Shoshone National Forest Environment

View from the top of Beartooth Pass








Physical Features

The Shoshone National Forest covers about 2.4 million acres, with more than 1.5 million acres of wilderness. The Shoshone contains some of the most rugged, remote and scenic areas in the country.

Elevations on the Shoshone range from 4,600 feet at the mouth of the spectacular Clarks Fork Canyon, to 13,804 feet on Gannett Peak, Wyoming's highest point.   

History of the Area

Kirwin Motel in 1934

The Shoshone National Forest was first created in 1891 as the Yellowstone Timberland Reserve. This later became the Shoshone National Forest, the first national forest in the nation. It is named after the Shoshoni Indians living in the area. The Arapahoe, Blackfeet, Comanche, Crow, Nez Perce, Northern Cheyenne, and Sioux tribes also hunted, traveled, traded and fought in the area.

Famous mountain men such as John Colter and Jim Bridger were early visitors, as well as miners who sought their fortunes in the area's mountains. The ghost town of Kirwin, an early-day mining town, is a window to the past, recalling one of the colorful eras in Wyoming's history. The remains of tie hack flumes and cabins on the southern end of the Shoshone are reminders of another era during which millions of railroad ties were produced.

See this timeline for key events of the Shoshone National Forest.