Tom’s Experience climbing East Temple Peak:
East Temple Peak is located in the Wind River Mountain Range of Wyoming. The mountain is very cool looking. It has very steep walls and looks almost impossible to ascend when you first see it. The hike is about 23 miles round trip and most of the hike is fairly easy with the exception of a few parts.
We started out at the Big Sandy Trailhead which is a little difficult to find but has a huge parking area with an outhouse and a camping area. The trail to Big Sandy Lake is pretty; through forest and past a few streams. We saw many people who had just gone into Big Sandy Lake for the night to camp and fish who were heading back out as we came in. It is about 6 miles to Big Sandy Lake and there isn’t a ton of elevation gain. However, the bugs can be really bad, in this area especially, so be sure to bring bug spray.
Once at Big Sandy Lake you hike around the lake and can take one of two valleys up to Temple Lake. We decided to head up the valley that goes around Clear Lake and under Haystack Mountain. On the way, we got a little lost and ended up going to Black Joe Lake. We turned around and eventually got on the right trail heading towards Clear Lake.
Beginning at Clear Lake is about where the elevation really started to pick up a bit, but the views were so pretty I was distracted and didn’t notice the gain too much. There is a stream that flows down through this canyon and it is almost all on granite and is a lot of fun to hike next too.
The views behind us of the Cirque of the Towers was also a lot of fun to look at and I kept turning around. Eventually we reached Deep Lake which is where the two different valleys connect. From here you can continue to Temple Pass and from the saddle continue on to East Temple Peak or there is a little dome that is sitting in front of East Temple that you can climb and it takes you to about the same level as the saddle.
We decided to climb the dome. Most of it was pretty easy scrambling but we did come to one part that I thought was a little difficult. Most of the dome was pretty exposed but easy enough it wasn’t too bad. From the top of the dome we continued on and scrambled the rest of the way to the top of East Temple Peak.
It took us quite a while, since there was a lot of scrambling and rock hopping, to make it from Deep lake to the peak. At the top there is a survey marker and if you continue on a bit further, there are a few spots you can look over the steep cliffs at the 2000 foot sheer drop below.
From the top we carefully returned back down to the saddle and decided to take the trail back to Temple Lake which was far safer and easier. We then took the valley that we didn’t come up past Miller and Rapid Lakes to get back to Big Sandy Lake. We saw one Elk during this stretch but that was the only large wildlife we saw on this hike.
From Big Sandy it is a fairly easy hike back to the trailhead. Dogs are allowed on this trail but since it is a wilderness area, motorized vehicles and bikes are not allowed.
Trail Info: Getting to the Big Sandy Trailhead can be a little difficult since you must travel about 46 miles on unmarked dirt roads. Most cars should be able to make it to the trailhead if the dirt is dry but a high clearance vehicle is nice. The easiest way to get to the trailhead from Farson Wyoming is to head 4 miles east of Farson to an intersection that is signed for Big Sandy Trailhead, turn left here and restart your odometer. All mileage will be from this turn. At 21.5 miles bear right. At 23 miles turn left. At 29.5 miles bear left. At 34.5 bear right and the parking lot will be at about mile 45.5.
Big Sandy Trailhead: 42.68811,-109.270733
Big Sandy Lake: 42.736958,-109.208865
Temple Lake: 42.709718,-109.174576
East Temple Peak: 42.710508,-109.156507
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