Due to bear activity in the vicinity, the trail at The Nature Conservancy’s Heart Mountain Ranch Preserve is open for hiking in groups of two or more. Bear spray is mandatory.
Surrounded by sagebrush basin, Heart Mountain stands alone. Named by the Crow Indians, this mountain is one of the few identifiable features on the maps Lewis and Clark created.
With its unusual limestone cap, Heart Mountain is a puzzle. Geologists from around the world have studied it, yet its origin remains a subject of passionate debate. Somehow it became separated from larger masses of similar formations found sixty miles away in Yellowstone National Park. Moreover, older limestone lies atop younger strata, which is "upside down" in relation to how these strata are found elsewhere.
Heart Mountain Ranch supports one of the greatest concentrations of rare plants ever discovered on private property in Wyoming. Many native mammals also are often seen here, particularly elk, mule deer and antelope. The preserve is also home to managers Carrie and Brian Peters, who are raising their children close to nature.
Make a special gift - Honor a loved one with the purchase of a bench and commemorative plaque placed along the preserve trail. Contact us to find out how!
Heart Mountain Ranch, north of Cody, encompasses the north and east slopes of Heart Mountain and a portion of the surrounding plains.
Why TNC Selected this Site
The Conservancy uses a rigorous science-based process called Conservation by Design to develop strategic plans to save Wyoming’s last great places. It helps the Conservancy focus its resources on the sites most in need to critical intervention. Under this system, Heart Mountain received the second-highest rating for overall biodiversity.
Although the Conservancy rarely buys land outright, this ranch was too important to pass up.
What TNC Has Done/Is Doing
Innovation and collaboration bring scientists, ranchers and outdoor enthusiasts together on Heart Mountain Ranch Preserve. As a site for advancing the field of rangeland management and ecology, the preserve hosts sustainable cattle grazing on its pastures, weed management projects and wildlife field research.
The rugged trail to Heart Mountain’s summit also attracts hikers. Horseback riders are welcome to enjoy the lower trails and take in the preserve’s undeveloped and wide-open vistas. The Heart Mountain Trailhead Interpretive Cabin offers information about the geology, cultural significance and ecology of Heart Mountain and the surrounding land.