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If you could speed up the faulting and shifting of giant slabs of rock that created the Rocky Mountain Front, what would it sound like? In Sun River Canyon, you can hear a jarring crash, not of rock but of horns colliding. Each November, bighorn sheep rams from one of the largest herds in the country (800 to 1,000 animals) gather within Sun River Canyon to test their mating prowess. Again and again, two males with massive curled horns hurl themselves at each other. Rams may clash this way for 40 times or more if evenly matched. The winner earns the right to lead the herd and mate with the ewes.For most of the year, Bighorns lead a more placid life munching grass in the canyon bottoms in the winter and crisscrossing distant cliffs in the summer. Sun River Canyon in summer resounds with other sounds - the slap of a beaver tail on water, warbles of songbirds among stream side cottonwoods and the drumming of woodpeckers.This area along the Rocky Mountain Front is the heart of the chinook belt, providing some of the earliest wildflower displays (April) east of the Rockies.Look for a bighorn sheep viewing area with an accompanying interpretive sign. Sun River Canyon offers hiking, picnicking and camping. On the way to the canyon, you will pass the Sun River Wildlife Management Area. Stop at a signed pullout and scan for elk and deer herds in winter.
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Sun River Canyon is located along the Rocky Mountain Front southwest of Choteau. Taking Highway 287 south from Choteau to Augusta take gravel road (108) towards Gibson Reservoir. Camping available ( tent & trailer) at Mortimer Gulch and Home Gulch.
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