Places to Visit: Medicine Wheel

Yellowstone National Park
> Getting Here
> Medicine Wheel

Medicine Wheel

Plan a road trip to Yellowstone National Park with a side trip to Medicine Wheel, to see an incredible ancient Native American construction about 300 to 800 years old.

  • View an ancient Native American construction that’s about 300 to 800 years old
  • Medicine Wheel has ceremonial importance to Native American tribes
  • You can follow a scenic route through the Bighorn Mountains to the east entrance of Yellowstone National Park, about a four-hour drive


In the Bighorn Mountains you’ll find the Medicine Wheel, built by Native Americans hundreds of years ago. It’s a pattern of stones laid in a wheel shape. The middle cairn is approximately 12 feet in diameter and two feet high.


The best times to visit are during the summer solstice; the only time there is no snow at Medicine Wheel. From October to May, the roads that get you there are usually closed. Sometimes Medicine Wheel is closed when Native American ceremonies are held there.

More Info

Many contemporary American Indians use this well-preserved Native American sacred site for various ceremonies, including ceremonial and medicinal plant gathering.

The wheel itself has 28 spokes, including an eastern facing entrance, towards the rising sun. When you stand at one section and look at another, you will be pointed to different places on the horizon. These points show where the sun rises or sets on certain dates.

Getting Here

To reach Yellowstone from the Medicine Wheel, you take Forest Road 12 to US 14A, and then proceed on US Route 14, Alternate 14 or 16 straight to Yellowstone Park’s east entrance. Highways 14 and Alternate 14 (14A) are a more direct route.