Clarks Fork Wild and Scenic River

Land typical around the Clarks Fork Canyon


Named after William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the Clarks Fork Wild and Scenic River is a 20.5-mile rugged section of the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River that flows through a deep, postcard-scenic canyon approximately 30 miles north-northwest of Cody, Wyoming.  Its tumultuous waterfalls, whitewater cascades, deep pools, and rugged corridor lands are its special characteristics.

Designated in 1990, this section of the river became part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System along with a 0.25-mile corridor along its banks. Wild rivers are defined as rivers or sections of rivers that are free of impoundments and generally are inaccessible except by trail, with watersheds or shorelines essentially primitive and waters unpolluted.

The escape route of an Idaho band of Nez Perce, led by Chief Joseph and several others, is thought to be along the southeast portion of the Clarks Fork River and canyon. This band fled their homelands in Idaho, came through Yellowstone and through the Clarks Fork area as they ran from the pursuing military in September 1877. They are thought to have exited the east entrance of the Clarks Fork Canyon along Cyclone Bar and headed north for Canada. Photo of the Clarks Fork Canyon east entrance and Cyclone Bar below left, another river and canyon view to the right. Bottom right, a more placid section of the Clarks Fork.