Crest of the Wind River Range

A stunning new 80-mile hike in the Rockies' top spot for big backpacking adventures.
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A stunning new 80-mile hike in the Rockies' top spot for big backpacking adventures.

This route covers almost 80 miles through the middle of the Wind River Range. Most of the distance is at 10,000 feet and above, with an embarrassment of primo camping and trout-fishing lakes. Plan on averaging no more than 10 miles a day; this is rugged terrain, and the route crosses many rough passes and boulder fields. Strong navigation skills are required in the cross-country portions. Before attempting this long, remote trek, acquire sturdy raingear and solid survival chops.TRIP PLANNERSeason July to October. Lowlands are usually clear of snow by mid-June, but river crossings can remain tough, and higher passes snowbound, until late July.Getting around The Great Outdoor Transportation Company, based out of the Great Outdoor Shop in Pinedale, runs shuttles to and from regional airports such as Cody and Jackson, and betweenmost trailheads in the Winds. The closest large airport is Salt Lake City, six hours from Pinedale. (307) 367-2440; greatoutdoorshop.comCautions Lightning, mosquitoes, and bears are all worries, along with remoteness. You should be fully self-sufficient, pay attention to weather, and store all food and toiletries in bearproof containers.Leave no trace Camp on rock slabs, gravel sites, and previously used areas at least 200 feet from water. Avoid trampling the grouse whortleberry, a blade-shaped leaf that’s the ground cover in mostpine forest here. Check with rangers for trail and campsite closings. Permits Free, but required for organized parties and youth groups.Contact>> Bridger Wilderness: Pinedale District, (307) 367-4326>> Popo Agie Wilderness: Washakie District, (307) 332-5460>> Fitzpatrick Wilderness: Wind River District, (307) 455-2466Wind River Indian ReservationThe east-central portion of the range lies within tribal lands shared by the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapahoe. Backcountry access in these areas requires a tribal fishing permit ($65 for nonresidents). This requirement now applies to the once-popular Dickinson Park trailhead, a jumping-off point for the Popo Agie Wilderness. In recent years, the road has been closed, apparently all summer, by a dispute between the reservation and a private landowner. At press time, you can access Dickinson Park with a tribal permit, but the situation changes often. Get fishing permits at most convenience stores and outfitters in Dubois, Lander, Ft. Washakie, and Pinedale. For currentinfo, contact the tribe’s Fish and Game office at (307) 332-7207.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 128.4

Waypoints

Texas Pass

Location: 42.7927284240723, -109.219047546387

The talus-speckled tundra below Texas Pass. ©Steve Howe

War Bonnet Peak

Location: 42.7662658691406, -109.21558380127

The approach to War Bonnet Peak. ©Steve Howe

WPT002

Location: 43.2938919067383, -109.832389831543

Clear Creek Junction; go R, staying S

WPT003

Location: 43.2190589904785, -109.757888793945

Beaver Park bridge

WPT004

Location: 43.1785697937012, -109.745361328125

New Fork Trail Junction; continue L, heading S

WPT005

Location: 43.1697845458984, -109.742301940918

Highline Trail turns S; turn L

WPT006

Location: 43.165397644043, -109.729515075684

Vista Pass

WPT007

Location: 43.1558532714844, -109.706039428711

Peak Lake

WPT008

Location: 43.1542930603027, -109.661346435547

Knapsack Col

WPT009

Location: 43.141185760498, -109.640380859375

Traditional climber camps

WPT010

Location: 43.0933647155762, -109.629600524902

Indian Pass Trail; stay R

WPT011

Location: 43.0857162475586, -109.63028717041

Island Lake

WPT012

Location: 43.0834045410156, -109.628707885742

Climb Left; leave Titcomb Basin Trail for Wall Lake

WPT013

Location: 43.0756034851074, -109.599601745605

Cross grassy saddle and descend to Wall Lake

WPT014

Location: 43.0687446594238, -109.588684082031

Lake

WPT015

Location: 43.0604362487793, -109.593139648438

Cairns begin cross-country route around Wall Lake

WPT016

Location: 43.0452919006348, -109.598876953125

Regain Trail around Cook Lakes

WPT017

Location: 43.0356636047363, -109.592155456543

Sandy beach and granite benches

WPT018

Location: 43.0349617004394, -109.590675354004

Subtle trail climbs south over saddle

WPT019

Location: 43.0224456787109, -109.601409912109

Continue S on Fremont Trail

WPT020

Location: 43.004810333252, -109.576972961426

Pass

WPT021

Location: 43.0005302429199, -109.572593688965

Stay left @ trail junction

WPT022

Location: 42.9805908203125, -109.563682556152

Junction with Bell Lakes Trail, Continue Straight/South on Fremont Trail

WPT023

Location: 42.9543571472168, -109.529678344727

Hat Pass

WPT024

Location: 42.930549621582, -109.509635925293

Hay Pass Trail Jct., turn left

WPT025

Location: 42.9298248291016, -109.507637023926

Trail Junction, Turn Left/E

WPT026

Location: 42.9191665649414, -109.469871520996

Pipestone Lakes; good camping

WPT027

Location: 42.8818588256836, -109.42684173584

Junction with Middle Fork Trail; turn left

WPT028

Location: 42.9148292541504, -109.383735656738

Bench campsites above Middle Fork Lake

WPT029

Location: 42.8822708129883, -109.345474243164

Pass from Lake Donna to Bonneville Lake

WPT030

Location: 42.8656196594238, -109.347160339355

Talus and Scree Pass

WPT031

Location: 42.8651657104492, -109.343727111816

Pass between Mt. Bonneville and Raid Peak

WPT032

Location: 42.826244354248, -109.314308166504

Scenic off-trail camping in the East Fork

WPT033

Location: 42.8249015808106, -109.298065185547

Junction with Haily Pass Trail, continue S

WPT034

Location: 42.7956733703613, -109.290161132812

Junction with Washakie Creek Trail, turn L

WPT035

Location: 42.7947654724121, -109.219528198242

Steep trail to Texas Pass

WPT036

Location: 42.7909507751465, -109.217864990234

Texas Pass Summit; Cirque of the Towers appears

WPT037

Location: 42.7826614379883, -109.220039367676

Final night's camp; room for one tent

WPT038

Location: 42.7598037719727, -109.209022521973

Intersection with Jackass Pass Trail

WPT039

Location: 42.7434844970703, -109.205383300781

Intersection with Big Sandy Lake Trail, turn R

WPT040

Location: 42.688304901123, -109.270790100098

Ending Trailhead Kiosk, Big Sandy Entrance