Northwest College

Big Horn Basin Map

Sunlight Basin

Quick Facts
  • The Chief Joseph Scenic Highway runs through Sunlight Basin. It is kept open all year, though winter storms close it periodically.
  • The highway crosses into Sunlight Basin at Dead Indian Pass, elevation 8070 feet.
  • There are conflicting stories about the source of the name, Dead Indian. The most popular version is that the name comes from an 1878 skirmish between General Miles and a group of Bannock Indians where one Indian was killed. In 1877 Chief Joseph and his Nez Perce traveled through Sunlight Basin during their attempt to escape from the U.S. Cavalry.
  • The bridge over the Sunlight Gorge, which is 1,200 feet deep, is the highest bridge in Wyoming.
  • Sunlight Basin is home to a substantial population of Grizzly bears. Wolves from Yellowstone have recently moved into the area.
Sunlight Basin photo
Sunlight Basin photo