As our Spring continues to get weird, the Wind River High Country continues to open up above 10,000 feet. In the southern end of the range (think Boulder Lake and south), expect a snowline hovering around 10,300-10,500 feet. The northern half of the range (Elkhart to Green River Lakes), the snowline still hovers around that 10,100 to 10,300 foot mark. Hopefully (and I’m knocking on wood as I type this) we won’t have anymore of those crazy Spring storms that drops 3-7 inches above 9000 feet! We’ll keep you updated.
A couple of notable places in the Winds have opened up in the past week; we’ll cover those as we get to their respective areas. For now, expect highcountry low temperatures of anywhere between 25-33 degrees F. As we slide into the month of July, expect lows around freezing. With the warming temperatures, start to expect some bugs close to trailheads up to around 9000 feet. They aren’t terrible yet, but they’ll start to get bad in the next couple of weeks. Looks like the next few days will have highs in the upper 60s/low 70s.
Big Sandy Opening continues to be one of the more accessible trailheads. No snow to Jackass Pass, but you will encounter some once you drop into the Cirque. There have been lots of reports of parties hiking over Texas Pass (11,900 ft). MicroSpikes and trekking poles will suffice. Lonesome Lake will be starting to ice off as well as the lakes over 10,000 feet. 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 probably the most accessible terrain in the Winds right now. You can expect to get to the mouth of Bonneville Basin snow-free (~10,500 ft). Above 10,000 feet, there isn’t snow for miles to the north or south of Dream Lake. Great fishing to be had as well. Not many rising fish, but the subsurface takes in South Fork Lake would make Tom McGuane shed a tear. The South Fork of Boulder Creek is also fishing fantastically. The rainbows are almost off the spawn and are very hungry. Leech patterns and black/olive wooley buggers are working well.
Boulder Lake trailhead is dry and just as accessible as Scab Creek. Reports of muddy trails between Lake Christine and Lake Victor, but that will change drastically in the coming weeks. The fishing is picking up as well. Expect lots of subsurface action. You may see some rising fish to a late afternoon caddis hatch.
Elkhart Park is open and hikeable to Seneca Lake. Expect a few drifts before and after Photographer’s point, but nothing that will impede travel. Tip Top Search and Rescue did a fly over of the area a few days ago and reported that the Titcomb Lakes were iced-off, and that the trail is close to being free of snow. 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. Not much has changed. Expect lots of snow between Borum Lake and Elbow Lake. The one party I talked to coming out of Elbow Lake reported lots of slushy snow for the last 4 miles between Borum Lake and Elbow Lake.
New Fork Lakes trailhead is open and dry. Lozier Lakes isn’t accessible yet, but you should be able to get to Palmer Lake quite easily.
Green River Lakes is hikeable to Trail Creek Park, but Vista Pass may be a stretch for at least a week. Expect some fast creek crossings over Clear Creek towards Slide Lake (the foot bridge is no longer there) and over Pixley Creek as you hike towards Three Forks Park.
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 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. 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.