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, a public recreational area 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.
Nearby are lakes, streams and trails of the 1,115,000 acre Big Horn National Forest and nearly 200,000 acres of the Cloud Peak Wilderness rising to 13,175′.
You can also enjoy a few local museums:
- Ten Sleep Pioneer Museum – Ten Sleep
The Museum exhibits provide a look into everyday life of pioneer families, their tools, clothing and other items used to carve out a life in the rugged, old West. A special exhibits recreates the Spring Creek Raid, that took place on the Red Reflet Ranch marking a major turning point for relationships between sheepmen and 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 resembling ramparts of a medieval castle. The name comes from rock formations composed of 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. 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. Escorted tours are conducted by Nature Conservancy staff and reservations are required.
Diplodocus, Allosaurus, Camarasaurus – Dinosaur species that conjure up fascination for all ages!
Located a 25 minute ride from Red Reflet Ranch, more than 11 complete dinosaur remains have been unearthed since 2006. Weather and scheduling permitted, the Dana Quarry, part of the Morrison Formation near Ten Sleep provides an exceptional opportunity for families to view a live dinosaur dig where paleontologists unearth bones dating back 150 million years ago.
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 scant number of black bears nearby are very shy and seldom seen.
Many mule deer and pronghorn (commonly called antelope) live in our irrigated alfalfa fields and on the mountain adjoining our upper ranch. Daily sightings are common. 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.
Wildflower bloom starts 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 very happy 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.