Rocky Mountain Region Viewing Area

LOCATION and PHOTOS

Wyoming Paintbrush.
Wyoming Paintbrush. Photo by Gary A. Monroe, USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database.

glacier lily.
Glacier lily. Photo by Thomas G. Barnes, USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database.

Lewis's monkey-flower.
Lewis's monkey-flower. Photo by Brother Alfred Brousseau, USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database.

North Fork of the Shoshone River

Forest: Shoshone National Forest

District: North Zone Ranger Districts

Description: The North Fork tour follows the highway between the east gate of Yellowstone National Park and Cody, paralleling the North Fork of the Shoshone River and meandering through some of the most magnificent mountain scenery in the nation. Beginning at the east edge of Yellowstone, U.S. 14/16/20 follows the shallow waters of Middle Creek to Pahaska Teepee. After the lodge, you pick up the North Fork of the Shoshone River. As you descend through the forest, cliffs and narrow columns of volcanic rock carved by water and ice begin to rise through the trees. These formations, including Chimney Rock, are the remains of ancient volcanic dikes. Soon, the forest thins to a peppering of juniper scattered along the canyon cliffs.

Viewing Information: Visit the Buffalo Bill visitor center the Buffalo Bill Historical Center to help plan your trip. In the spring, look for glacier lily, spring beauty, and wild strawberry in the open meadows. Under the forest canopy you’ll find lupine and arnica. On the slopes you’ll find arrowleaf balsamroot, phlox, Wyoming paintbrush (Castilleja linariaetolia), and gentians.Other show-stoppers include yellow monkey-flower (Mimulus guttatus), Lewis’s monkey-flower (Mimulus lewisii), elephant’s head (Pedicularis groenlandica), blue penstemon (Penstemon cyaneus), and small-flowered penstemon (Penstemon procerus).

In addition to wildflowers, this area offers spectacular wildlife watching. Late fall, winter and early spring are the best times to observe mule deer, bighorn sheep, elk and moose that winter in the riparian and foothill shrub land communities along the North Fork. This is grizzly country. In early summer, grizzlies may be observed from the road in small, grassy openings near dense forest cover. At the Buffalo Bill Reservoir, located a short distance west of Cody, white pelicans, migratory waterfowl, and shorebirds are often observed.

Safety First: Observe grizzlies from a distance and do not attempt to stalk a grizzly or approach closely. Publications on how to behave responsibly in grizzly country are available from the Park Service, Forest Service, and Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

Directions: Beginning at the east edge of Yellowstone, U.S. 14/16/20 follows the shallow waters of Middle Creek to Pahaska Teepee. After the lodge, you pick up the North Fork of the Shoshone River.

For detailed information visit the Buffalo Bill Dam Visitor Center (307) 527-6076.

Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Shoshone National Forest, North Zone Ranger Districts (307) 527-6921.

Closest Town: Cody, Wyoming.

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