As is typical in any September in the high country, the Wind River Range is experiencing some tumultuous weather as we head into the month of October. Some snow slated for this weekend may put a stopper in some people’s plans, but according to mountain-forecast.com, this storm is supposed to drop around 2 inches at the higher elevations above 11,000 feet. Don’t let it put too much of a damper in your plans; the snow will melt very quickly in the days after.
In other news, the Forest Service has been busy clearing trails for the outfitters using the trails for the hunting season, and for late-season backpackers trying to get one last trip in before the winter weather sets in. When I say busy, I mean almost 30 miles of trails have been cleared since the storm came through a little over a week ago. If you see the USFS Trail Crews out working, stop for a second to say thank you – without their hard work, the trails would not be in as good of shape as they are currently.
For those of you that are unaware, “a massive wind event with gusts in excess of 60+ mph throughout the Wind River Range caused trees to cover roadways and trails.” (Quote was taken from the official Blow Down Trail Condition Update put out by the Pinedale Ranger District). Here is what we know as of two days ago:
The trail out of Green River Lakes trailhead is clear Trail Creek Park. The Lakeside Trail has been completely cleared as well.
The New Fork trail to New Fork Park and going up to Palmer Lake and back down on Doubletop Mountain trail was not as severely affected as thought. The trail is passable with stock with a tip from a local outfitter.
Spring Creek Park is currently unknown conditions-wise.
Elkhart Park was one of the most affected trailheads. The trail is clear about .5 miles away from Photographer’s Point. Past that, the trail has been obliterated in places. Progress past the Wilderness Boundary has been around 1000 feet per day, and stock is not recommended for travel past Photographer’s Point.
Boulder Lake trailhead, according to outfitters, is passable to Ethel Lake and Pipestone Lakes; past that, no information is known.
Scab Creek Trail is clear to the Wilderness Boundary. There were a few trees down past that point getting to Little Divide Lake. A few more are downed from Little Divide to Dream Lake, but all are passable to hikers and stock.
Big Sandy is by far the most affected trailhead on the Western side of the range. No trail crew has been sent out to respond as of 9/21. The reports we’ve heard from eyes on the ground is that the first 4-5 miles of trail getting to Big Sandy Lake is taking about 7 hours! Stock is most definitely not recommended on this trail, but hikers are reporting slow going, but passable, conditions.
Please contact the Pinedale Ranger District (307) 367-4326 or the Great Outdoor Shop (307) 367-2440 to report current conditions or updates to any of the information covered above.