The Red Grade trails are located outside of Big Horn, Wyoming and are accessed via a seasonal road called….Red Grade. Red Grade is only open to vehicles April 1 to December 15 because any sort of weather makes the steep dirt road dangerous. It is a fun road to drive but one must drive it with conviction because it is narrow, dirt, and has basically no guardrails to keep you from plummeting hundreds of feet down a mountainside. I love it and it is quintessential Wyoming so don’t expect it to change any time soon.
The Red Grade trails – of which there are seven – were primarily created for mountain biking and are maintained by the wonderful people at the Sheridan Community Land Trust. The SCLT makes sure the trails are clean and safe. They do a lot of work in Sheridan County itself and really are a wonderful organization.
The trail I’m talking about today is called “Tip of the Woods” and is accessed from the second of two trailheads on Red Grade, specifically Springs Trailhead.
As you are headed up Red Grade road the first trailhead will be on your right. It is huge and difficult to miss. Keep going a little bit further until the road curves to the left. As you are turning you will see a second parking lot that is a little smaller than the first one but still decently sized. This is the Springs Trailhead.
As soon as you park and get out of your vehicle you will hear why this trailhead was named Springs. There is a small stream of water coming from a nearby spring and it makes a tiny waterfall on the other side of the road. During the snow melt in early spring the water levels get somewhat high and the sound of rushing water is louder.
Tip of the Woods is a short loop about a mile long. I adore this trail because of the varied amount of plant life, the multiple different environments that you walk through and the views of Sheridan County. This trail is very easy and high reward. I suggest you go later in the afternoon so you can enjoy the mountain breezes and the changing light as sunset approaches.
All of the Red Grade trails are connected to each other so you can make this hike as long or short as you want. Just remember that they were created primarily for mountain biking so if you start to wonder why there are crazy turns and switchbacks, that’s why.
Still, the area is gorgeous and I’ve only ever seen one mountain biker. Most people go hike with their friends and dogs.
This trail is:
- Kid and beginner friendly – only real uphill section is as you head back towards the parking lot. This is provided you stay on Tip of the Woods. The other trails will have more ascents.
- High reward – views upon views upon views.
- As long or as short as you want it to be – everything connects. Head back at any time.
- Clean and well maintained – Thank you SCLT!
- Good with cell phone coverage – send as many texts as you want.
Any negatives? Not really – just be careful driving up Red Grade. Don’t speed and be respectful of people driving the opposite direction.