Medicine Mountain Medicine Wheel

The Medicine Wheel on Medicine Mountain was a bucket-list place for me, and one I’m extremely grateful I had to opportunity to visit. Located at over 9,600, the 82-foot diameter stone wheel lies on an exposed and incredibly beautiful meadow below the peak. Consisting of 28 “spokes,” or stone lines that radiate from it’s center, the wheel is one of the largest and best-preserved of these types of structures that have been found throughout the northern plains of the U.S. and Canada.

Though dating of the wheel itself has proved inconclusive, some of the cairns and spokes are likely thousands of years old, and artifacts from the immediate area prove this place has been used by Native Americans for 7,000 years. The wheel and mountain are still visited today by numerous modern day tribes who come to make offerings, perform ceremonies, and engage in other sacred activities. Though many archaeologists and ethnologists have studied this and other wheels and have put forth hypotheses on their use and meaning, I will not repeat these here since I do not believe it is my place to do so as a non-native person. I do of course respect that it IS scared to people and thus, I did not stray from the designated footpaths here, touch offerings, or go traipsing around the mountain, as beautiful as it was and as much as I wished to see views from the other side of the peak. I did get to see a fair amount of the surrounding area however on the 1.5-mile walk up to the wheel, including multiple vistas over the basin below and the high country to the north and east which was a wonderful experience. Tom generously stayed near at the parking area with Abby while I was trekking up the limestone path and when I returned I found him sitting in his camp chair with Abbs resting comfortably in the grass below.