Wind River Range Trip

802flyfish

Active Member
My girlfriend and I are looking to do a 4 night trip in the Wind River Range. There seems to be so many options out there.. Anyone have any recommendations on a starting point or a particular loop? Were going the first week of July. I'm a little worried with the current Snow pack being at 120%.
 

Greg Armstrong

WFF Supporter
Mosquito repellent. They were thick in '72.
I went in from Dubois side, mostly cross country off the trail to the streams and lakes where we found the trout abundant between mosquito slaps.
 

802flyfish

Active Member
Seems a lot of people hike into island Lake from Elkpark trailhead and use that as a base camp to explore near by lakes.
 
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Find someplace else to go in early July. Many trails will be snowed in and snow-free meadows will be boggy and buggy (mosquitos are bad in July).

If that warning doesn't put you off, then here is my recommendation. Consider going in from the Big Sandy Opening trailhead and establishing a camp near Big Sandy Lake. Big Sandy Lake is low elevation enough that it will be snow-free in early July. From there, you can do a lot of great day hikes. South to Clear Lake, Deep Lake, and Temple Lake. East over Jackass pass to the Cirque of the Towers (trail probably will be snow-covered, but the way is easily followed). North past Dads and Marms Lakes to Shadow Lake and the Washakie Basin (back side of the Cirque, as climbers say). There are loops you can do in the area, but all involve high travel that will be snow covered. All of the lakes and streams have fish, but all streams will be high with runoff then.

Elkhart Park trailhead and destinations from there are all higher elevation and will be difficult travel at that time of year.
 
802flyfish,
check google earth. The most recent sat images for the southern Winds is from June 29, 2014, which was a relatively low snowpack year to get some idea of what the area will look like at that time of year. Both Deep Lake and Temple Lake, above and to the south of Big Sandy, are still ice covered.
 

bakerite

Active Member
I took a canoe form Lower Green River Lake to the Upper lake and camped years ago with my wife before we were married. That's a lower elevation trip that was very beautiful with Squaretop. We were the only people at the upper lake.
 

Sir Homey

Level 7 Dungeon Master
I wouldn't entirely rule out July. Much depends on how far ahead of the trip before you need to actually commit. The Great Outdoor Shop in Pinedale is a good resource too. You'll get a better sense of conditions the closer you get to going. Check your PMs.
 

cmann886

Active Member
Find someplace else to go in early July. Many trails will be snowed in and snow-free meadows will be boggy and buggy (mosquitos are bad in July).

If that warning doesn't put you off, then here is my recommendation. Consider going in from the Big Sandy Opening trailhead and establishing a camp near Big Sandy Lake. Big Sandy Lake is low elevation enough that it will be snow-free in early July. From there, you can do a lot of great day hikes. South to Clear Lake, Deep Lake, and Temple Lake. East over Jackass pass to the Cirque of the Towers (trail probably will be snow-covered, but the way is easily followed). North past Dads and Marms Lakes to Shadow Lake and the Washakie Basin (back side of the Cirque, as climbers say). There are loops you can do in the area, but all involve high travel that will be snow covered. All of the lakes and streams have fish, but all streams will be high with runoff then.

Elkhart Park trailhead and destinations from there are all higher elevation and will be difficult travel at that time of year.
+1 for this recommendation. Take lots of jungle juice or you will be bled dry anytime you stop. Taking a whizz or a dump can be problematic.

My Dad, (79 at the time) brothers and I did the easy section starting at Big Sandy and went past Dads, Marms, and Pyramid in 2016. I would have liked to have gone over the pass for a couple of days, but given the age of our group it wasn’t feasible. Great scenery, unless you are the kind that think all lakes, like all women, look the same.
 

JackJester

Active Member
My wife and I did the same trip as cmann and Richard O. July 4 weekend 1996. Worst mosquitoes ever! Still what we compare every trip against as it was our #10 for worst skeeter level. They even bit through our nylon rain coats and we pretty much ran out of there the last 5 miles. Not as bad up at the higher windier cirque lakes, but you gotta go through the bugier lakes on the way (e.g., Dads/Marms). Good fishing and amazing scenery, but not worth it other than the stories we can tell later. Oh, and we also learned that DEET weakens fishing line (many break-offs until I figured out what was happening), so you gotta keep your hands free of the stuff. I bet it is awesome in early Sept, after some of the smaller tarns have dried out a bit.
 
In the 70s and early 80s, I lived in the Tetons and spent a lot of time in the Winds. I learned early that the Winds were not very much fun in July. Really the prime season starts after the first below-freezing night in the high country, which can be as early as the first week of August. From then until snow makes travel impassable there is no place on earth I would rather be. The locals would plan their trips for after Labor Day when the crowds would thin out. One of my most memorable trips was in October, with two first ascents of fabulous lines on back to back days. Most of my trips were from either the Big Sandy Opening or Elkhart Park trailheads, because they led to the most popular climbing areas. Since then I've learned that some of the other trailheads have less crowded trails (although if the Cascades are your standard, none of the trails there will seem crowded) and perhaps better fishing.
 

Yadwick

Active Member
In the 70s and early 80s, I lived in the Tetons and spent a lot of time in the Winds. I learned early that the Winds were not very much fun in July. Really the prime season starts after the first below-freezing night in the high country, which can be as early as the first week of August. From then until snow makes travel impassable there is no place on earth I would rather be. The locals would plan their trips for after Labor Day when the crowds would thin out. One of my most memorable trips was in October, with two first ascents of fabulous lines on back to back days. Most of my trips were from either the Big Sandy Opening or Elkhart Park trailheads, because they led to the most popular climbing areas. Since then I've learned that some of the other trailheads have less crowded trails (although if the Cascades are your standard, none of the trails there will seem crowded) and perhaps better fishing.

I like climbing! Richard what mtn did you do first ascents on? That is sweet!
 
I like climbing! Richard what mtn did you do first ascents on? That is sweet!
If you know the Winds, we were in the Jean Lakes basin (just west of the Titcomb basin) and did routes on the NW ridge of G2 and on the south face of Arrowhead, which had only one route previously (by Fred Beckey, of course).
 

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