The Bridger-Teton National Forest (BTNF) located in Western Wyoming, offers more than 3.4 million acres of land for outdoor recreation enjoyment, and is the second largest national forest outside Alaska. With its pristine watersheds, abundant wildlife and immense wild lands, the forest comprises a large part of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, which is the largest intact ecosystem in the lower 48 United States. More than one million acres of the Bridger-Teton is designated wilderness, and it has more than 30,000 miles of road and trail, as well as thousands of miles of unspoiled rivers and streams, offering something for everyone. Regardless of the time of year, the Bridger-Teton National Forest provides numerous recreational experiences for visitors. We encourage you to experience this unique piece of American Heritage!
Horseback trail riding is a treat on 2,200 miles of BTNF system trails, in addition to off-road vehicle touring, mountain bike riding, and rock climbing—which are just a few of the warm weather activities available to visitors on the Bridger-Teton. In addition to the many land-based activities, summer visitors can also experience the Bridger-Teton National Forest by water. Fisherman and scenic canoeists enjoy stretches of the Salt River, Buffalo Fork River, Green River, and flat-water sections of the Snake River that meander over the forest boundary. For the adrenaline junkie, a stretch of the lower Snake River, the Hoback River, and the Gros Ventre River, offer opportunities to get a little wet while encountering some of the most spectacular river canyons Wyoming has to offer. Experienced, expert, canoers can paddle these as well.
World-class angling opportunities offer the prospect of catching nine different species of trout within a variety of stream and natural lakes habitats ranging from alpine lakes, large free-flowing rivers, and small spring-fed creeks. The cool clear waters of the Bridger-Teton National Forest are extensive, impressive, and highly productive and offer fishing opportunities for various cutthroat trout (native), brook trout (non-native), rainbow trout (non-native), brown trout (non-native), golden trout (non-native) and lake trout. There are several areas where you can also fish for arctic grayling. The southern half of the Bridger-Teton National Forest alone contains over 2,300 miles of stream and 25,000 acres of lakes greater than five acres in size with 30 species of native and non-native fishes.
The opportunity to hunt big game on public lands has been a part of our American Heritage since the inception of public lands in the early 1900s. This opportunity is beautifully exemplified on the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Western Wyoming. While the Wyoming Department of Game and Fish manages hunting and fishing opportunities, the public lands of the Bridger-Teton National Forest are the favored hunting grounds of many Americans.
People from around the world have come to enjoy the many hunting opportunities available within the Bridger-Teton National Forest, which include deer, elk, moose, antelope, bighorn sheep, and mountain goat, as well as game bird species such as spotted, blue and ruffed grouse. For hunting information, license applications and fees, please visit the Wyoming Department of Game and Fish website. Working closely with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the Bridger-Teton National Forest is proud of the habitat enhancement and improvement projects implemented along many rivers and streams within the forest boundary.
Winter recreation is also abundant in the forest. Visitors can enjoy snowmobiling on hundreds of miles of groomed trails that network with the Continental Divide Trails. There are also vast stretches of open land available for snowmobiling. For the cross-country skier, there are countless miles of groomed and un-groomed cross-country ski trails, begging to be explored. Ice fishing, snowshoeing, heli skiing and ice climbing are a few other winter recreation activities.
During the summer months, visitors can choose from 37 developed campgrounds or partake of the many dispersed camping opportunities offered throughout the forest. The Bridger-Teton also offers 34 designated trailheads with more than 2,200 miles of system trails that vary in difficulty, ranging from trails visited by family day-hikers to those tackled only by hard-core wilderness enthusiasts.
The Bridger-Teton also has three permitted ski resorts: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Snow King and White Pine, which all offer exciting downhill runs for snowboarders and alpine skiers. Mushing (dog sledding) and backcountry skiing are other activities that are available to visitors once the snow flies.
National forests are multi-use lands for the benefit of all, and are administered by the Department of Agriculture. Mining, logging, public land ranching, and energy development are all part of the multiple use character. This seems repugnant to some, but we are all the beneficiaries. Logging gives us lumber to build our homes, energy provides a way to heat our homes and mobilize our cars, grazing cattle on public land lowers the price of our nation’s meat supply and keeps scenic ranches in our valley bottoms.–
The United States Congress gave official designation to the Teton Wilderness in 1964, and it now has a total of 585,238 acres.
The entire wilderness is in Wyoming, and is managed by the Forest Service. The state’s second largest wilderness area straddles the Continental Divide deep in the heart of Wyoming’s Yellowstone ecosystem. It is bordered on the north by Yellowstone National Park, on the east by Washakie Wilderness, on the west by Grand Teton National Park, and on the south by the Mt. Leidy Highlands and Gros Ventre Wilderness. To the west of the Great Divide timbered ridges, grassy slopes, and broad willow and sedge meadows dominate the land with elevations from 7,000 feet to 9,675 feet. To the east of the Great Divide are high alpine plateaus broken by ridges and extensive mountain meadows with elevations from 8,000 feet to 12,165 feet.
The Bridger Wilderness was first designated a Primitive Area by the Secretary of Agriculture in 1931, making it one of the first primitive areas in the country. Located in northwest Wyoming, it lies adjacent to the Continental Divide and encompasses the western slopes of the Wind River Range. It was designated as one of America’s first wildernesses by the Passage of the Wilderness Act of 1964. The Wyoming Wilderness Act of 1984 expanded the Bridger Wilderness from its initial 392,169 acres to its present 428,169 acres.
The Bridger Wilderness contains a beautiful and rugged alpine landscape. The Wind River Range boasts 48 summits higher than 12,000 feet and seven of the largest active glaciers in the contiguous United States. These impressive features are complimented with thousands of lakes and ponds along hundreds of miles of streams, offering outstanding fishing opportunities. Wildlife abounds with numerous species of animals and birds. An extensive coniferous forest with lush parks and meadows and a variety of wildflowers surrounds the jagged alpine crest.
The Bridger Wilderness is managed in a manner so that its natural characteristics are preserved, and human influences on the landscape are minimized. This allows visitors to experience a unique type of recreation and also provides scientific, educational, and scenic opportunities and preservation of historic values.