The Bighorn River is a tributary of the Yellowstone, approximately 461 miles (742 km) long, in the states of Wyoming and Montana in the western United States. The river was named in 1805 by fur trader François Larocque for the bighorn sheep he saw along its banks as he explored the Yellowstone.
The upper reaches of the Bighorn, south of the Owl Creek Mountains in Wyoming, are known as the Wind River. The two rivers are sometimes referred to as the Wind/Bighorn. The Wind River officially becomes the Bighorn River at the Wedding of the Waters, on the north side of the Wind River Canyon near the town of Thermopolis. From there, the river flows through the Bighorn Basin in north central Wyoming, passing through Thermopolis and Hot Springs State Park.
At the border with Montana, the river turns northeast, and flows past the north end of the Bighorn Mountains, through the Crow Indian Reservation, where the Yellowtail Dam forms the Bighorn Lake reservoir. The reservoir and the surrounding canyon are part of the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area.
The Little Bighorn River joins the Bighorn near the town of Hardin, Montana. Approximately fifty miles farther downriver, the Bighorn River ends where it joins the Yellowstone.
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