Pinedale has been hopping lately! We have seen a rush of people flocking to town and to the hills to celebrate the long holiday weekend. With that in mind, a quick reminder for those who might be visiting: fireworks of any kind are illegal in Sublette County without a permit. The effects of fireworks on our ecosystem can be tremendous, including disruption of species’ natural patterns, increased risk of wildfires, and downright destruction of crucial habitat. Please, celebrate responsibly for the sake of our wild spaces!
The snowline rose another 200 feet this week. It’s not as drastic as we were hoping, but it’s progress nonetheless. Some of the more popular high country spots are opening up, including Jackass Pass to the Cirque of the Towers. Most high passes are still completely snow-covered, so those planning on hiking longer loops should still pack snowshoes and traction. Most lakes are still frozen or mostly frozen above snowline, including Titcomb Lakes, but they’re thawing like crazy. At this pace, we have a little more than a week to go before long routes really start becoming accessible and enjoyable.
Here’s the latest on the trailheads:
Big Sandy Trailhead (9,085’) – Snow Depth: 0″
Big Sandy Trailhead is open. Trails should be drying up before Big Sandy Lake, but expect patchy snow as you ascend towards Jackass Pass and deep snow as you enter the Cirque. We have been getting countless calls and emails regarding the longer loops out of Big Sandy; be aware that the high passes around the Cirque, including Washakie, Bonney, and Texas Passes, are still completely snow-covered and will require traction/flotation to navigate. For those still choosing to attempt the popular loops, try and be off of steep snow by around 11 AM. As the sun starts to beat on those snowfields, they become slushy, miserable, and even more dangerous.
Scab Creek Trailhead (8,200’) – Snow Depth: 0″
Scab Creek Trailhead is open. The muddy trails should be setting up now until you reach Dream and Raid Lakes. After that, expect wet, even flooded trails as the snow around the Divide continues to melt. I estimate you can get as far as Rainbow Lake, and quite possibly to Middle Fork Lake with minimal snow walking, but beware the high water crossings.
Boulder Lake Trailhead (7,300’) – Snow Depth: 0″
Boulder Lake Trailhead is open. Hikers have made it as far as Europe Canyon, almost to the Continental Divide, with snow beginning just after the mouth of the canyon. That’s a big trip compared to what you can get out of other trailheads right now. Dozens of ice-free lakes are now accessible from Boulder Lake Trailhead, making it very popular with those looking to do some backcountry fishing.
Elkhart Park Trailhead (9,350’) – Snow Depth: 0″
Elkhart Park Trailhead is open. The road, parking lot and campground are all dry. Sacred Rim Trail and Long Lake Trail are ready to hike. We’ve only heard reports of hikers making it as far as Seneca Lake before being turned around by snow, and Titcomb Basin is still snow-covered. Plenty of people are taking their chances on the basin this week, so I will update this report as I hear more.
Spring Creek Trailhead (8,200’) – Snow Depth: 0″
Spring Creek Trailhead is open. The road to get here is short but rough; 4WD and high clearance are recommended. Glimpse Lake Trail is only accessible to Glimpse Lake and no further due to fallen trees. Trapper Lake Trail was cleared of trees to Summit Lake by the US Forest Service last summer; it should be snow-free almost to Summit Lake.
New Fork Lakes Trailhead (7,900’) – Snow Depth: 0″
New Fork Lakes Trailhead is open. The canyon is all good, but Doubletop Trail is still holding snow just before the summit of Doubletop Mountain. The New Fork River is still very high and needs to be crossed three times along the canyon, so be prepared.
Green River Lakes Trailhead (8,040’) – Snow Depth: 0″
Green River Lakes Trailhead is open. The Green River Lakes loop is ready to hike. Clear Creek Natural Bridge is accessible. Slide Lake is accessible, but the stream crossings require some thought and careful footing. The Highline Trail is ready to go all the way to Three Forks Park, but snow is still covering most of the trail on the way up to Summit Lake and Peak Lake.
We know it’s been a weird year for the backcountry, so if you have any more questions or just need advice on visiting the Pinedale area, give us a shout at 307-367-2440. Our helpful and knowledgeable staff are always happy to offer guidance. You can also write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our store is open every day from 7 AM to 9 PM. We look forward to hearing from you!
GOTCo, Pinedale Area Hiking/Fishing Shuttles
Recreate Responsibly, Friends of the Bridger-Teton
Mud Season Hiking Dos and Don’ts, Appalachian Mountain Club
Bear Wise Wyoming, WY Fish & Game
Wyoming Fishing Regulations, WY Fish & Game