Skip to main content

U.S. Forest Service

Rocky Mountain Region Viewing Area


Blue Clematis Blue Clematis (Clematis occidentalis) in a sea of violets. Photo by B. Davidson, U.S. Forest Service.

Close-up of Blue Clematis Close-up of Blue Clematis (Clematis occidentalis) in June. Photo by B. Davidson, U.S. Forest Service.

Story/Penrose Trail 1/4 mile up from the trailhead. Story/Penrose Trail 1/4 mile up from the trailhead. Photo by B. Davidson, U.S. Forest Service.

Story/Penrose Trail

Forest: Bighorn National Forest

District: Powder River Ranger District

Description: Story, Wyoming, is a quaint mountain town with diverse surroundings and unique microhabitats. Loamy soils support many stunning wildflowers. Dominant vegetation includes Douglas-fir and mountain ninebark as well as bluebunch wheatgrass and Prairie junegrass. A short venture through town will lead you to the National Forest boundary and the Story/Penrose Trailhead (Trail 033).

Viewing Information: The Story/Penrose Trail is an excellent site for wildflower viewing on the Bighorn National Forest. Such beauties as Anemone multifida (Red Anemone), Clematis occidentalis (Blue Clematis), Maianthemum racemosum (False Solomon's Seal), and Mahonia repens (Hollygrape) delight the eye with early season hues. Lilies, bog orchids, and violets provide hidden treasures in a vast and intertwined sea of emerald green vegetation. Chest-high shrubs and nodding trees help produce that tucked in feeling as you weave in and out of the Ponderosa Pine canopy.

Safety First: The Story/Penrose Trail is open to horse and foot travel. By mid-summer, the trail is also open for ATV/UTV use. The trailhead is a popular entrance for overnight and weekend camping via ATV/UTV and horse travel. The site is also a popular trailhead for day hikes. Please use caution when squatting for photos on this high-use trail mid-season. The trail has both gradual and steep inclines and is very rocky in spots with moderate to difficult terrain. Bring plenty of water. Story, Wyoming, can be very hot in the summer. Also, look out for poison ivy, which is abundant in the area.

Directions: From Buffalo, WY, take I-90 W to the Piney Creek exit (approx. 12 miles). Follow US HWY 87 toward Story, WY. Veer West on State Route 193. Take State Route 193 approx. 4 miles to junction with State Route 194. Head West on 194 through the town of Story (approx. 3 miles) to Story/Penrose Trailhead (Trail 033).

Ownership and Management: USDA Forest Service, Bighorn National Forest, Powder River Ranger District.

Closest Town: Story, Wyoming.