Local glaciation has modified the higher levels of the Bighorn Mountains, giving glacial cirques, alpine peaks and many mountain lakes and waterfalls.
Deep and narrow canons are common, and, at higher levels, glaciers, carved out amphitheatres, or " cirques " and " U "-shaped troughs.
In New Mexico, if glaciers were formed at all in the high valleys, they were so small as not greatly to modify the more normal forms. In central Colorado and Wyoming, where the mountains are higher and the Pleistocene glaciers were larger, the valley heads were hollowed out in well-formed cirques, often holding small lakes; and the mountain valleys were enlarged into U-shaped troughs as far down as the ice reached, with hanging lateral valleys oii the way.
In this central region, however, it is only by way of exception that the cirques were so far enlarged by retrogressive glacial erosion as to sharpen the preglacial dome-like summits into acute peaks; and in no case did glacial action here extend down to the plains at the eastern base of the mountains; but the widened, trough-like glaciated valleys frequently descend to the level of the elevated intermont basins, where moraines were deployed forward on the basin floor.
Glacial erosion has been potent in excavating great cirques and small rock-basins, especially among the higher southern surmounting summits, many of which have been thus somewhat reduced in, height while gaining an Alpine sharpness of form; some of the short and steep canyons in the eastern slope have been converted into typical glacial troughs, and huge moraines have been laid on the desert floor below them.
Dry valleys, narrow and of great depth, with precipitous sides, and ending in "cirques," are probably formed by the intense action of the occasional cloud-bursts.
Cirques, valley troughs, numberless beautiful cascades, sharpened alpine peaks and ridges, glacial lakes, and valley moraines offer everywhere abundant evidence of glacial action, which has modified profoundly practically all the ranges.
The region is made up in general of high ranges deeply glaciated, preserving some remnants of ancient glaciers, and having fine " Alpine " scenery, with many sharp peaks and ridges, U-shaped valleys, cirques, lakes and waterfalls.
These two ranges are connected by more than half a dozen short transverse spurs or necks, inclosing as many cirques or high cauldron glens.
In numerous cases, lakelets have gathered under rocky cirques behind the terminal moraines of the last surviving glaciers.