The the Indians, mountain men, and early settlers, the Wedding of the Waters was a special place. Here, after carving its way through rocks more than three billion years old, the Wind River ends its journey and the Bighorn River begins.
For many species of wildlife, the Wedding of the Waters is also a special place. The warmer waters released from the bottom of Boysen Reservoir produce luxuriant stands of aquatic vegetation and, combined with warm thermal spring water downstream, keep the river open all winter. Because of the open water and aquatic vegetation, waterfowl concentrate here by the thousands each winter. The waterfowl and trout are prey to bald eagles which winter in the area.
A variety of mammals are found near the Wedding of the Waters, from wily mule deer and whistling marmots to mink along the river's edge. Bighorn sheep historically used the rugged canyon slopes for winter range.
Rainbow, cutthroat and brown trout, along with barbot and mountain whitefish, inhabit this stretch of the Bighorn River, providing a blue-ribbon fishery of national fame. The fish on the upper river grow quickly because of the abundance of aquatic insects found in the bottom vegetation. Just downstream, the nation's first handicap-accessible riverine boat ramp provides drift boat access to the Bighorn River.
To man and
beast alike, the Wedding of the Waters is indeed a special place.