- Established in 1891 as part of the Yellowstone Timberland Reserve, the Shoshone National Forest consists of some 2.4 million acres of varied terrain ranging from sagebrush flats to rugged mountains. Elevations on the Shoshone range from 4,600 feet at the mouth of the spectacular Clarks Fork Canyon to 13,804 feet atop Gannett Peak, Wyoming's highest.
Copyright: - US Forest Service
Wildlife on the Shoshone National Forest
The higher mountains are snow-clad most of the year. Immense areas of exposed rock are interspersed with meadows and forests. Those who hike into the back country or drive through the North fork of the Shoshone River Canyon or over the Beartooth Plateau agree that the varied scenery is superlative. All Yellowstone National Park visitors entering from the east or northeast travel through the Forest.
The Shoshone is home to five wilderness areas in three different ranges: the North Absaroka, North Absaroka/Beartooth, Washakie, Popo Agie and the Fitzpatrick. The Shoshone National Forest has limitless backcountry opportunites.
Elk, deer, bighorn sheep, black bear, grouse and other wildlife draw hunters and wildlife watchers. The Shoshone is also home to the endangered grizzly bear.
Recreation - Timberline lakes and mountain streams challenge anglers of all ages. The depths of Clarks Fork Canyon attract rafters. The Shoshone offers a myriad of other recreation activities including camping, hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, picnicking, skiing and snowmobiling.
Primitive and developed camping sites offer scenery and solitude. There are 31 developed campgrounds on the Shoshone National Forest. Generally the campgrounds offer services (water on, garbage pickup etc.) from Memorial Day weekend through the end of September.
Over 300 miles of scenic groomed and ungroomed trails plus thousands of acres of off trail riding awaits snowmobile enthusiasts on the Shoshone National Forest. Generally the best riding season is from early December through late April. The Beartooth Mountains on the northern half of our forest boasts 36 miles of groomed and 34 miles of ungroomed trails. Access to Yellowstone Park via snowmobile is also found on the northern half, 50 miles west of Cody on the Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway. The southern half of the forest contains Continental Divide Trails with the Dubois area enjoying 150 miles and the Lander area 95 miles of trail.
Climate - As throughout the Rocky Mountains, the climate varies drastically depending on elevation. Summers generally offer warm clear days with cool nights. Afternoon thunderstorms are often a possibility in the summer. In the winter, sunshine, with heavy of snow in the higher elevations, are ideal for winter activities. Harsh weather - including wind, cold, and snow - is possible throughout the winter and even throughout the year, in the highest elevations.
With Yellowstone National Park on its western border, the Shoshone encompasses the area from the Montana state line south to Lander, Wyoming. It includes portions of the Absaroka, Wind River, and Beartooth Mount Ranges. The western boundary of the forest south of Yellowstone, is the crest of the Continental Divide.