East Yellowstone, Wyoming
Chapters  1 2 3

Getaway to Lodges of East Yellowstone

A couple finds adventure in the natural beauty of East Yellowstone, Wyoming

By Lee Fisher

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A moose and a calf in Yellowstone National Park near East Yellowstone lodging in Wyoming

Steve and I came to the North Fork of the Shoshone River with one goal in mind: to get away from it all. As we hiked along the Eagle Creek Trail, we quickly realized we had done just that. Cell phones no longer had service. We turned them off, tucked them into our packs and felt ourselves slowing down to enjoy the day and the scenery surrounding the lodges of East Yellowstone, Wyoming.

A moose and a calf in Yellowstone National Park near East Yellowstone lodging in Wyoming

It is a full 33 miles and quite a gain in elevation from the Eagle Creek trailhead to Eagle Pass, and without horses to haul our gear and us, we didn’t plan to hike that far. Instead, we wanted to slow down and enjoy this part of the Shoshone National Forest with no specific mileage goal in mind. We liked the fact that this well-traveled trail had enough vertical climb to make our legs and lungs burn, and it provided ample payoff in terms of wild and beautiful terrain.

Natural surroundings

A fisherman casts his line in a lake near the lodges of East Yellowstone in Wyoming

After hiking for a couple of hours, we stopped to dig into our packs for the cheese and fruit that we’d picked up at our lodge before heading out that morning. Savoring our snack from our perch on a big rock not far above the trail, we rested and took a moment to savor the rugged country surrounding us.

Feeling refreshed and refueled, we continued up the trail. We walked hand-in-hand for another hour or so, not only connecting with the landscape, but also with each other. Along the way, we stopped to listen to birdsongs and cascading water, and spotted tracks of elk and coyotes. We’d been told that grizzly bears reside in this area, but we didn’t see any recent signs—just a couple of trees where we could see claw marks high above our heads.

It was only mid-afternoon when we decided to wrap up our hike, so Steve suggested we try the nearby Sleeping Giant zipline. I’ll admit I was nervous until the moment I was actually zipping above the forest—it was so much fun! We were truly exhilarated by the time we were back in the car and felt ready to head back to the lodge and the comfort of our cabin.

A fisherman casts his line in a lake near the lodges of East Yellowstone in Wyoming

We were hungry from the day’s adventures, but the idea of something cold to drink was equally enticing. After a quick wash-up in our cabin, we headed to the lodge for some whiskey and beer. We joined other travelers and easily fell into conversation about that day’s adventures. Steve and I talked animatedly about our hike and zipline adventure, while other guests told us about spending the day fly-fishing with a guide from the lodge along the North Fork of the Shoshone River, catching and releasing rainbow trout. Even though we’d never met the other guests, there was something about sharing in new experiences together that created a welcoming of camaraderie that I’d never experienced.

After a delicious dinner of steak and fresh vegetables with homemade rolls, Steve and I joined our new friends around the campfire. The night was cool and crisp with a gentle breeze, and I leaned my head against Steve’s shoulder, mesmerized by the dancing flames and the warmth on my face. It was so peaceful and romantic that we lingered until the fire started to die down, when we strolled down the path back to our cozy cabin, feeling utterly relaxed. We had one more full day here and knew it would be another great adventure.

Invigorating ride

A person rides a horse and pulls three other horses carrying supplies through a river in Yellowstone National Park near the lodges of East Yellowstone, WY

We woke up early to have a hearty pancake breakfast in preparation for a day of horseback riding in the North Absaroka Wilderness area and the eastern edge of Yellowstone National Park. Our guide led us on a big loop along Crow Creek, Jones Creek and the North Fork of the Shoshone River.

This is steep mountain country with fast flowing creeks, deep forest and lush mountain meadows. Wildflowers painted the hillsides with splashes of color, and we saw—and heard—hawks, magpies and mountain bluebirds soaring above our heads.  Our guide pointed out fresh grizzly bear tracks, clearly stamped in an area of soft mud beside the creek. While Steve had said he wanted to see a grizzly at a distance, I was quite relieved that we did not come upon one on the trail.

A person rides a horse and pulls three other horses carrying supplies through a river in Yellowstone National Park near the lodges of East Yellowstone, WY

We dismounted in a sunny meadow for a lunch break and pulled the sack lunches the lodge packed for us out of our saddlebags. Our guide loosened the saddles on the horses and we all had a nice break. The horses, hobbled to keep them from straying too far, grazed as we ate. We stretched out in the grass and caught a quick nap in the gentle sunshine before tightening saddle girths and continuing the ride.

The full day on horses took us deep into the wild country, and it was the perfect complement to our prior day of hiking up Eagle Creek.

As we packed our bags to leave the following afternoon, we knew this getaway to the lodges of East Yellowstone had really done the trick. Our muscles were sore from hiking and riding, but our minds were clear and refreshed. We had successfully forgotten about cell phones and computers—instead, we had happily soaked in natural sights and sounds. When I eventually turned my phone back on while sitting in the passenger seat on the drive home, the first thing I did was add another trip to East Yellowstone to our calendars.

Plan your getaway to the Lodges of East Yellowstone.