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Crest of the Wind River Range

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

Rating

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.

To Trailhead

This route requires a car shuttle, which will take at least 3.5 hours. Or you can arrange one with a local outfitter (greatoutdoorshop.com). To reach the start of the hike at Green River Lakes trailhead, drive north from Pinedale on US 191 for 6 miles. Turn right at Cora onto WY 352. Continue 46 miles, the last 23 on gravel; the trailhead and a campground are at the road’s end. To reach Big Sandy trailhead, drive south from Pinedale on US 191 for 12 miles to Boulder. Turn left onto WY 353 and drive 18 miles to the end of the pavement. Continue straight, passing through the next junction. After crossing the Big Sandy River, turn left and drive 7 miles to another junction. Turn left and drive past the national forest boundary to the trailhead and campground.-Mapped by Steve Howe

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