It’s time, folks. The mountains are opening up so fast it’s hard to keep up. Pretty much all of the snow below 11,000 feet is gone, meaning most large loops in the Winds are ready to travel. The Highline Trail is almost clear, but fallen trees in the southern Winds have made for some awfully long days for the CDT hikers I’ve chatted with. High passes like Temple, Texas and Knapsack Col are still holding snow, however I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if it was gone or at least thinned out by week’s end.
To those of you looking to make a bid for Gannett via Titcomb Basin, now is the time. For the next week or two, the snow will be gone to the end of the basin but still holding on the southern side of Bonney Pass, making the climb significantly easier with the right equipment. Expect a bare talus field on the north side of the pass then snow again as you traverse the glacier. The bergschrund in the couloir is still walkable via snow bridge, but barely, so either get out there soon or prepare to climb a short 5.2 pitch to gain the summit ridge.
The bugs are still awful and getting worse. The high-high country is still relatively bug-free, but around/below treeline, expect to be eaten alive if you aren’t armed with DEET and bug nets. Or, optionally, just don’t stop moving! Mosquitos can be the best motivation to put in those big miles.
Water levels throughout the range have dropped from their peak, so stream crossings are becoming less intimidating. Many intermittent streams up high have already dried up with the majority of melt-off behind us now. There is still plenty of moving water to filter from, but your waterproof boots really aren’t necessary anymore.
Green River Rendezvous is over and the summer’s worst crowds have moved on from Pinedale. The trailheads are still pretty uncrowded for this time of year which is awesome if you’re looking to get more solitude out of your trip. Even on my trip to the Cirque of the Towers last week I only came across three or four other groups of hikers. I think the late snow scared off a lot of fair-weather trekkers.
Here’s the latest on the trailheads:
Big Sandy Trailhead (9,085’) – Snow Depth: 0″
Big Sandy Trailhead is open. The trails are dry all the way into the Cirque of the Towers, where you’ll see your first traces of snow; snow is still holding near the walls of the Cirque, making climbing approaches more difficult. The popular Cirque loop trails that take you over Texas or Washakie Pass are free of snow with the exception of the passes themselves. The trail to Deep Lake is good to go with little to no snow holding in that basin. Snow is covering both sides of Temple Pass, so an ascent of East Temple is still sketchy. The trailhead is seeing less visitors than average for this time of year, but that’s sure to change now that things are clearing up.
Scab Creek Trailhead (8,200’) – Snow Depth: 0″
Scab Creek Trailhead is open. Trails are dry until you hit the Raid Lake/Dream Lake area. You can now connect Scab Creek to the Highline Trail, meaning any number of miles is possible.
Boulder Lake Trailhead (7,300’) – Snow Depth: 0″
Boulder Lake Trailhead is open. Nothing is going to slow you down out of this trailhead until you hit snow line, well towards the Continental Divide.
Elkhart Park Trailhead (9,350’) – Snow Depth: 0″
Elkhart Park Trailhead is open. Long Lake Trail and Pole Creek Trail are both ready to hike. The trail into Titcomb Basin is still wet in places, but is FINALLY accessible. Cook Lakes are also melted off and ready for hikers, just beware the creek crossings. Reports indicate Knapsack Col is still snow-covered and presenting dangerous conditions. This trailhead is one of the most popular in the Winds and the parking lot fills up fast, so be ready to walk a bit to even get to the trail.
Spring Creek Trailhead (8,200’) – Snow Depth: 0″
Spring Creek Trailhead is open. Glimpse Lake Trail has yet to be cleared of downed trees past Glimpse Lake. Trapper Creek Trail is ready to hike all the way to its link-up with the Highline Trail.
New Fork Lakes Trailhead (7,900’) – Snow Depth: 0″
New Fork Lakes Trailhead is open. The river has calmed down a bit, making the hike up the canyon much less tedious. You can now cross Porcupine Pass to Green River Lakes with relative ease. Doubletop Peak and the surrounding trails are now below snow line and should be clear.
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 and the creeks should be running lower now. Summit Lake and Peak Lake are likely accessible with minimal snow walking. Hiking through to New Fork Lakes is possible now that Porcupine Pass is below snow line.
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
Bear Wise Wyoming, WY Fish & Game
Wyoming Fishing Regulations, WY Fish & Game