The Newton Lakes area has plenty of variety to keep boredom at bay while trail running. You can choose to run around one lake, part of the other lake and even add in some elevation by heading out the trails to the north of Newton Lakes. You'll have a panorama of scenery here, encompassing the mouth of Shoshone Canyon, Red Butte, Heart Mountain and even east to the Bighorn Mountains.
What Makes It Great
A wealth of possibilities is available for trail runners at Newton Lakes. The trail around both East and West Newton is flat, just in case Cody's elevation is bothering you. You can get about halfway around the east side of West Newton before you begin floundering in the willows and find yourself on private land. For the most part the trails here are wide and level, with a rock or sagebrush root thrown in to keep you on your toes.
There can be tall grasses on the north end of the east lake that crowd the trail. The lakes themselves provide wonderful ambiance as well as a possibility for cooling off with a quick wade. You should see a bit of wildlife including mule deer, waterfowl, eagles, and possibility a coyote. Mornings and evenings are best unless you enjoy sweltering in the mid-day sun of mid-summer. A quick spray of insect repellent before you head out wouldn't be amiss. If you want to bring the family you can let them play in the shallows of the lake while you take off for a quick run. Picnic tables and a vault toilet up the enjoyment factor for families with kids.
Who is Going to Love It
The sense of isolation you can get at Newton Lakes is unbelievable, considering it’s just a five minute drive from downtown. The scenery is spectacular and you can get in a quick run before the day really gets going. This is a great area for running - you’ve got flat trails around the two lakes or you can head up the ridgeline to the north and add in some elevation and even more scenery.
The trails to the north of Newton Lakes are popular with the mountain biking crowd. There are several trails here and most of the connect at some point. You can see a good map of the trails provided by the Park County Peddlers at http://parkcountypedalers.org/mountain-bike-trails.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From Cody, take WY 120 north 3.9 miles to County Road 7WC, or the Newton Lakes Road. You’ll also see the sign for the Cody Shooting Complex. Turn left and continue another mile to the entrance to the area. Turn right. East Newton Lake is directly right, while West Newton is straight ahead.
Newton Lakes is operated jointly by the Bureau of Reclamation and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department as a cold water trout fishery. There are no fees and leashed pets are welcome. There’s ample parking at both lakes. Depending upon the wind direction you might hear gunfire from the shooting complex which is down the road, especially on the weekends. Watch for rattlesnakes and if you’re going to continue your run on the trails to the north, take bear spray.