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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive: June 2014

Joe Kelsey's Favorite Wind River Range Hikes

The author of Climbing and Hiking in the Wind River Mountains knows these Wyoming peaks better than anyone. We asked him to tell us about some of his favorite hikes; here are his top three trips.

by: Dylan Riessan

The Wind River mountains (photo: Aaron Kraft)
Photo by 0114_AaronKraft_WindRiver_445x260
The Wind River mountains (photo: Aaron Kraft)

Northern Winds: Spring Creek Park to Elkhart Park
Tour the northern Wind Rivers on a 33-mile shuttle hike from the Glimpse Lake trailhead in Spring Creek Park. You’ll pass 16 named lakes as you wind across a bench between 9,000 and 11,000 feet with vast open spaces interspersed with stands of conifers. Camping is at-large and unfailingly gorgeous. “I’ve taken five days to do it, which is shameful,” says Kelsey. “It’s worth at least seven.” Pick up the Pine Creek Canyon Trail at mile 5 and work your way over rolling terrain to Summit Lake, gaining 1,884 feet from Spring Creek Park and snagging near-constant views of 13,000-footers. From here, take the wandering Highline Trail through alpine zones with boulder-strewn meadows and crystal clear tarns. After 10 miles, pick up the Seneca Lake Trail heading southwest and link the Pole Creek Trail to Elkhart Park. Map Northern Wind River Range, WY, Earthwalk Press ($10; omnimap.com)




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