I don’t expect that this letterbox will get much traffic.
It’s at the end of a long walk in an out of the way, off-trail place.
But if you do go looking for this box, you will also find one of the most beautiful places in the United States, as well as some of the best trout fishing in Wyoming. A friend of our’s calls this place Trout Shangri-La, so that’s what we call it too. You will always catch fish here – even if you’re not very good at fishing, like we are. On maps this place is called the Box Canyon. It is located some distance into the Tongue River Canyon near Dayton, Wyoming.
A compass will be helpful in finding this box.
The general coordinates for the Box Canyon are 44°49'50.16"N, 107°22'31.15"W. This is not the exact location of the letterbox – just to give you something to punch into Google Earth if you want to look at it there.
The hike to the Box Canyon is around 7 miles roundtrip. The hiking is somewhat rocky and often uphill. You will have to go cross-country for the second part of the walk. The climb down to the canyon is not technical, but it is very steep and should be approached carefully. I left the letterbox on the overlook before the drop into the canyon in case you don’t feel like or are unable to climb down. But really, you should. It is a beautiful untouched place that only gets traffic from local fishermen – and even then not very often. It really does fit the description of Shangri-La – a mythical, wonderous place.
The first part of the hike is covered by the map for my Native Wyomingite letterbox. Use this map and directions to find this box first.
After finding that box you have hiked 2.5 miles and are near the junction of Sheep Creek and the Tongue River. Continue going southwest on the trail you’ve been following. This will take you up a very steep hill. You’ll pass a post on your left and the trail will curve around. Soon you will see, on your left (south) the entrance to the Box Canyon. That’s where you are headed.
You will need to go cross-country across this open space to get to the Canyon. You can’t really lose your way, though some ways are easier than others. There are game trails here and there through the grass. If you are willing to hike farther up the main trail (to the area near a Forest Service Improvement area sign) and then cut across it’s easier but you’ll have to hoof it up a big hill on the trail first.
Do you see those three pine trees between you and the canyon? Head for those and rest in the shade. Then continue on to the overlook. You’ll know when you get there. Below you is Trout Shangri-La! I hid the letterbox on the north side of several large rocks here on the overlook. Which rocks, right? Well, there are two large rocks and between them a mountain bush or tree (sorry, I don’t know my plants) is growing. The rock on the left is spotted with orange moss. The rock on the right is smaller. If you turn around and face the main trail, these rocks lay directly south of the three pine trees you may have rested beneath. The letterbox is between the two rocks, underneath it’s own smaller rock. Please rehide well, etc.
If you want to continue on down to Shangri-La, there are several routes down the cliff. Be patient, go slow and look for the best route until you find it. Watch out for cacti and stay off the rocks when they are wet. Once you are at the bottom there are numerous pools full of rainbow, brook and the native cutthroat trout that you can climb to. They are hungry and easy to catch!
Walk out the way you came in, in a slightly more exhausted manner.