The Shoshone National Forest was set aside in 1891 as part of the Yellowstone Timberland Reserve, making the Shoshone the first national forest in the United States. It consists of some 2.4 million acres of varied terrain ranging from sagebrush flats to rugged mountains. Immense areas of exposed rock are interspersed with meadows and forests. With Yellowstone National Park on its northwestern border, the Shoshone encompasses the area from the Montana state line south to Lander, Wyoming. The Brooks Lake Area of the Shoshone National Forest sits just outside the Teton Wilderness.

Travelers can also explore this very spectacular area outside of the Tetons from the Brooks Lake Trailhead to atop Bear Cub Pass with directions below. However, there are several other options for starting in the Brooks Lake Area. For a day hike, follow the  well-marked trail to Upper and Lower Jade Lakes, the loop follows Jade Creek and eventually links up to the Continental Divide Trail (CDT). Follow Brooks Lake Creek downstream along the CDT back to Brooks Lake. Other multi-day loop opportunities that incorporate the CDT can be accessed at the Turpin Meadow and Angles Trailheads off of US 287.  Both loops will circumnavigate Terrace Mountain and offer world-class fly-fishing along South Buffalo Fork and North Buffalo Fork Creeks.

Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, elk, moose, mule deer, bighorn sheep and numerous smaller predators and birds can be found in the luxurious meadows and thick forests. This untamed territory will offer challenging hikes complete with rugged and unspoiled wilderness. Contact: CDTC at 1-720-340-CDTC (2382) or Shoshone National Forest, 307-578-1200 and Wind River Ranger District 307-455-2466.

Difficulty: Moderate

Length: 7.6 miles round-trip.

Family Friendly Option: Families can trek 2.4 miles round trip along the western shore of Brooks Lake from Brooks Lake Trailhead at the southern end of the lake.

Directions: Brooks Lake lies in the Wind River Mountains of northwest Wyoming very near the Continental Divide. Driving northwest out of Riverton on State Highway 26-287, you will pass through Dubois and be paralleling the Wind River. Not far above Dubois the road becomes mountainous but maintained and kept open year round. Approximately five miles above the Tie Hack Memorial, Forest Road 515 takes off to the north or on your right. Following this well maintained dirt road for about 5 miles will bring you to Brooks Lake. Here you will find campgrounds and trailheads, as well as the historic Brooks Lake Lodge.

Maps: USGS 7.5 Quadrangles: Togwotee Pass, Lava Mountain, Angle Mountain, Crater Lake, Joy Peak, and Two Ocean Pass

U.S. Forest Service Map of Bridger-Teton National Forest: Buffalo and Jackson Ranger Districts.  Trails Illustrated Map #201: Yellowstone National Park,

Other Information: Shoshone National Forest – http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/shoshone/