Elkhart Park Trailhead: Long Lake

with 3 Comments

DATE RANGE:

October 23, 2014

TRAILHEAD:

Elkhart Park

ITINERARY:

Pine Creek Canyon Trail (#165)

DISTANCE:

+/- 4 miles

AREA MAPS:

Beartooth Publishing: North Wind River Range

Earthwalk Press: North Wind River Range

USGS 7.5 minute Topographical Maps: Fremont Lake North, Bridger Lakes

Books and maps can be purchased here.

THE TRIP:

Josh and I decided to take advantage of the gorgeous fall day and head to Long Lake for some fishing.

Here’s the deal: Long Lake is beautiful. Long Lake is quiet. Long Lake is easy to get to. Why?

Because Long Lake is hard to get back from.

While it is easy to hike DOWN two-thousand feet in about 2 miles, it is unanimously decided to be nowhere near as fun to hike back up.

But, that does give you some solitude. Yes it does.

In fact, we didn’t see another single person. We didn’t even see another car in the parking lot….and that’s pretty rad.

You access the trail to Long Lake out of Elkhart Park Trailhead. However, remember that there are two trailheads at Elkhart Park. For Long Lake you need the Pine Creek Canyon trail, which lies beyond the Trails End Campground. You pretty much just go downhill the entire time, and it starts right off the bat.

You get some nice views of the upper end of Fremont Lake while you are hiking, but Long Lake hides from view until you are right upon it.

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The trail itself is in fantastic condition, despite its lack of regular use. Winding through thickly forested sections of trail, it would have been a stunning hike two weeks ago before the aspens lost all of their leaves.

Long Lake appears suddenly out of dense pine cover, and it is a gorgeous lake surrounded by forested hills on one side and sheer canyon walls on the other. Ice climbing does develop here in the winter, but the approach is so silly that no one bothers much with it.

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We sat and enjoyed the scenery for a few minutes before moving along to the outlet. During runoff, the outlet is roaring with water from the melting snow in the mountains. Generally, this time of year the water is slower and quieter. However, I was shocked at how much water was still gushing down the falls.

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Josh dug out his Tenkara Rod and some flies and headed downriver to find some pocket water to fish. I dug out my book and settled down on a cozy rock to read.

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After a bit, I dug out my camera and wandered around. The Wind River Range is a photographer’s dream. I don’t even know what I’m doing out there and my photos look pretty good; imagine what a trained professional could do.  Haha!

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I also managed to see Josh catching a few fish, although I was too far away to really see much. But, I took some photos anyway, because he was in his happy place, and I was in mine.

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All in all, it was another great day exploring our beautiful area. Long Lake may be a bear to hike out of, but the solitude and beauty are sometimes worth it. So, check it out for yourselves and get your sweat on (seriously a grunt coming back up).

Happy Trails,

Laura

3 Responses

  1. robertcdeming
    | Reply

    Great photos! I’ve done many trips in the Winds, but I might have forgotten how beautiful they are, and why I went back year after year.

    • Laura
      | Reply

      Hi Robert!
      They are humbling in their beauty; and that’s why I’m here! When you visit the Winds for the first time, you just have to come back. I moved here after my first trip!

  2. robertcdeming
    | Reply

    Reblogged this on robertcdeming and commented:
    I have done many trips in these mountains, and they are every bit as beautiful as these photos represent.

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