Geography of Campbell County, Wyoming

Geography of Campbell County, Wyoming

Campbell County, located in the northeastern part of Wyoming, is a region known for its vast open spaces, rich mineral resources, and rugged natural beauty. From the rolling plains of the Powder River Basin to the towering peaks of the Big Horn Mountains, Campbell County offers residents and visitors alike a diverse range of landscapes and outdoor recreational opportunities. Check travelationary to learn more about the state of Wyoming.

Physical Features:

  • Powder River Basin: Campbell County is situated within the Powder River Basin, one of the largest coal-producing regions in the United States. The basin covers an area of approximately 27,000 square miles and is characterized by its gently rolling plains, sagebrush-covered hills, and abundant wildlife. The Powder River Basin is home to vast coal reserves, which are mined using surface and underground methods. Coal mining is a major industry in Campbell County, providing jobs, income, and tax revenue for residents and communities across the region. However, it also raises concerns about environmental degradation, water pollution, and public health.
  • Big Horn Mountains: To the west of Campbell County lies the Big Horn Mountains, a subrange of the Rocky Mountains that extends into northeastern Wyoming. The mountains are characterized by their rugged terrain, alpine meadows, and dense forests of spruce, fir, and pine. Several peaks in the Big Horn Mountains exceed 13,000 feet in elevation, including Cloud Peak, which is the highest point in the range at 13,167 feet. The Big Horn Mountains provide opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, hunting, and fishing, as well as scenic drives along mountain roads and highways.
  • Belle Fourche River: The Belle Fourche River flows through the northern part of Campbell County, serving as a major waterway and shaping the landscape of the region. The river originates in Wyoming and flows northeastward into South Dakota, eventually joining the Cheyenne River. The Belle Fourche River is known for its scenic beauty and recreational opportunities, offering opportunities for fishing, boating, kayaking, and wildlife viewing. The river is also popular for its whitewater rapids, which attract kayakers and rafters seeking thrills and adventure.


Campbell County experiences a semi-arid climate, characterized by cold, snowy winters and warm, dry summers. The region’s climate is influenced by its inland location, as well as its high elevation and proximity to the Rocky Mountains.

Winters in Campbell County are cold and snowy, with daytime temperatures often below freezing and nighttime temperatures dropping well below zero Fahrenheit. Snowfall is common from November through March, with several feet of snow accumulating on the ground. Winter weather can be severe, with blizzards, ice storms, and sub-zero wind chills occurring frequently.

Summers in Campbell County are warm and dry, with daytime temperatures often reaching into the 70s and 80s Fahrenheit. Humidity levels are low, and rainfall is sparse, making irrigation necessary for agriculture and landscaping. Thunderstorms are common during the summer afternoons and evenings, bringing brief but intense rain showers, lightning, and gusty winds.

Human Impact:

  • Coal Mining: Coal mining has been a major industry in Campbell County for over a century, with vast reserves of coal found throughout the region. The county’s coal mines produce millions of tons of coal each year, which is used for electricity generation, industrial processes, and other purposes. Coal mining provides jobs, income, and tax revenue for residents and communities across the county, although it also raises concerns about environmental degradation, water pollution, and public health.
  • Oil and Gas Production: Oil and gas production is another important industry in Campbell County, with extensive reserves of petroleum and natural gas found beneath the region’s surface. The county’s oil and gas wells produce millions of barrels of oil and cubic feet of natural gas each year, which are used for transportation, heating, and other purposes. Oil and gas production provides jobs, income, and tax revenue for residents and communities across the county, although it also raises concerns about environmental pollution, habitat destruction, and public health.
  • Outdoor Recreation: Outdoor recreation is a popular pastime in Campbell County, with opportunities for hiking, camping, hunting, and fishing. The county’s mountains, rivers, and lakes offer a variety of outdoor activities for residents and visitors alike, from scenic drives along mountain roads to whitewater rafting on the Belle Fourche River. Outdoor recreation contributes to the local economy, attracting tourists and supporting businesses such as outfitters, guides, and lodging providers.

Conservation Efforts:

Efforts to conserve and protect Campbell County’s natural resources are ongoing, with a focus on preserving sensitive habitats, managing water resources sustainably, and promoting responsible land use practices. Conservation organizations, such as the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality and the Nature Conservancy, work to protect critical ecosystems, restore degraded habitats, and enhance wildlife habitat. Efforts to address issues such as habitat loss, water pollution, and climate change are also underway, with initiatives to promote conservation practices, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and increase public awareness and engagement.


In conclusion, Campbell County, Wyoming, offers a wealth of natural beauty, outdoor recreational opportunities, and economic resources for residents and visitors alike. From the coal mines of the Powder River Basin to the peaks of the Big Horn Mountains, the county boasts a diverse array of landscapes and ecosystems. While facing challenges such as coal mining, oil and gas production, and environmental degradation, Campbell County remains a resilient and vibrant community with a deep connection to its land and heritage. Through collaboration, innovation, and conservation efforts, the county continues to balance economic growth with the protection of its unique landscapes and ecosystems, ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come.

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