Best Hikes in Shoshone National Forest (WY)

Shoshone National Forest Overview

Shoshone National Forest is located in the northern Rocky Mountains in northwest Wyoming. The Shoshone’s 2.4 million acres are an integral part of the 10-million acre Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, which is centered in Yellowstone National Park. The western boundary of the Shoshone south of Yellowstone National Park is the crest of the Continental Divide. The Shoshone is America’s first national forest, set aside by President Benjamin Harrison in 1891 as part of the Yellowstone Timberland Reserve. The Beartooth Mountains near Cody, WY and the Popo Agie Wilderness near Lander, WY house most of the best hikes in Shoshone National Forest described below.

Nearest Metro AreaCody, WY
Area Size2,466,577 acres
EstablishedMarch 3, 1891
Hiking Trails1,300 miles

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Trailhead Traveler’s Recommended Best Hikes in Shoshone National Forest

(*** = best hikes in Shoshone National Forest)

Beartooth High Lakes Trail #620*** – 5.4 miles one-way
Beartooth High Lakes, Wyoming
Beartooth High Lakes, Photo by Rick McCharles

In order to avoid backtracking, hikers will need to utilize a 2nd car parked at Beartooth Lake Campground before shuttling to and starting from the trailhead at Island Lake Campground. The hike provides great views of the Beartooth Mountains in addition to passing several glacier lakes along the way. Wildflowers are abundant in July and August as well. Starting from Island Lake Campground makes for an easier journey ensuring more descent than ascent. 

Bridal Veil Falls –  3.8 miles out and back

Beginning at the infamous Morrison Jeep Trailhead, this rocky route takes you up to the beautiful Bridal Veil Falls. The trail is the two-track road along the river. At 1.5 miles from the parking area, watch for a dry creek bed and a BLM trail marker. Turn right/north here and head toward the canyon wall. You should be able to see the waterfall from this point.

Jade Lakes Loop*** – 5.5 mile loop
Brooks Lake, Photo by Landon

Start at Brooks Lake and follow the Yellowstone Trail to form a counterclockwise loop around the lakes. The lakes are a gorgeous turquoise green color and the trail offers great views of the surrounding peaks in the area. In addition, there are beautiful fields of wildflowers when in-season.

Popo Agie Falls*** – 3.3 miles out and back
Popo Agie Falls, Photo by Britanybtk

Short hike on your way up to a spectacular waterfall. The last 1.5 miles before the falls is a little steep but should be manageable by most any hikers. Considering the scenery and the short distance, this is often a very crowded trail.

Silas Lakes Trail #722 – 7.0 miles out and back
Upper Silas Lake, Photo by Chiffre01

Start off on the Christina Lake Trail near the beautiful Fiddlers Lake Campground on your way to Upper Silas Lake. Fishing at the lakes is great and the trail is mostly shaded which helps on hot summer days! Also, for the most part this is a fairly secluded trail so you shouldn’t have too many issues sharing the trail with others.

Stough Creek Lakes Trail #702 – 16.8 miles out and back

Great backpacking option with several beautiful alpine lakes in the Popo Agie Wilderness. The trail begins at the Worthen Meadows Trailhead and climbs up Roaring Forks Pass on its way to Stough Creek Lakes Basin. The trail gains some serious elevation by the time you reach the pass and might be something more novice hikers would want to avoid.

Featured Image: Shoshone National Forest, Photo by Viplav Valluri

Don’t forget to stock up on the essentials before you plan your next hiking or camping trip! We have recommendations on: