Yellowstone National Park is a shining example of our nation’s best idea; the National Park System. With stunning Rocky Mountain Landscapes, thermal geysers and unparalleled opportunities to see wildlife roam free, YNP is a must for anyone wanting a part of the Great American Roadtrip. But with almost 4.4 million visitors passing through the park last year alone, that shining example of nature can feel a touch crowded.
If it’s solitude you are looking for, though, worry not. Yellowstone is bordered by hundreds of miles of National Forests, and while they may not have the amenities of civilization one would find in the national park, they do have something hard to find in Yellowstone; untrammeled solitude.
Here are 4 national forests that surround Yellowstone, that just may give you that chance to go to the woods, to let out your barbaric yawp and live deliberately.
Gallatin National Forest
Located just north of Yellowstone, Gallatin National Forest is part of the largest intact ecosystem in the lower 48. This NF sprawls through 400 miles of Mountains, rivers and rolling plains. Located within the boundary of the NF is the The 943,377-acre Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness.
The ABW is a massive expanse of solitude, found over 700 miles of maintained foot trails. It is the great rugged backbone of the area. With over 20 peaks at elevations higher than 12,000 feet, the vastness of this place is unparalleled.
Shoshone National Forest
Located to the southeast of Yellowstone, Shoshone National Forest is America’s first National Forest. At 2.4 million acres, there are numerous opportunities for every kind of recreation enthusiast. With three different mountain ranges included within its borders, it has plenty of opportunities for solitude. The Popo Agie Wilderness, located in the southern portion of the forest, includes the pristine and cathedral-like spires of the Wind River Mountains, Wyoming’s best kept secret.
Bridger-Teton National Forest
Located directly south of Yellowstone, the Bridger-Teton National Forest is perhaps the busiest of the National Forests on this list, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its untrammeled beauty.
Offering nearly 1.2 million acres of designated Wilderness, the BTNF has thousands of miles of streams and rivers that make up one of the largest single watersheds in the lower 48. Unique to his National Forest is the designated Wild and Scenic Snake River Headwaters.
Caribou-Targhee National Forest
Located to the West of Yellowstone, the Caribou-Targhee has two different wilderness designations, and sprawls over 3 million acres from Idaho to the Utah and Wyoming borders.
Found within its borders is the exquisite and popular Minnetonka Cave systems. Located in St. Charles Canyon northwest of Bear Lake, this is an unusual limestone cave system. It offers a half-mile of fascinating stalactites, stalagmites and banded travertine in nine rooms.