Trip Report, The Wind River Range by Jason Huckeba

Trip Report, The Wind River Range by Jason Huckeba

In August of 2021, Monica, David, and I decided to go backpacking to a new location for all of us, the Wind River Range in Wyoming.  The Wind River Range is roughly about 100 miles long, with many different trails dotting the landscape. 19 of the 20 tallest peaks in the state are within the range, 2 large national forests, 3 wilderness areas, and also the popular CDT travels through the range.  On this trip I decided on using my Haven Tarp and Net setup along with my trusty Swift X backpack.

Our goal for this trip was to make it back into Titcomb Basin and to take some time to fish the many lakes and streams along the trail.  Each day on the trail added to the WOW factor.  One day it was the amazing lakes, the next day an amazing sunset or 13,000’ peaks.  At each stop we made along the trail, it was a postcard picture.

Wind River range in WY with 2 hikers traveling across a basin

The day before we arrived at the Elkhart Park Trailhead, we had driven a full day's drive up from Southern California.  When we hit the Nevada border we drove through smoke all the way into Northern Utah.  As we were getting on the trail, many of the other hikers coming off the trail mentioned this was the best day for smoke they had out there.  We would be getting lucky with the weather on this trip, as the smoke from the California wildfires was almost nonexistent for the rest of the trip and the bugs decided to not come out and play.

On the first day we started at the Elkhart Park trailhead with our goal for the day to be Eklund Lake. On the way to the lake, we took the side trail to Photographers point.  This is a definite stop along the trails as the valley opens up in front of you and you can see some very high peaks and the Continental Divide in the distance.

three hikers in the wind river range

After soaking up the views, we headed down the trail to camp for the night.  Along the backside of the lake we found a secluded spot for camp and dinner.

A haven bundle (tent) in the woods

The Second day of our trip, we had no plans on where to stop and set up camp.  After a  good breakfast and some coffee we hit the trail passing Barbara Lake and a small meadow that had an unbelievable view of the Continental Divide.

View of the Wind River Range

Our first stop for the day was Hobbs Lake, which we ended up doing some fishing at for about an hour and had some lunch.  Next on the list was Seneca Lake.  Seneca was worth a quick stop, which we broke out the fishing rods once again to see what we could catch.  Soon we would come across the junction with the CDT.  As the sun was starting to set, we decided it would be a great time to find a spot for camp for the night.  David found us a nice camp off the CDT overlooking an unnamed lake, which was full of trout, and Monica cooked up one that she caught for dinner.

 Day 3  would be the day that we would make it to our destination on this trip, Island Lake  and Titcomb Basin.  After a hearty breakfast we hit the trail and set up camp at Island Lake. We were able to find a nice camp above the shoreline with high peaks over 13,000 feet around us.

Vie of a lake basin in the Wind River Range

After a quick bite to eat we were back on the trail and heading to Titcomb Basin.  When we got to Titcomb Basin, the views were amazing.  We were surrounded by immense cliffs and glaciers in the distance.  We took a nice lunch break by one of the lakes in the basin and caught a few golden trout as well.  On the way back, we followed the creek down to Island Lake and came out by the big waterfall on the north shore. Before we called it a night at camp, we laid out under the stars watching the meteor shower.

On the fourth day, it would be our last full day in the Wind River range.  After breakfast we explored some of Island Lake, hopping out along the rocks to reach one of the Islands of Island Lake. We were able to catch a few fish here, with Monica getting the best fish of the trip.

Hiker holding a large trout caught in the Wind river Range

As we hit the trail, we made a few more stops before finding camp for the night.  One of our stops was Seneca Lake.  Right as we decided to break out the Tenkara rods, we were greeted by a group coming through using llamas to pack in their gear.  This was a first for us to see on the trail.  We ended up making camp right before Hobbs lake and had an amazing sunset as well.

sunset over a mountain lake

Our last day on the trail seemed to be one of the longer days.  None of us wanted the trip to end, but we all know this was only the first of many trips we would have in the Winds! To end this amazing trip, we grabbed a bite to eat in Pinedale at no other than the Wind River Brewery!


Reading next

Turning Thru-Hiking into a Career by Renee "She-ra" Patrick
A Trail's Hidden Gem, by Adrian "OZ The Hiking Sailor" Redgwell

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