Explore the beautiful Wind Rivers Traverse

Tom’s Experience on the Wind Rivers Traverse:

We set out to do the Wind River High Route following this very detailed guide but due to time constraints and weather we had to change our route a little bit.

Big Sandy Trailhead Wind Rivers Traverse

We started day one at the Big Sandy Trailhead and headed into the wilderness area. We walked pass Big Sandy Lake and into the Circ of the Towers and Lonesome Lake by way of Jackass Pass.

Big Sandy Lake

The pass was a little rocky and would be very difficult to cross with a horse but hiking it wasn’t too bad.

Jackass Pass

The Circ was a very pretty area with steep granite rock faces surrounding the trail.

Circ of the Towers

We stopped here for lunch and as we were eating we watched two different fishermen catch multiple fish. There were also a few rock climbers which were fun to watch.

Lonesome Lake

From here, we headed up Texas Pass which was very steep and there wasn’t much of a trail to follow. We dropped down Texas Pass into a valley that is behind the Circ of the Towers.

Hiking Circ of the Towers

The trail was pretty flat and easy to follow all the way up until Pyramid Lake at which point the trail disappeared and we had to bushwhack.

Wind River Traverse

We decided to hike just a little bit past Pyramid Lake to an unnamed lake and spend the night there. We had great weather on the first day.

Hiking in the Wind Rivers

On day two, we woke up to a beautiful sunrise and the temperature had dropped.Mount Bonneville

From here, we tried to stay as high as possible as we walked through a valley beneath Ambush Peak and Raid Peak.

Bonneville Pass

There were pretty lakes below us and more steep granite cliff faces. I don’t think I have ever seen so many steep granite cliffs in one area any where else. There was a very rocky pass just below Mount Bonneville that led to Bonneville Lake.

Hiking Bonneville Pass

We were rock hopping most of the way and there was no trail which really slowed us down. We descended to Bonneville Lake and went up another pass which was really fun. There was no trail but the rock ledges kind of lead you up the pass.

Wind River Traverse south to north

We came to one part where the ledge slowly got narrower until you had to use your hands and climb to the other side. The pass then descends down to Lee Lake and Middle Fork Lake. This was also a very pretty section and one of my favorites from the whole trip.

Heading to Middle Fork Lake

The rock hopping was really difficult to try to keep any sort of pace and it really slowed us down. We stopped for lunch at Middle Fork Lake. By this time, clouds were starting to roll in and it looked like a storm was coming. We decided to stop following the Wind River High Route Guide at this point since we were running behind schedule and the weather didn’t look like it would be safe to stay up high. So we descended down and started following the Old Highline Trail towards North Fork Lake. After about an hour of leaving Middle Fork Lake the mountains were completely covered in clouds and I’m sure we would have been in a white out and had a difficult time progressing, especially without a trail to follow. We made it to North Fork Lake with just mild rain that day and set up camp there.

Wind River River Crossing

We did however have two river-crossings where we had to roll up our pants and take off our shoes in order to try to keep everything dry. On the third day We left North Fork Lake and headed towards Hat Pass.

Storm in the Wind River

Hat Pass wasn’t too bad as far as passes are concerned and we got up and over that pretty quick. About this time a huge snow storm arrived and we were forced to put on our rain coats.

Wind River Snow

It rained and snowed most of this day but since we were on trails we were still able to progress along. We crossed two passes and walked through Bald Mountain Basin during the storm. Bald Mountain Basin was another one of my favorite spots along the trail and a place I hope to make it back to some day. We ended up coming to another river crossing and since we were already soaked from the rain we decided to just walk through this time. We came to Lester Pass which was a really difficult pass to climb up. It was very long and very steep. This dropped us down into Little Senaca Lake which was a very pretty area as well. We saw numerous people around these lakes that were camped there trying to avoid the rain.

Lower Jean Lake

We continued on and reached the Fremont Crossing which has a bridge over it which was nice. We decided to set up camp at Lower Jean Lake and it was a very pretty area as well.

Lower Jean Lake Clouds

It was cold that night but it didn’t rain after we stopped hiking which was nice. On the morning of the fourth day we had to make it to Green River Lakes Trailhead so we really tried to push it.

Wind Rivers Traverse Sunrise Wind River Range

We hiked over Shannon Pass and Cube Rock Pass both of which were very rocky.

Entering the Storm Wind Rivers

Our final pass of the trip was Vista Pass which wasn’t very steep and was pretty easy to descend.

Hiking through the Wind Rivers

From there the trail was mostly flat with a few downhill sections as it follows the Green River out of the wilderness area.

Bald Mountain Wind Rivers Traverse

Squaretop Mountain was a very pretty granite peak that was fun to hike under. We also saw a ton of people the closer we got to the trailhead.

Green River Wind Rivers Traverse

Overall we hiked over 80 miles but it was through some of the prettiest mountains in the US. Dogs are allowed in the Wind River mountains.

Green River Trailhead Wind Rivers Traverse

Tom’s Rating:

Trail Info: Getting to the Big Sandy Trailhead (the southern 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.

To get to the Green River Lakes Trailhead (the northern trailhead) from Pinedale, drive 7 miles west on US Highway 191, turn right (north) on Wyoming Highway 352 and drive north to the National Forest boundary where the pavement ends (about 30 miles). Continue north on Forest Road 600, staying on the right side of the river. After 17 miles the road ends at the campground and trailhead.

GPS:

Big Sandy Trailhead:   42.68811,-109.270733

Big Sandy Lake:   42.736958,-109.208865

Lonesome Lake:   42.777716,-109.214723

Pyramid Lake:     42.840951,-109.305511

Bonneville Lake:    42.873322,-109.346838

Middle Fork Lake:     42.917086,-109.37336

North Fork Lake:     42.928148,-109.504166

Spider Lake:     43.017043,-109.575169

Little Senaca Lake:    43.066192,-109.652138

Lower Jean Lake:     43.108941,-109.669476

Peak Lake:     43.153352,-109.703121

Beaver Park:     43.221065,-109.757881

Green River Lakes Trailhead:    43.314687,-109.857574

Similar Adventures:

 Please comment below to share your experience hiking in the Wind Rivers. Don’t forget to register to receive the Travel Tom’s Newsletter by submitting your email in the bar above. 

Climb the sizable East Temple Peak

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.

Hiking to Big Sandy

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.

Big Sandy Lake

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.

East Temple Peak Wind River Rivers

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.

Hiking to Temple Lake

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.

East Temple Peak

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.

Approach to East Temple

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.

East Temple Summit

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.

Leaving East Temple Peak

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.

Tom’s Rating:

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.

GPS:

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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 Please comment below to share your experience Climbing East Temple Peak Wind River. Don’t forget to register to receive the Travel Tom’s Newsletter by submitting your email in the bar above.