Snow and rain continue to fall on the Rockies above 10,000 feet-it has been a cold spring and intro to summer, but after this past week we are seeing the snowpack moving quickly. Overall, all trails below 9500 feet are snow free and hikeable, but be aware of muddy trails and high stream crossings as our temperatures inch up. Always check NOAA forecasts for the Pinedale area to get an idea of the weather we’re experiencing. Throughout May and June the weather almost gave us whiplash it was so back and forth, but July has been fairly stable. The past couple days have been cold and we have witnessed some hellacious storms, but prior to that we had days in the upper 70s in town and it actually started to feel like summer.
Head’s up: The mosquitos have arrived, ( cue dramatic music: dun, dun, dunnnnnnnnn!) and as the snow continues to melt off, there’s a lot of standing water around, so be prepared with bug spray and headnets. Long sleeves and pants are recommended. The animals are also out and about, so remember to please give them plenty of space and respect their right to be wild out there. With snow still clinging up high, the animals are sharing more space down low than they may be accustomed to, so be aware. Be responsible with your food and campsites and carry bear spray always. Water crossings are rising rapidly each day and the currents are high and swift. Snow travel can be treacherous if you are not properly prepared, so think things through before you go out. We love our local Search and Rescue crew, but we also love people not putting these wonderful volunteers in harrowing, dangerous conditions that could have easily been avoided with a little research. Be safe-when in doubt, pick a new route.
Green River Lakes – The road to the lakes is open and clear of snow. The Highline Trail is clear to Three Forks Park, and the Porcupine Trail is accessible for about 9 miles. High country lakes such as Lozier Lakes are still frozen and the terrain is completely snow-covered, but opening up rapidly. You absolutely cannot do the Lozier Lakes loop snow-free yet.
New Fork Lakes – The road to the trailhead is open and in good shape. The trail up the valley is hikeable, but muddy. Bugs will be bad down in the valley and in the willows-watch for moose and bears! Both campgrounds are open.
Spring Creek Park – The road is open and in about as good of shape as it always is. Expect some boggy stuff in the trees and watch for mosquitos. Trapper Lake and Glimpse Lake are fishing well. Elbow is nearly accessible without snow, but not quite snow-free yet.
Elkhart Park Trailhead – The Pine Creek Canyon Trail is accessible to Long Lake, but the stream crossing is dangerous beyond the lake, so don’t try to go much further. The Pole Creek Trail is still holding about a foot of snow prior to Photographer’s Point. Sacred Rim is accessible, with a couple drifts and lots of downed trees. The Pole Creek crossing is sketchy. This is the scariest stream crossing in the Range in the early season. It is wide, so it doesn’t always look very intimidating, but it is deep and swift and should not be attempted right now. If Chain Lakes is your jam, use a different route.
Boulder Lake Trailhead – Boulder is quite open, although Boulder Creek is raging. Be mindful of all crossings. The mosquitos are bad, but the fishing is good!
Scab Creek Trailhead – The road is passable and dry up to the campground, which is open, but no services are available. The trail is hikeable up to about 9700 feet. Scab Creek Buttress is dry and in good condition to climb.
Big Sandy Trailhead – Big Sandy is open and accessible. Patchy snow to Shadow Lake, but the trail through Fish Creek Park is fairly open to just past Skull Lake. On the other side of the divide, Jackass Pass is still holding snow, although the top of the Pass is clear. There is still snow in the basin, but it’s moving quickly. Deep and Clear Lake are much more open and accessible. Watch for some muddy sections along the road. The bugs are thick at the trailhead/campground and in the meadows holding water.
Be safe and enjoy! If we can help with any trip planning, please feel free to give us a shout anytime!
*cover-Upper Titcomb Basin on Monday, July 1. Photo courtesy of TipTop Search and Rescue.
Water coming down from Suicide Lake
Upper Titcomb Basin