Located in northeastern Wyoming, the Shoshone National Forest is the first national forest ever created in the United States. Established in 1891, the forest covers over 2.4 million acres of valleys, high ridges, and snow-clad mountains. The forest is named for the Native American Shoshone tribe, one of several tribes that periodically occupied the region. Within the forest are four wilderness areas that provide further protection from human interference. The nearest community — Cody, WY — is a town of under 10,000 inhabitants. Visitors from larger cities like Billings, MT, or Casper, WY, often stop at the Shoshone National Forest to hike the trails, fish, hunt, camp, or view the incredible scenery.
Activities in Shoshone National Forest
The Shoshone National Forest is one of the few places in Wyoming that experiences significant precipitation. The extra water brings a fantastic wildflower show in the spring and early summer months. Over 1,700 varieties of plants call this area home, including sagebrush, grass, pine, and spruce. Because the site was protected from development so early in American history, invasive plants are minimal.
Angling is a favorite activity of visitors in the Shoshone National Forest. The hundreds of small streams and large lakes are packed with rainbow, brook, and brown trout. You will often find yourself competing with the native wildlife for the rich fish harvest that this area provides.
Geocaching is allowed in the Shoshone National Forest in all areas except those sections designated as Wilderness Areas. If you are looking to create a geocache, keep track of your location because placing a geocache in a Wilderness Area is greeted with a hefty fine. Otherwise, feel free to establish a cache or to venture into the forest to search for one of these hidden treasures.
The animal life in the Shoshone National Forest is essentially the same as it was when the first mountain men explored the area. The most prominent member of the wildlife family that populates this forest is the grizzly bear. Approximately 125 of these large isolation-loving animals live in the Shoshone National Forest. Other apex predators include cougars and timber wolves.
Since the Shoshone National Forest is an isolated entity surrounded by other federally protected areas, the light pollution is minimal. On a clear night, the sky is impressive. Astronomers and students of science love this place. At points, the elevation adds even more clarity to the sky.
How to get to Shoshone National Forest
Address: 808 Meadow Lane Avenue, Cody, WY 82414
Fee: Entry fee $0
It is easy to venture to the Shoshone National Forest for a vacation in an RV. Roads access several parts of the forest and take you directly to some fine RV campgrounds. RVs provide a comfortable place to rest after a day of hiking and fishing in the woods. When you use an RV, you are free to create those memories that last a lifetime without worrying about setting up camp at the end of the day.
Frequently Asked Questions About Shoshone National Forest
What is the closest town to Shoshone National Forest?
Cody, Wyoming is the closest town to the Shoshone National Forest. Cody is a large town with grocery stores, restaurants, hotels, camping, and plenty of things to do if you want to stop in for a day or two.
Is there a fee to get into Shoshone National Forest?
No, there is no fee to get into the Shoshone National Forest. There may be fees required for certain day-use areas, however. There may also be fees required for some recreational activities like camping or boating.
What type of wildlife lives in Shoshone National Forest?
The Shoshone National Forest is home to wildlife including grizzly and black bears, gray wolves, deer, elk, moose, pronghorn, and bison. The forest is also home to a variety of smaller animals like otters and pikas. Many different types of birds, fish, and reptiles also live in the forest.
Does Shoshone National Forest offer free camping sites?
Yes, the Shoshone National Forest offers free camping. Dispersed camping is allowed throughout the forest. Dispersed camping is free, but offers no amenities. Campers must bring everything with them that they need, including water, and must bring everything back out with them when they leave.
Is there a limit to how long you can camp in Shoshone National Forest?
Yes, there is a limit to how long you can camp in the Shoshone National Forest. Campers may stay up to 16 consecutive days at their campsite. They must then move at least five miles from the previous location before setting up camp again.