Trail Spotlight: Morrison Jeep Trail
Wyoming Must-Do Trail
From the Rubicon Trail to the many trails in Moab, most avid off-roaders have a list of must-do trails to tackle. One trail that deserves a spot on your bucket list is the Morrison Trail. Located in the Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming, this remote trail is close to Yellowstone National Park.
It’s a Challenging Test
With a combination of rugged terrain and high altitude, the Morrison Trail is a test for even seasoned off-roaders. Spanning 22 miles, this narrow (just 8' in spots), single-lane trail has deep ruts and large rocks to navigate. Featuring a staggering 27 switchbacks and no turnouts, the trail demands the skills and concentration of an experienced off-roader. The trail climbs from 4,500' in the Clarks Fork River Valley to over 10,000' at the top of the Beartooth Plateau. The switchbacks are extremely tight; if you’re in a Jeep Gladiator or any long wheelbase vehicle, you’ll need to make many five-point turns.
How Long Does It Take to Complete?
While the trail is only 22 miles, it is a good idea to take a full day to do this trail. The drive to the base of the trail is a couple of hours from Cody, Wyoming, on a rough trail. You can camp at the base of the switchbacks the night before and hit the trail the next morning.
Once you reach the top, you can travel along the trail and camp on top of the plateau. There are plenty of secluded camping spots on the plateau with access to amazing trout fishing at high elevation fishing holes. The weather in this area can be all over the spectrum, so you’ll want to be prepared for all kinds of weather; what starts out as a beautiful day can quickly turn into a snow squall. And don’t forget your bug spray, as the mosquitoes can be a nuisance.
While the trail isn’t for the faint of heart, you’ll be rewarded with incredible views of the Beartooth Mountains. A perfect spot to pause and take in all the sights is at the 15-mile mark which is the highest switchback of the trail. In addition to the breathtaking scenery, you may encounter black bears, grizzly bears, elk, moose, and deer. Be sure to pack bear spray before starting out on this adventure.
When To Go
Weather plays a big role on the status of the Morrison Trail. Snow usually closes the trail from October to June, while rain at other times of the year can also cause closures. (In fact, devastating floods in June 2022 resulted in widespread closures on the trail). Before setting out for a day on the trail, it is always wise to check the USDA Forest Service’s Alerts & Notices page for the Shoshone National Forest.
Morrison Trail Tips
Tackling the Morrison Trail requires concentration and an experienced driver. In addition, these tips can help you on this challenging trail.
- Prepare Your Vehicle – Be sure that your vehicle is up to the task. Check out our tips for outfitting your rig for a day on the trail.
- No Towing – Due to the precision needed in navigating the many switchbacks on the trail, having a tow-behind trailer isn’t recommended.
- Don’t Go It Alone – Make sure you are with another vehicle as you will need each other to spot your way through the switchbacks.
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