Though many get frustrated with the ups and downs of spring, you have to embrace the moods of the mountains. Locals call the sub-season of March, April and May “mud season”, and for good reason too. It can be frustrating to know that trails are hikeable, but muddy. As seasonal winter wildlife closures ease, I’m reminded once again that of the excerpt from the 1964 Wilderness Act: “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” I try to remind myself of this often as I backpack through the Wind Rivers, and as more users venture into the expanse of the range, we must remember how true those words ring, and how precious that resource is.
Many of you are aware of the explosion in popularity of the Winds in the last few years. I believe that we’re all entitled to see and experience the grandeur of Titcomb Basin or the Cirque; but I believe now, more than ever, that treating this great wilderness with respect should be our first priority. I won’t delve into wilderness ethics or Leave No Trace Principles, but know that we are all stewards of the land and as stewards, it’s our responsibility to keep it clean so that future generations can have the same untrammeled experience we did.
I’ve included links to the LNT principles, LNT website, packing out your trash, cleaning up and packing out your waste, and hanging your food. It is ALL OF OUR JOBS to clean up after ourselves and take care of this land that has, does, and will give us much in return.
If you’re interested in donating your time or resources, Friends of Bridger Teton is a non-profit organization dedicated to trail maintenance and cleanup, executes projects in collaboration with the BTNF, and provides education opportunities for users venturing out onto public lands. They are based locally in Pinedale and are one of the public’s voices for responsible use on our local public lands.
NOW! Onto the conditions!
Boulder Lake trailhead is open. From what I’ve seen, the main trail through Boulder Canyon is only open for a couple of miles with interspersed snow past that. Expect mud, water, snow, etc. It’s still early, but Boulder Lake tends to be one of the first trailheads to melt out. The Blueberry Lake trail was open, but not for long.
New Fork Lakes is open. You will encounter a bit of snow from the Narrows to the trailhead, but nothing that’s impassable with a 4WD or AWD vehicle. Once you get hiking, interspersed snow for the first two miles to the meadows, and snow past that into the canyon. That snow will start to go fast with the warming weather.
Green River Lakes road has melted out for the first few miles, but don’t expect to make it much farther than the Big Bend. Expect very muddy roads. Please don’t rut up the road!
Generally, expect the snow line to be around 8400 to 8600 feet. Past that, pack your snowshoes or skis. The Winds are melting quickly with the onset of warm spring weather, but there is still a ways to go. For reference, Elkhart Park, at 9400 feet, is still under 25 inches of snow; Big Sandy Opening reports 24 inches as of today.
As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any gear or itinerary questions regarding the Wind River Range or surrounding area. We’re open seven days a week, from 8AM to 6PM. You can reach us by phone (307) 367-2440 or send us an email, email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you!