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Bad Medicine Mid Course: 56 Miles


This course is a bit shorter than our 90-miler, but don't let that fool you! This is still a huge dose of Bad Medicine!

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9,487' 2,892 m


4,201' 1,280 m


6,284' 1,916 m


6,280' 1,914 m



Avg Grade (2°)


Max Grade (15°)

Dogs No Dogs

E-Bikes Unknown

Features -none-


Part of the Bad Medicine series out of Shell, WY, this is the middle length race course. While it's shorter than the 90-miler, it shares major portions with the 90 mile course... including a ride up the western face of the Bighorn Mountains.

The first 20 miles of this race are shared with the 90 mile course; at the 20 mile mark, the 90 milers head southeast on Alkalai Road toward the Medicine Lodge State Park, while the 56 course heads west on Alkalai Road to the peak of Bighorn Mountains.

All rides are fully supported with aid stations approximately every 10 miles, with emergency aid available as well.

After the event, you'll be able to enjoy a block party in beautiful, downtown Shell, Wyoming. The party will include food, beverages and music.

Need to Know

Accommodations will be available at Shell Campground (, as well as at other facilities managed by Shell Campground.


A medium dose of Bad Medicine!

All courses start identically. You'll head southwest out of Shell on Trapper Creek Road. The first 3 miles are paved giving you a nice warm up over some rolling hills. Watch for wild turkeys and pheasants crossing the road.

At the Y, you'll stay right and start the gravel. About 4.5 miles into the course you'll pass the last hay field and get a glimpse up into Trapper Canyon towards your left. Now the work begins.

6.5 miles into the course, you'll get an excellent view of Devils Leap. This impressive geological features towers 800 feet in the air. Next you'll ride through Red Basin. As the sun climbs, these vivd red and orange cliffs will change color. 10.5 miles into the ride, you'll reach the Red Gulch Road. At this point you've climbed about 1100 feet. This backcountry byway will steadily climb through the left turn at Alkali Road (don't worry, you're halfway to the top – only 2700 more feet to go!) and all the way to the top in the Bighorn National Forest. As you climb, the scenery begins to change from desert to forest.

Once on top, an aid station will be available. Now that you're in the mountain air, cruise the next 14 miles down USFS 17 towards Crooked Creek Hill. It's not totally easy street since there will be another climb after a slight descent and finally a gradual descent back to US 14. When you reach Ranger Creek Station, make a note to come back. The Bench Trail, an excellent mountain bike trail, starts here (but that's an adventure for another day). When you reach US14, flaggers will warn uphill traffic for you.

Once on US 14, it's a feast for the eyes as you descend through Shell Canyon. Shell Creek is your companion as you admire Copmans Tomb, Shell Falls, and Elephant Head Rock. While your legs will appreciate the break, stay alert – hairpin turns and switchbacks require your full attention. When the canyon narrows at the bottom the sound of Shell Creek rushing by tells you you're almost home.

Once at the bottom of the canyon, it's time for the final push home. The next 5 miles have a gentle descent back to Shell through rolling ranch land. Check out iconic Chimney Rock on your left before cruising back into town.

History & Background

The Red Gulch Road is famous for the Dinosaur Track site, pre-historic dinosaur tracks were discovered.


Land Manager: BLM Wyoming - Cody

Shared By:

georgia dawg

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 1 vote


in Shell


  5.0 from 1 vote
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6 Views Last Month
109 Since May 31, 2019



Segment of the Bad Medicine route in the Bighorn Basin. This colorful trail winds its way through alpine forest and rugged deserts.
Jun 14, 2019 near Basin, WY
This is a great view of Devil's Leap which is located in the Red Gulch Basin. The Bad Medicine 90 offers fanatastic views of the 700' formation.
May 20, 2019 near Greybull, WY
The Bad Medicine Race/Ride/Tour passes through some beautiful country, in this case, the Trapper Creek Chimney Rock.
Jul 1, 2020 near Greybull, WY
This is Devil's Leap. This 700 ft high formation is a prominent feature of our 90-mile and 56-mile Bad Medicine Races.
May 31, 2019 near Greybull, WY
Bad Medicine 20: This two-track is part of the Bad Medicine 20-miler (what we call the "Short+ Route). This trail climbs all the way to the base of the Bighorn Mountains. Once there, enjoy some spectacular views!
May 21, 2019 near Greybull, WY



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