Bridger-Teton National Forest
With its 3.4 million acres, the Bridger-Teton National Forest in western Wyoming is the second largest national forest outside of Alaska. Included are more than 1.2 million acres on the National Wilderness Preservation System in the Teton, Gros Ventre, and Bridger Wildernesses. It is a land of varied recreational opportunities, microclimates, and abundant wildlife. Its spacious skies are punctuated by awesome mountain ranges south of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, which include the Teton, Gros Ventre, Wind, and Wyoming ranges, rising vertically from 5,900 to 13,785 feet. From these ranges spring the headwaters of the Green, Snake, and Yellowstone Rivers. The forest is part of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, the largest remaining area of undeveloped lands in the conterminous United States.
Hiking (approximately 3000 miles of backcountry trails), skiing (two alpine areas, helicopter, two nordic centers, and 41 miles of marked cross-country trails), snowmobiling (220 miles of groomed trails), river rafting, canoeing, motor boating, wind surfing, mountaineering, mountain biking, horseback riding, hunting, and fishing.
Due to the variable microclimates, a multitude of habitats are present on the Bridger-Teton, supporting some of the richest fauna of the National Forest system. The forest is home to all big game species found in the intermountain west, including elk, deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, pronghorn antelope, and black bear. Other wildlife species include grizzly bear (threatened), North American lynx, wolverine, fisher, pine martin, Kendall Warm Springs dace (endangered), and native populations of Colorado Rover, Snake River fine spotted, and Bonneville cutthroat trout.
Nearby Points of Interest
The National Elk Refuge, where thousands of elk can be viewed in the winter from turnouts along Highway 26 north of Jackson and from sleigh rides at the Refuge-Visitor Center; sixty miles south of Jackson, crossing Afton's main street is the world's largest (75 feet) elkhorn arch. Periodic Spring, east of Afton, is the largest of only three natural cold water geysers in the world. A pristine, well marked segment of the Lander Cutoff—the first federally funded road project west of the Mississippi—crosses the Forest from around Big Piney to Afton. Several significant features such as original trail ruts, road beds, grave markers, and aspen carvings are located along the Cutoff. Fremont, Half Moon, New Forks, and several of other large lakes along the southwestern flank of the Wind River Mountain Range provide outstanding examples of topography left by the Pleistocene glaciation.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication