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Description

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.

Ropers CabinRopers Place

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.

Guides

If you are looking for a guide to get you to the Echo Lodge:

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User Comments

  1. Edward Winslow |

    The wife and I took a drive to Echo lodge June 2016, I walked up to old cabin took a couple pictures, pretty much torn down by the weather, I think I might still find Bill Ropers Grave, just West of cabin about a block .My brother in law Art Ellis rented a cabin over by lodge during that same period. We were pretty poor and live off the fish we caught.

    • Al Walsh |

      Thank you for sharing your memories. Even with the current state of the old cabins it is still a beautiful place.

  2. Edward Winslow |

    In 1960,s we rented cabin across from main lodge for several years, we had many wonderful times fishing camping riding motor cycles, ridiing truck tubes down hill towards creek. we had, it was a great place to raise children we had our spring which never went dry

  3. Rick Doll |

    My Grandparents bought Echo Lodge from Bobbie Thompson. I grew up on that property. The name “Echo Lodge” was penned by my Grandmother. I have photo’s from the 1940’s thru the the 1970’s. The Gov’t took this property from my family in 1977. This is a very special place to me and my brother Rob. Thanks for posting this.

    • Thank you Rick, we love to be able to share places like this with people and we’re humbled when we find someone like yourself with a personal connection to a historic site.

      • Rick Doll |

        Al,
        Thanks for the response. If you contact me at my email, I will provide you with a couple of photo’s of how it looked when occupied.

    • Tony |

      Hi Rick,

      I find this area and the story of Bobbie Thomson very interesting. I’m trying to find out more about the Thomsons. Do you have any info about books I may read, or might you know a little of their history before they move into the area?

      Thanks,
      Tony

      • Hello Tony,

        The only book I’ve come across that mentions Echo Lodge is “The Medicine Bows” by Scott Thybony, Robert G. Rosenberg, and Elizabeth Mullett Rosenberg. And that only offers a little more than a page worth of information. Which is on page 149 by the way.

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