Looks like spring is officially upon us! Mid-50s to low-60s seems to be the norm lately, with temps just above freezing for the low at night. This is important. This means the snow-pack is continuing to melt through the night, which speeds up the amount of time until we can get above 10,000 feet. The afternoon storms are back as well; this helps the melting process but also send the rivers into runoff and makes creek crossings more swift. The current snowline is sitting between 9600 and 9800 feet. The snow depth at 10,000 feet is 15-28 inches.
Big Sandy Opening has officially recorded zero inches of snow at the trailhead. The spring creek past the last turnoff has flooded the road and it’s inadvisable to push through the flooding until the water recedes. I’d say give it about a week and you’ll be all set. Past the spring creek, expect very muddy roads and fallen trees.
Scab Creek trailhead is in great condition. The road is dry and has been freshly graded. Be aware that camping is not allowed anywhere along the road to Scab Creek until you get to the campground. The campground is currently open. The trail itself is in incredible condition, and the trail is snow free until about .5 miles from Toboggan Lake. Multiple downed trees and muddy trails to be expected. STAY ON THE TRAIL! When you walk around downed trees over the trail you create a new path and speed up the erosion process.
Boulder Lake trailhead, the lowest of the southern trailheads in the range, is open and dry up to Lake Ethel and Blueberry Lake. Be aware of black bears with cubs in the area as well as moose. Give these majestic animals plenty of space.
Elkhart Park is about a week from melting out (melting at 1-3 inches per day), with about a foot of snow left at the trailhead. Be aware that although the gauging station will eventually read zero, the trail from Elkhart stays nestled in the trees, therefore a “0” reading on the Wyoming Snotel Map doesn’t necessarily mean the trail will be snow-free. Expect muddy trail conditions and downed trees.
Good luck getting to Spring Creek trailhead! The road is washed and isn’t expected to be open anytime soon.
New Fork Lakes road is dry all the way to the campground and trailhead. The upper portion of the lake will still be flooded, so expect muddy conditions in the upper New Fork valley, although the snow will have melted already.
Green River Lakes is currently inaccessible. The road up to the Warm Springs has melted, but the choke in the road just past the springs drifts in with snow and is one of the last parts to melt enough to get a car through. Once that melts, expect snow in the Big Bend portion of the road.
As a very important side note… CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF. This means scattering cold fire rings, NOT burning your trash, packing out what you pack in, and (I can’t believe I have to say this one) PROPERLY dispose of your waste. As more hikers, backpackers and climbers access the Winds, the idea of using the Wilderness responsibly falls more squarely on our shoulders as a collective user group. Use common sense and the seven Leave No Trace principles, so that other users can have an untainted experience and future users can experience the beauty of our wild backyard.
We do share the Wilderness with lots of other creatures. Make sure to do you part in not allowing bears in the Wind River Range to become habituated to humans by hanging your food and practicing proper food storage. This is true above, as well as below, treeline.
If you have any questions regarding trip planning or gear, feel free to give us a call at (307) 367-2440 or email email@example.com. We carry a full stock of rental backpacking and mountaineering equipment, as well as fishing setups, bear spray and bear-proof containers, fuel and a full assortment of books and maps. Visit us online www.greatoutdoorshop.com to see trip reports, current conditions, or to browse our online store. Our staff is ready to help you plan a Wind River trip or to help with any questions you may have along the way.