Just when you think it’s finally summer… You get another 6 inches of snow in town and it melts the next day! That’s just the way things go in Wyoming. All of us at the shop can attest to having seen snow in every month of the year in town and in the Winds! With that being said, current trail conditions haven’t changed much since last week. The latest low-pressure weather system brought 3-4 days worth of intermittent snow to the high peaks. The general snow line for the range continues to hover between 10,000 and 10,200 feet.
On the bright side, sunny weather (see what I did there?) and temperatures in the 70s will pick up right where it left off, and we should start to see that snow line inching higher every day. High country weather patterns can be hard to nail down (and can change at a moment’s notice), but as we ease into the summer months we see clear mornings, followed by cloud build-up starting around noon, with afternoon storms and then clear weather afterwards. This is obvious to change on a day-to-day basis, but expect that pattern as a general rule when planning your trip. Check out Mountain Forecast reports to see what’s happening up high.
Lots of activity going on at Big Sandy Opening. There have been reports of several parties going to Big Sandy Lake, as well as many trekking beyond and into the Cirque. Expect snow on Jackass Pass and snow completely blanketing the Cirque. Within the next week, we should start to see some of that snow opening up and camping on grass may be possible. All the lakes in the area, above 10,000 feet, will be frozen. Big Sandy Lodge is officially open; Wes Morris and the rest of the lodge staff are incredibly helpful and can help with pack trips, lodging, food and drinks.
Scab Creek is faring a bit better on the snow front. Expect patchy snow in the trees the closer you get to Dream Lake and Raid Lake. The Highline Trail in that area of the range should be relatively melted out; again, expect snow in the trees.
Boulder Lake trailhead is in fantastic shape, and possibly one of the few trailheads with a loop that is entirely hikeable this time of year without any snow. Expect the creek to still be high, and some flooding close to the trailhead, but great trails past that. The fishing will be picking up as well. Lots of good brook trout fishing in Lake Ethel and beyond. Start planning for some bugs in the coming days!
Elkhart Park is still the snowiest of the trailheads on the Pinedale side of the range. Expect snow from Photographer’s Point to Hobbs and beyond (i.e. Seneca and Island Lakes). Bobby tells us that, “Snowshoes were necessary from Photographer’s Point onwards. Lots of deep slushy snow. In between Barbara Lake and Hobbs Lake the trail has turned into a river. Most flat sections after Ecklund Lake are completely flooded out as well.” Lakeside Lodge is open and serving food again. Stop by on your way out of the mountains for great food and cold beer. Jeremy makes some wicked good Thai food!
Spring Creek Park is open and dry. Expect snow past Trapper Lake. The trail itself will be mostly snow-free, but expect some mud and water on the trails in that area.
Green River Lakes trailhead hasn’t changed much in the last week. Union Pass Road is officially open, but expect very muddy and wet conditions. Pulling a trailer up and over isn’t advised just yet. The Highline Trail is in good shape to Three Forks Park. You’ll enounter snow pretty quickly as you climb towards Vista Pass.
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, your furry friends included. 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, moose and marmots 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. Follow us on Instagram (@greatoutdoorshopwy), Twitter (@wrrconditions) and Facebook, and be sure to tag us in your Wind River pictures! Our staff is ready to help you plan a Wind River trip or to help with any questions you may have along the way.