Looking to enjoy the great outdoors while pushing yourself to take on new
challenges? If you’re up for it, consider checking out the
Solitude Trail with Campbell County Health Cyber Security Expert Navar Holmes.
Constructed in 1920, this loop of mostly wilderness in the Bighorn Mountains
spans some 60 miles through the Cloud Peak Wilderness. Navar has been
hiking the Solitude Loop trail for 22 years and during that time he has
done the whole loop 11 times—usually heading out the last week in
July and early August to spend four to 16 days on the trail. The first
time he was on the trail he completed it in four days! Several other CCH
employees have joined him as well including John Arnold, Tony Chambers,
Cassidy Hunt and his two sons, Ed Matuska and his two sons, and Robert
Quintana and his boy scout group.
The trail winds its way by many well-known destinations in the Bighorns
including Lake Geneva, Mistymoon Lake, Lake Solitude and the bases of
Cloud Peak and Bomber Mountain.
“The Solitude Trail still offers something every time I go out there,”
says Navar. “On the trial, you move in and out high traffic areas—so
sometimes you see people, and other times, you don’t. But, I’ve
ran into people from all over the world – Europe, South America,
United Kingdom, and Canada to name a few.”
Navar also explains that he likes how different parts of the trail are
structured differently. He explained that when you come up Geneva Pass,
hikes can come across old mining structures and shafts, and while passing
the Crater Lake area, you are traversing on summer hunting lands that
of Native Americans. And, as you come around the east side of the mountain
(near Buffalo, Wyoming), there’s pockets of old pine trees that
are three feet in diameter that seem like they could be 150-200 years old.
“For me, being on a trail gives me a feeling of what it was like
long ago, and it helps me appreciate the advances and lifestyles that
we lead now-a-days,” says Navar.
Navar enjoys helping people fall in love with hiking mountains and trails,
and every year invites those able to join him and a friend, Matt Westkott
a long-time hiking buddy, on their trek. He urges everyone to get out
and hike some short trips, as there are several trips in the Bighorn Mountains
and National Forest for beginners through advanced—find information here
https://www.fs.usda.gov/bighorn. He also encourages folks who already enjoy hiking to talk about their
experiences with others, and offer to take folks out for hikes with them—after
all, everything is more fun with friends.
“Do it while you can!” he says. “Often, when you hike
with friends who already enjoy hiking, you can help share the load, and
perhaps save some money.”
Navar says spending three to four days on the trail is doable with preparation
for a novice hiker, while doing the entire trail is great for more seasoned
hikers. Popular entry and exit points on the trail include Hunter, Battle
Park, Coffeen Park and West Tensleep trailheads—Coffeen Park being
the closest to the loop, which requires less back tracking.
This year, Navar plans to hit the trail starting July 27 for 10 days. If
you’re interested in joining Navar, email him at
For more information, be sure to check out the following articles:
Want to know more about the Solitude Trail?
To learn more about the
Solitude Trail, contact the Bighorn National Forest offices in Sheridan, 307-674-2600,
or Buffalo, 307-684-7806. The offices have maps of the area and can point
you in the right direction. Hikers are required to register with the forest
to enter the Cloud Peak Wilderness.
US Forest Service officials also emphasize the importance of practicing Leave No Trace Principles
to maintain the wilderness—learn more at
Photo 1: Navar above Lake Geneva
Photo 2: Matt, Navar, Tony camped at Highland Park
Photo 3: John, Navar, Greg on top of Black Tooth Mountain
Photo 4: From Highland Park looking right to left: Far right is Exit Pass,
Black Tooth Mountain (13,005 Feet), Mt Woolsey (12,978 Feet), The Innominate
(12,761 Feet), Saw tooth canyon with Cloud Peak (13, 167 Feet) in the
back ground which is the second highest in Wyoming and Far left is Penrose
Peak (12,460 Feet)
Photo 5: Dillon Matuska at Powell Lakes Falls