somewhat drier climate support vigorous grass growth and provide for easy horseback riding. To the east of the basin sits Bighorn Lake, a reservoir nestled within the vast canyon that marks the western side of the border between Montana and Wyoming.
Lovell was named after a local rancher, Henry Lovell. Like many men who came to Wyoming during the cattle boom of the late nineteenth century, Henry was probably attracted to this oasis in the hills by the need to graze his cattle. One can only imagine crossing the Bighorn Mountains, a terrible drudgery after the relative ease that was the Great Plains, only to land in the bucolic, flat, fertile basin. It must have seemed like providence. It was certainly enough to keep Henry there.
Today, Lovell is home to almost two and a half thousand people. It sits like a pearl on a necklace of small towns stretching from Yellowstone all the way to Bighorn Lake, each one a distinct and special community all its own. Every little town has its stories, its landmarks, and its history. Lovell is no different. Take the wonderfully authentic Hyart Theatre for example. It’s hard to miss with its four-story high green metal lattice facade and even higher neon sign. The Hyart theatre isn’t only notable for its authentic 1950s style. It also boasts the largest digital screen in Wyoming.
Just east of downtown Lovell you can find the Pryor Mountain Mustang Center. Descended from the original horses brought to the New World in the fifteenth century, Pryor Mountain mustangs are a genetically distinct protected breed. The only herd of these rare mustangs ranges across 39,650 acres of BL-managed land in Montana and Wyoming. When in Lovell, don’t pass up a chance to visit the mustang center and learn all about Pryor Mountain horses, their history, and the efforts being made to preserve them.
If you take a short trip east of Lovell, you can see the spectacular Medicine Wheel National Monument. Built and used by generations of Crow medicine men long before the arrival of Europeans, the Medicine Wheel located on top of Medicine mountain in the Bighorn National Forest continues to host vision quests and offerings of thankfulness to Creation. It is a bit of a hike to the summit but well worth it. The Medicine Wheel is one of the largest of its kind still in use.
However you spend your time in Lovell, you can rest assured you are following in the footsteps of fellow adventurers out to give the cattle life a try. Please join us in the Bighorn Basin. Just like Henry, we’re sure you’ll love the view.
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