Boulder Basin Trail - Hiking

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After feasting your eyes on the scenery of the South Fork Valley on the drive to the trailhead, you’ll continue enjoying the views from the trail. You’ll be channeling your inner bighorn sheep after negotiating the switchbacks that take you into this lonely, yet lovely spot.

Written by

Leslie Tribble


14.5 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

37.1 miles


4 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

1 days


Summer and Fall

Summer - Early Fall

Dog Friendly

On Leash Only

Fees Permits




All the hikes in the South Fork Valley are steep. You start along the river and have no place to go but up for the first few miles. But well-designed switchbacks and great views to enjoy while resting make the climb enjoyable. Boulder Basin comes alive in the fall with hunting season so enjoy this hike early in the summer, before mid-August. Unless of course you love sporting blaze orange and jumping out of the way of horses.

What Makes It Great

Scenery, a chance to enter the rugged and remote Boulder Basin country and possibly having the area to yourself are what people most enjoy about this trail. From Cody it’s an easy drive to the trailhead. You’ll pass historic guest ranches, a one room schoolhouse and get a chance to look at some jaw-dropping scenery.  

From the trailhead, the hike heads southeast along the clear path. There are three gates on the trail. The first one is right at the beginning, the second at 1.1 miles and the third at 1.6 miles.  This is prime federal grazing land so be respectful and close the gates behind you. The hike takes you through some beautiful forests and a lot of switchbacks to gain the saddle. This is a long, steady ascent, but you’ll have stunning views of the South Fork valley to keep you occupied. The switchbacks are fairly exposed so be careful during thunderstorms.  

From the saddle you’ll start your descent into Boulder Basin, passing through an old burn. You’ll arrive at Boulder Creek at 6.35 miles. Take a break, turn around, climb back out and then down those pesky switchbacks back to your car. Without falling off the trail, keep your head up so you can take in the views of the craggy, massive mountains and the narrow valley of the South Fork of the Shoshone River on the way down. Maybe you won’t notice your screaming thighs or bruised toes.  Maybe.

Who is Going to Love It

This is a hike for active, fit people. The switchbacks can seem tough and unrelenting and you’ll definitely feel the elevation gain. Be prepared to stop, a lot, to suck in vast quantities of the pitiful amount of available oxygen at this altitude. The views, however are worth the effort. Give yourself plenty of time and enjoy the day. This is a perfect early season hike. The exposed switchbacks blow free of snow allowing you to hike in May. You’ll probably see bighorn sheep, elk, deer and grizzly, hopefully from a distance.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

From Cody, take US HWY 14/16/20 west for 2.5 miles and turn left at the South Fork Road.  Drive to 36.5 miles and turn left onto Hunter Creek Road (Forest Road 480). Take Hunter Creek almost to the end at 41.6 miles and locate the parking lot just to the left off the road. There’s plenty of parking, no fees and leashed pets are welcome. 

You’ll want both your bear spray and a camera. Folks back home won’t believe it when you gush about the incredible views.  There probably won’t be cell service here.

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Boulder Basin Trail

Cody, WY, 82414
44.153941, -109.60184

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