Hey, everyone! The conditions have changed drastically over the past week and it’s GO TIME! Snowpack has diminished rapidly and access is improving throughout the entire range. 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 and WARM.
Head’s up: The mosquitos are here (cue dramatic music: dun, dun, dunnnnnnnnn!) and 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. We have received reports of bear activity at Big Sandy Lake, so be extra aware and 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. 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 about as rough as it typically is. 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 opening rapidly.
New Fork Lakes – The road to the trailhead is open and in good shape. The trail up the valley is hikeable, with some boggy and muddy sections. 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 opening quickly and access to Photographer’s Point is open. Sacred Rim is accessible, but there are 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. 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 Mae’s Lake. On the other side of the divide, Jackass Pass is still holding just a bit of snow, but it’s quite passable, and 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. There has been reported bear activity at Big Sandy Lake, so be wise.
Be safe and enjoy! If we can help with any trip planning, please feel free to give us a shout anytime!
*cover-Cirque of the Towers, July 9. Photo courtesy of Josh Hattan.
Approaching the crest of Jackass Pass, July 9. Photo courtesy of Josh Hattan.
Plenty of open ground to camp in the Cirque. Photo courtesy of Josh Hattan.