The small ranching community of Ten Sleep, Wyoming is a true example of western lifestyle. Located at the base of the Big Horn Mountains, the area is rich in fertile soil and waterways, which make it perfect for raising cattle and sheep.
Near the present site of Casper on the Platte River, there was an Indian camp that the trappers called the Old Sioux Camp. To the north near the present site of Bridger, Montana, on the Clarks Fork River, was another Indian camp; these camps were located on the Indian trade route. Ten Sleep was midway between the two camps, so as Indians measured distance by travel time, Ten Sleep was the tenth night or “sleeps” between the two camps.
The area is full of history and is recognized as being the site of many historic battlegrounds between Indian tribes and the white man. Among those sites are the Bates Battle site, an engagement in which the Arapahoe were defeated by a coalition composed of US troops and the Shoshone. At the Dull Knife site, Dull Knife and Wild Hog were defeated leaving the Big Horn Mountains under the control of the white man. Located a few miles south of Ten Sleep is the famous site of the Spring Creek Raid (on the Red Reflet Ranch). Here, cattle ranchers and sheep herders fought a bloody battle over grazing rights. The 1909 event brought the Rule of Law to the Big Horn Basin and Wyoming, so justice prevailed over the three "S" rule ... Shoot - Shovel - and Shut Up!
Scenic wonders such as mountain ranges, canyons, pure mountain streams, and lakes are everywhere. To the southwest of Ten Sleep, Castle Gardens presents unusual stone caricatures of animals, castles and other objects of interest, many of which can be climbed and all offer great photographic moments.
Worland was founded in 1906 on the west side of the Big Horn River. However, as the railroad moved into the area, tracks were laid to the east of the river. The town’s founders, eager to benefit from the railroad, agreed a move was necessary. During the winter, town residents slid their homes, businesses and belongings across the frozen Big Horn River and relocated at the town’s present site.
William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody was born in Le Claire, Iowa in 1846. While he was still a child, his family moved to Leavenworth, Kansas. Cody left his home in Leavenworth, Kansas, at the young age of eleven. After the Civil War, Cody scouted for the Army and gained the nickname “Buffalo Bill” as a hunter. Cody’s life in the West offered the stuff from which legends were made and he soon was popularized in newspaper accounts and dime novels.
Close to the ranch are the fascinating Castle Gardens and the lakes, streams, and trails of the 1,115,000 acre Big Horn National Forest, and nearly 200,000 acres of the Cloud Peak Wilderness with peaks to 13,175′.
You can also enjoy a few local museums:
- Ten Sleep Pioneer Museum – Ten Sleep
The Museum exhibits cover the everyday life of pioneer families and include tools and clothing. A special exhibits recreates the Spring Creek Raid, which occured on the Red Reflet Ranch and was a major turning point for the relationships of the sheepmen and the cattlemen.
- Washakie Museum – Worland
- The Buffalo Bill Historical Center – Cody
Castle Gardens is an area of badlands topography seven miles southwest of Ten Sleep, a 25 minute drive from the Red Reflet Ranch. It was developed in the upper Cretaceous Teapot Sandstone - Member of the Mesaverde Formation. The distinctive mainly white sands of the Teapot Member present a landscape of cliffs and towers that resemble the ramparts of a medieval castle. It gets its name from the rock formations which are an immature sandstone, a rock that is easily changed by many years of weathering. The odd shapes are known as hoodoos and there are many of them. Ranch staff will escort you and show you the best of them.The hoodoos can be accessed by climbing and the shapes range from castles to tables, chairs, surfboards, pedestals, mushroom caps, birds and animals. In fact maybe it is all in the eyes of the beholder which shape is which!! A fun activity for ALL ages.
Located 45 minutes from Red Reflet Ranch is the town of Worland, population about 5200. The exhibits at the Museum offer visitors an opportunity to understand how early settlers came to Wyoming and created lives for themselves with little knowledge of what to expect.
There is a major historical photograph collection together with exhibits specifically made for children to ‘touch’ and enjoy. There are ever changing art exhibits and learning programs for a complete grasp of the geology, paleontology and archeology of the region.
The Conservancy land lies about 10 miles from Ten Sleep and there is easy access from the Ranch. There is an abundance of wild flowers and animals in the many canyons of the Preserve. A twelve-mile stretch of Canyon Creek, slicing deeply through the southwestern flanks of the Bighorn Mountains. Ancient pictographs and Native American gathering sites reveal a long history between people and the land. The ecological richness that first attracted people here continues to attract visitors to the preserve, which is open to the public. Reservations are needed for an escorted tour.
Diplodocus, Allosaurus, Camarasaurus – Dinosaur species that conjure up fascination for all ages!
Located a 25 minute ride from the Red Reflet Ranch. Dependent on dig site activities, weather and scheduling – By special arrangement we can take families to view a dinosaur dig where bones have been found from times dating back 150 million years. More than 11 complete dinosaur remains have been unearthed since 2006 at the Dana Quarry, part of the Morrison Formation near Ten Sleep Wyoming.
More than 300 elk live on and pass through the Ranch all year long. They have few predators in this area; there are no grizzly bears, very few wolves, and the few black bears that are nearby are very shy and seldom seen. Nevertheless, elk have excellent sight – especially for movement – an outstanding sense of smell and the ability to disappear quietly if they sense danger. The best viewing is just after dawn and during sunset when the elk are on the move from their beds to nearby grass fields. With a little patience and quiet stalking, most of our elk sighting expeditions have great success – so bring your camera, good hiking shoes and quiet clothes.
Many mule deer and antelope live in our irrigated alfalfa fields and on the mountain adjoining our upper ranch. Daily sightings are common: unlike the elk, seeing up to a hundred deer or antelope is a function more of the amount of time spent looking than good fortune or stealth. Red Reflet Ranch is also home to lots of small critters – foxes, marmots, prairie dogs, coyotes, raccoons and even an occasional skunk. Many raptors also frequent the area.
The Ranch has a large pheasant population living on Spring Creek. The population is supplemented annually, but the pheasants also breed naturally. Hungarian partridge and chukkas are mostly seen at the lower ranch, and grouse and prairie chickens live on the upper ranch.
The wildflowers start early in the Big Horn Mountains and the varied elevations, from 4500′ to 8300′, ensure a long flower season: from May through July around the Ranch, and longer in the nearby Cloud Peak Wilderness area (up to 13,000′). Some of the more beautiful species you will encounter are Spring Beauty, Lupines, Buckwheat, Yellow Bell, Columbines, Alpine Wallflowers, Balsam Roots, Black-eyed Susans, Larkspur, Showy Fleabane and Blanket Flower, to name but a few. We also have books and posters to help you identify many more of our local wildflowers.
We are also lucky to have as our neighbor the Nature Conservancy Preserve of Ten Sleep, an 8,500-acre sanctuary for protected wildlife. Their literature and self-guided tours provide a unique experience for guests who wish to better appreciate the wildlife and flowers in our neighborhood.