Shoshone National Forest
Guide

Introduction

In the Rocky Mountains of northwest Wyoming, Shoshone National Forest is made up of 2.4 acres of varied terrain to explore and enjoy. Shoshone was the first national forest in the United States and was named in 1891 by President Harrison as part of the Yellowstone Timberland Reserve. It was named after the first inhabitants, the Shoshone Indians. The mountains range from 4,644 feet at Clarks Fork Canyon to 13,804 feet at Wyoming’s highest point, Gannett Peak. There are five wilderness areas here, including the Washakie, Popo Agie, North Absaroka, Fitzpatrick, and the Absaroka-Beartooth.

With hundreds of miles of trails and scenic byways, three mountain ranges, and over 100 alpine lakes, you will find an abundance of wild critters and fun things to do during your RV camping trip. Besides swimming, boating, and fishing, you can also enjoy floating on one of the rivers or streams, water skiing on one of the larger lakes, and riding a jet ski if you like.

There are 20 different RV campsites to choose from, so you should have no problem finding a favorite. From the Clearwater Campground with 10 campsites to the Falls Campground with 54 campsites, you can choose a small or large campground, depending on what you like. We have highlighted our top three favorites below.

RV Rentals in Shoshone National Forest

Transportation

Driving

Surrounded by the Beartooth Mountain Range, Wind River, Absaroka, and Yellowstone Park, the Shoshone National Forest in northwestern Wyoming is a fantastic place to visit. The drive to your destination is just as much fun as getting there with four different scenic byways. The Wyoming Centennial is 163 miles along Highways 287 and 26, crossing the Continental Divide, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone Park. Chief Joseph Scenic Byway takes you 47 miles along the northeastern section of the forest on Highway 296. You can see the land where Chief Joseph and his group of Nez Perce fought.

The Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway is about 30 miles west of Cody along Highways 14, 16, and 20, with 27.5 miles of Wapiti Valley following the Shoshone River. The route takes you to the east entrance of the Yellowstone National Park. The Beartooth All-American Road is a 68.7-mile trek across the Beartooth Mountains in both Wyoming and Montana. As the highest road in the Rockies, you will get to see some of the most dramatic views along the way.

No matter which road you take to get to your destination, you will enjoy the view so make sure you have someone along who can take pictures while you drive. Keep your eyes open for wildlife that sometimes wander into the road and be aware of road conditions, especially during the late fall and winter.

Parking

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Shoshone National Forest

Campsites in Shoshone National Forest

Reservations camping

Wapiti Campground

Wapiti Campground near Cody has 40 reservable campsites, open from mid-May until mid-September on the Shoshone River. Each site has a bear proof food locker, campfire grill, and a large picnic table that seats eight people. Half of the sites also have electric hookups for your RV. The parking spurs range from 21 to 49 feet in length so reserve yours early if you want a specific spot. The park also provides drinking water spigots and vault toilets.

You can enjoy fishing for four different types of trout in the river and you will see lots of wildlife in the cottonwoods and dense vegetation between campsites. Some short trails under a mile long take you into the ancient cliffs above the campground where you can see some amazing views of the area. Pets are always welcome but have to be accompanied and restrained during your visit. This is grizzly bear country so be bear aware.

First-come first-served

Falls Campground

Falls Campground near Dubois has 54 campsites in two loops, nestled in the pine trees at the base of Pinnacles Mountains. It's open from the end of June until Labor Day. Each campsite contains its own picnic table, fire pit with a grill, bear proof boxes for your food, and a large cleared space for sitting around the fire. The campground provides drinking water spigots and vault toilets, and the parking pads can accommodate RVs and trailers up to 32 feet long.

However, eight of the sites have pull-throughs and can hold a much larger rig. But these are first-come, first-served, so get here early to get the spot you want. If you feel like walking, there is a 0.2-mile trail called Falls Overlook that takes you over the Brooks Lake Creek Falls. Bring your fishing gear so you can try your luck at catching some of the hungry rainbow trout in the creek. Pets are allowed but must be accompanied and restrained at all times during your visit. This is grizzly bear country so be bear aware.

Worthen Meadow Campground

On the shores of the Worthen Meadow Reservoir, the Worthen Meadow Campground by Lander has 28 campsites open from Memorial Day until Labor Day. Each campsite has its own picnic table, fire pit with a grill, and a bear proof box for your food and other scented items. The parking pads can accommodate RVs and trailers up to 45 feet long. Seven of these are pull-throughs but there are no reservations, so you need to get here early to get a specific site.

The campsites are split into two loops, both on the shoreline of the lake where you can fish for trout, swim, or go boating. If you want to take a hike, the 1.5-mile Sheep Bridge Trail #701 and 4.1-mile Roaring Fork Trail #702 are both nearby. These are also equestrian trails so watch out for horses. Pets are welcome but you need to accompany and restrain them at all times. This is grizzly bear country so be bear aware.

Seasonal activities in Shoshone National Forest

In-Season

OHV Riding

Whether you are looking for a designated OHV trail or would rather just explore the old forest roads, there are dozens of opportunities here. The 4.4-mile Copper Lakes Trail near Wapiti is a moderate trek with an elevation gain of 2,542 feet. If you want a longer trip, try the 21.4-mile Morrison Jeep Trail near Ralston, which has an elevation gain of 6,699 feet. And the Glacier Lake Trail is 4.6 miles with an elevation gain of 1,492 starting at Glacier Lake in Red Lodge, Montana.

Picnicking

Whether you have five or 50 people, you can find a place to have a picnic or BBQ in the Shoshone National Forest, so gather them in the campervan and head out now. The Worthen Meadow Picnic Site has six tables, six BBQ grills, and is located on the Worthen Meadow Reservoir. Along the Shoshone River, you can find the Horse Creek Picnic Site with a covered shelter, toilet, picnic tables, and BBQ pits. The Newton Spring Picnic Site is another serene spot that is ADA-accessible with five tables, fire pits, and cooking grills.

Horseback Riding

The Shoshone National Forest loves horses and provides equestrians with miles of trails to enjoy and several equestrian camps as well. The Eagle Creek, Fishhawk, and Pahaska Trailheads all have camping areas for equestrians, as well as access to many miles of trails. You can also camp at the Worthen Meadow Campground where you and your horse can take the 1.5-mile Sheep Bridge Trail #701 and 4.1-mile Roaring Fork Trail #702. If you want to take a longer trip, try the 48.8-mile Gannett Peak Trail in the Fitzpatrick Wilderness.

Off-Season

Hiking

You will not have any trouble finding a trail to hike because there are 1,389 miles of them here. There are 49 named trails in the forest, ranging from less than one mile to almost 50 miles. The easy 1.8-mile Crazy Creek Falls Trail #568 in Cody has an elevation gain of 393 feet and has a gorgeous waterfall. The Big Moose Lake Trail #624 is 0.7 miles and has an ascent of only 135 feet, so it is short and easy. For a more difficult trail, the 23.6-mile Glacier Trail has an ascent of 5,380 feet.

Snowmobiling

There are 829 miles of snowmobile trails in the Shoshone National Forest, so don’t forget to attach the trailer to the RV before heading out. With 690 groomed and 139 ungroomed trails, you will surely be able to find one you like. The northern section of the woods has some of the most popular groomed trails, including the Gros Ventre, Upper Green River, Dubois, Togwotee Pass, and Yellowstone. The Togwotee Pass has some of the best high elevation snowmobile riding in the west.

Skiing

Pack the skis in the RV because there are 48 miles of cross-country skiing trails within the forest. The Pahaska Trail is just two miles from Yellowstone National Park has 15 miles of diverse conditions with trails for both beginners and experts. Beaver Creek, south of Lander, has 12 miles of both classic and more modern skate skiing for everyone. And Wood River Valley, just 22 miles from Meeteetse, is a ski park with 15 miles of groomed trails from easy to difficult.