Shoshone National Forest


A view of Pingora Peak
Pingora Peak in Shoshone National Forest
Shoshone National Forest

The Shoshone National Forest was first designated as the Yellowstone Timberland Reserve in 1891, and became the Shoshone National Forest a few years later, making it the first National Forest in America. Part of the Greater Yellowstone Eco-System, this 2.4 million acres sports some of the Lower 48 states' most rugged, scenic and remote countryside. More than 1.5 million acres of Shoshone are designated wilderness. The terrain here varies from sagebrush flats to thick evergreen and aspen forests to open alpine meadows to stark peaks of glacier-carved granite.

The Forest stretches from the Montana border south to Lander, Wyoming, including parts of the Wind River, Beartooth and Absaroka Mountains. The northwest border is against Yellowstone National Park and the southwest border is along the crest of the Continental Divide. Elevations range from a low of about 4,600' at the mouth of Clarks Fork Canyon to the summit of Gannett Peak (13,804'), Wyoming's highest point.

There are two visitor centers on the Forest, one at the Wapiti Wayside on the Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway (US 14, 16 & 20 between Cody, Wyoming, and the East Entrance to Yellowstone National Park), and the other at the Washakie Ranger District office in Lander, Wyoming.

This area was originally hunting grounds for the Shoshone, Crow, Nez Perce, Blackfeet, Arapaho, Comanche, Northern Cheyenne, and Sioux tribes. They traveled, traded and fought all over this countryside. Among the first Europeans to come here were Jedediah Smith, Jim Bridger, Tom Fitzpatrick and John Colter (three of these men have Wilderness Areas named for them now). Mining prospectors didn't have much of an impact here but lumbering and the production of railroad ties still goes on. Most business these days revolves around tourism.

Wilderness Areas on
Shoshone National Forest

Today, if you want to go for a long hike in this forest, you want to be prepared for grizzly bears, black bears and gray wolves. So many of the regulations on this forest have to do with keeping your food safe from the bears. And if your food is safe, you are a bit safer, too. You'll also want to be prepared for the weather. The number of high mountain glaciers in the area testify to the fact that you can see snowfall in these mountains on any day of the year.

With 60% of the Forest being designated wilderness, dispersed camping is allowed in most areas. Now and then something will be closed to camping because of bear activity or to protect resources. However, the special recreation corridor between Cody and Yellowstone's East Entrance (the North Fork Canyon) requires that all camping within 1/2 mile north or south of the center line of that road (US Highways 14,16 & 20) be done within a developed campground. And before you head out into the bush, you'll want to check with the local ranger station in regards to any seasonal campfire restrictions and reports of bear activity: there's nothing that attracts a grizzly like the scent of fresh-caught trout over a small cook fire...

Shoshone National Forest: the Wind River Range
High in the Wind River Range
Campgrounds
Clarks Fork Ranger District
Campground Name Elevation # of Sites Max Length Reservable Opens Drinking Water accessible Notes
Beartooth Lake 9,000' 21 32' - Late June X -  
Crazy Creek 6,900' 16 28' - Late May - -  
Dead Indian 6,000' 12 32' - Early May - -  
Fox Creek 7,100' 34 50' - Mid June X - Electricity, double and triple sites available
Hunter Peak 9,600 9 28' X Late May X -  
Island Lake 9,600' 20 32' - Late June - -  
Lake Creek 6,400' 6 22' - Mid June - -  
 
Greybull Ranger District
Campground Name Elevation # of Sites Max Length Reservable Opens Drinking Water accessible Notes
Brown Mountain 7,600' 7 16' - Mid May - -  
Jack Creek 7,600' 7 22' - Early May - -  
Wood River 7,300' 5 16' - Mid May - -  
 
Wapiti Ranger District
Campground Name Elevation # of Sites Max Length Reservable Opens Drinking Water accessible Notes
Big Game 5,900' 17 32' X Mid June - -  
Clearwater 6,000' 20 40' - Mid June - X  
Deer Creek 6,400' 6 16' - Late June - -  
Eagle Creek 6,500' 20 22' - Late May X X ***Restricted - see below
Elk Fork 6,000' 13 22' - Late May X -  
Newton Creek 6,300' 31 22' - Early May X -  
Rex Hale 6,100' 30 40' X Late May X X Electric available
Three Mile 6,700' 33 32' - Late May X X  
Wapiti 6,000' 42 50' X Late May X X Elecricity, double and triple sites available
 
Washakie Ranger District
Campground Name Elevation # of Sites Max Length Reservable Opens Drinking Water accessible Notes
Dickinson Creek 9,400' 15 20' - Late June - -  
Fiddlers Lake 9,400' 20 24' - Late June X X  
Louis Lake 8,600' 9 16' - Late June - -  
Little Popo Agie 8,800' 5 16' - Late June - -  
Sinks Canyon 7,000' 9 20' - Early April X X  
Worthern Meadows 8,500' 28 24' - Late June X -  
 
Wind River Ranger District
Campground Name Elevation # of Sites Max Length Reservable Opens Drinking Water accessible Notes
Brooks Lake 9,200' 13 32' - Mid June - X  
Double Cabin 9,300' 15 32' - Mid June X X  
Falls 8,000' 44 32' - Mid June - X  
Horse Creek 7,500' 9 32' - Mid June X X  
Pinnacles 9,200' 21 32' - Mid June X X  

***Restricted - This campground, located on the upper North Fork of the Shoshone, is open to hard-sided campers only. No tents or pop-ups are allowed in this campground due to grizzly bear activity.

 
Trails
Trail # Trail Name Length in Miles Elevations Difficulty
607 Crandall/Timber Creek 18.5 6,200'-10,000' Difficult
607.2b Papoose Ridge 12.0 6,200'-10,000' Moderate
609 North Crandall 16.4 6,200'-10,000' Moderate
605 Reef Creek 5.6 6,200'-10,000' Moderate
600 Dead Indian 10.0 6,000'-8,200' Moderate
601 Elk Horn 606 6,000'-8,200' Moderate
602 Elk Creek 12.6 6,000'-8,400' Moderate
615 Little Sunlight 3.5 6,000'-8,400' Moderate
628 Clarks Fork 17.5 6,200'-7,000' Moderate
568.1 Crazy Creek 6.0 6,900'-9,000' Moderate
629 Beartooth Loop/Hauser Lake 2.6 8,900'-10,500' Easy
621 Beauty Lake 2.5 9,200'-9,700' Easy
620 Beartooth High 8.6 9,300'-9,700' Easy
751 Pahaska/Sunlight 18.4 6,500'-10,200' Moderate
751.2a Crow Creek 10.0 6,600'-10,500' Moderate
751.2b Jones Creek 11.1 7,200'-10,200 Moderate
751.2d Red Creek 7.7 7,500'-9,500' Moderate
755 Eagle Creek 16.4 6,700'-9,900' Moderate
756 Kitty Creek 10.0 7,000'-10,000' Moderate
775 Blackwater Natural Bridge 3.5 6,000'-10,000' Moderate
757 Fishhawk 11.0 6,200'-7,600' Moderate
758 Blackwater Clayton Mountain 6.0 6,000'-10,000' Moderate
760 Elks Fork 10.2 6,000'-11,800' Moderate
809 South Fork 37.0 6,600'-9,400' Difficult
772 Marsten Creek 8.7 7,800'-10,200' Difficult
812.3 Secret Basin 8.0 8,400'-11,200' Difficult
771 Deer Creek 10.2 7,400'-10,000' Difficult
658.2 Boulder Basin 13.0 8,200'-10,400' Difficult
770 Ishawooa Mesa 6.7 6,600'-9,700' Difficult
768 Ishawooa 17.0 6,500'-9,900' Difficult
655 Greybull River 24.0 7,800'-11,000' Moderate
637 High Water Greybull 3.0 7,800'-8,000' Moderate
655.1a Jack Creek 5.0 7,600'-11,000' Moderate
655.2a Warhouse Loop 12.7 7,600'-11,000' Moderate
658.1a Eleanor Creek 3.0 8,920'-9,600' Moderate
663 Anderson Creek 5.5 8,600'-10,000' Moderate
641 Venus Basin 7.5 8,200'-9,400' Moderate
813.3 Cow Creek 5.0 9,400'-10,400' Moderate
658.1 Boulder Basin 2.3 6,200'-10,400' Moderate
659 Piney Creek 8.2 7,600'-10,000' Moderate
654 South Fork Wood River 10.4 7,000'-10,000' Moderate
645 Dead Man Cutoff 4.8 8,800'-10,000' Moderate
650 Wind River Divide 9.7 8,400'-10,200' Moderate
728 Ink Wells 7.0 10,000'-11,450' Difficult
801 Glacier Trail 25.4 7,000'-11,000' Difficult
801.2a Downs Fork 2.0 9,200'-10,000' Moderate
802 Dinwoody 6.0 7,000'-10,500' Difficult
806 Lake Louise 1.7 7,800'-8,400' Difficult
803 Simpson Lake 10.0 9,100'-10,300' Moderate
805 Ross Lake 4.0 9,700'-10,450' Difficult
837 Whiskey Creek 5.0 7,400'-10,450' Moderate - Difficult
725 Dry Creek 9.0 9,600'-10,600' Moderate
726 South Fork Dry Creek 2.0 9,600'-10,600' Moderate
810 Five Pockets 6.5 8,400'-8,800' Easy
814 Bear Creek 15.0 8,700'-10,000' Easy
816 East Fork 11.3 8,680'-10,800' Easy
818 Frontier Creek 9.0 8,080'-9,600' Moderate
813 Wiggins Fork 12.4 8,080'-10,200' Moderate
807 Kisinger Lakes/Pinnacles 10.8 8,800'-10,100' Moderate - Difficult
835 Falls Creek 4.2 8,300'-9,850' Easy
808 Dunoir Trail 12.0 8,300'-9,850' Moderate
823 Upper Brooks Lake 3.5 9,050'-9,150' Easy
823.1a Jade Lakes 2.6 9,050'-9,150' Moderate - Difficult
702 Stough Creek Lakes 7.0 8,800'-10,600' Difficult
707 Tayo Lake 4.1 9,750'-10,800' Moderate
715 Smith Lake 9.5 9,300'-10,250' Easy
716 Bears Ears 24.8 9,300'-11,200' Difficult
722 Silas Lake 2.0 9,600'-10,100' Easy
706 Ice Lakes 7.7 9,750'-11,000' Difficult
710 North Fork 16.1 8,500'-10,500' Easy - Difficult
712 High Meadow 8.4 9,000'-9,900' Difficult
703 Stough Creek 3.8 8,500'-9,100' Easy
700 Middle Fork 21.0 7,200'-10,300' Easy - Moderate
701 Sheep Bridge 3.0 8,400'-9,100' Moderate
717 Moss Lake 5.5 9,970'-10,660' Moderate
718 Washakie 3.5 10,100'-11,600' Moderate - Difficult
714 Lizard Head 7.0 10,000'-11,800' Difficult
708 Pinto Park 8.0 9,200'-10,300' Difficult
703.1 Twin Lakes 2.8 8,500'-9,100' Easy
704 Stough Lakes Basin 1.0 8,500'-9,100' Easy
705 Coon Lake 1.5 8,500'-9,100' Easy - Moderate
709 Deep Creek Cutoff 2.5 8,500'-9,100' Easy
711 Shoshone Lake 17.0 8,500'-9,750' Difficult
720 Petes Lake 7.5 8,500'-9,750' Difficult
724 Louis Lake 6.5 8,600'-9,600' Easy - Moderate
721 Christina Lake 7.0 9,400'-9,900' Easy
335 Christina Lake 9.0 9,400'-9,900' Moderate