If you drive past Fox Park on Forest Road 512, in the Medicine Bow National Forest, on your way to the North Platte River, you’ll come across some old log buildings where Smith North Creek joins Douglas Creek. This is what remains of Echo Lodge.
Originally it was called Roper’s Row or the Roper Place after Billy Roper who built it. Billy placer mined in the Smith North Creek until the gold started to run out, then he built the lodge. His main customers were miners and tie hacks but there were also tourists, fishermen and hunters who would pass through.
There were many social gatherings in the main lodge and it’s rumored that Billy made his own moonshine during prohibition. In the early 1920s, Tommy and Edith Thomson moved in with Billy and helped him run the place.
After Billy’s death the Thomson’s continued to operate Roper’s Row for another 14 years before selling it. After that it became known as Echo Lodge and continued operating into the 1970s under a special use permit from the Forest Service.
The two pictures above came from the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming (see note 4). While they are undated, these pictures still provide a great look back in time.
We have a lot more modern pictures of Echo Lodge in a flickr set. You’ll even see a few from the same vantage point as the historic pictures above.
Just remember if you visit Echo Lodge, take only pictures and leave only footprints because we can’t enjoy it when it’s gone.
To get here follow Wyoming Highway 230 southwest from Laramie, then get on Forest Road 512 toward Fox Park. Follow Forest Road 512 for about 8.5 miles total. Right after you cross a bridge over Douglas Creek, you’ll see the cabins up Smith North Creek to your right.
If you are looking for a guide to get you to the Echo Lodge: