hikes in Wind River Mountain Range
The Wind River Mountain Range is a postcard-perfect collection of granite peaks. This impressive range in the Rocky Mountain Range crests the Continental Divide, commanding Wyoming’s skyline. It’s home to the state’s tallest summit—Gannett Peak—and over 40 named mountains over 13000ft. In addition to the range’s glaciated granite peaks, the area is also characterized by the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Shoshone National Forest, Popo Agie Wilderness, and the Bridger Wilderness that bound the massifs with alpine forest, montane meadows, and backcountry trails.
Boasting a diverse repertoire of hiking routes throughout the range, this area boasts some of the most incredible scenery with a fraction of the crowds that Yellowstone and the Grand Teton National Parks see. While summit ascents and climbing are plentiful, the Winds also present countless manageable and equally beautiful sub-alpine excursions that the whole family can enjoy, like the Green River Lakes Trail. With over 2,000 crystalline lakes, several glaciers, and granite summits, this area is bursting with wonderment and incredible scenery. Offering technical treks, overnight backpacking expeditions, and enchanting lakeside strolls, this amazing mountain range is a must-add to your Wyoming adventure itinerary.
15 Fantastic Hiking Routes in the Wind River Range
The mountainous landscape and diversity of flora and fauna yield amazing hiking opportunities in the Wind River Mountain Range. Though it was a challenging feat, we curated a list of the area’s best hikes—Enjoy!
- The Sinks Canyon Trail - The Sinks Canyon Trail offers a unique experience. Study the geological anomaly of the Popo Agie River disappearing into a limestone cavern at The Sinks and watch it reappear at The Rise. This mesmerizing scene attracts a crowd, so expect some company!
- Big Sandy Lake Trail - The Big Sandy Lake Trail is perhaps the most popular route in the range as it serves as a gateway into the Continental Divide and the Cirque of the Towers. While busy, this epic adventure yields a diversity of flora and fauna, glistening alpine lakes, and mesmerizing views of the granite massifs that rise from the landscape.
- Willow Lake Trail - Explore the backcountry and indulge yourself with breathtaking views of the Bighorn Mountains on the Willow Lake Trail. Granting tranquility and seclusion from reality, this high-country hike warrants a memorable experience.
- Roaring Fork Mountain Hike - Reserved for experienced hikers, the Roaring Fork Mountain Hike will challenge stamina and navigational skills. While demanding, this trek into the clouds reveals awe-inspiring views of the Wind River Mountains and the adorning glacial lakes.
- North Lake Hike - Extending past Big Sandy Lake, the North Lake Hike demands a modest effort. This incredible adventure boasts spellbinding views of the looming crags and the countless crystalline lakes that decorate the alpine environment.
- Cirque of the Towers Overlook Hike - The Cirque of the Towers Overlook Hike is a strenuous climb in the Winds that rewards captivating vistas of the famous cirque and the intrepid rock climbers scaling the crags. This heart-pumping adventure is not for the faint of heart.
- Seneca Lake Trail - Immerse yourself in the high country along the Seneca Lake Trail. This amazing alpine excursion presents breathtaking panoramas of the Wind River Mountains from the lush montane meadows abundant with wildlife.
- Long Lake Trail - Those seeking a scenic adventure without the range’s quintessential elevation gain or long-distance will appreciate the Long Lake Trail. This short but steep adventure climbs down to the shoreline of a shimmering lake that often mirrors the scenes of the encompassing granite ridges.
- Diamond Lake Trail - We wish we could say that the Diamond Lake Trail is a diamond amongst the rough, but in reality, the encompassing routes are also pristine. The Diamond Lake Trail is a family-friendly hike at the base of the Winds that travels to three charming lakes.
- Trapper Lake Stock Trail - The Trapper Lake Stock Trail boasts a tranquil experience. This lightly trafficked route explores lush montane meadows, alpine forests, and shimmering lakes while offering wonderful scenes of the looming mountainscape.
- Little Half Moon Trail - The Little Half Moon Trail is another lovely adventure that has somehow remained relatively undiscovered. Marvel at the beauty of the granite monoliths that command the skyline as you progress through lush meadows and dense tree stands.
- Green River Lakes Loop - The Green River Lakes Loop is family-friendly and extraordinarily scenic. Boasting the famous scene of Squaretop Mountain rising above the Green River, this route is a must-add to your Wind River Range to-do list.
- Indian and Wolf Trails - The Indian and Wolf Trails are an awesome network of routes that grant wonderful views of the Wind River Mountains. Wander through lush montane meadows and revel in the dramatic mountainous landscape.
- Whiskey Mountain Trail - Explore the Fitzgerald Wilderness and marvel at the scene of the granite mountain range on the Whiskey Mountain Trail. While this route warrants some exhaustion, the terrain is not technical.
- Popo Agie Falls Trail - This family friendly trail culminates at a charming waterfall in Sinks Canyon. The Popo Agie Falls Trail boasts incredible scenery year-round, but the autumn is our favorite time to visit when the aspens are golden.
When is the Best Time to Visit the Wind River Mountain Range?
There is no question that the Wind River Mountain Range is best explored in the summer season. While some hiking routes remain open and accessible year-round, hiking amongst the soaring snow-capped crests poses inherent dangers in the winter season, including the implicit threat of avalanches and sudden storms.
Summer excursions present awesome hiking, trekking, rock climbing, and mountain biking opportunities. In July and August, the high-altitude trails are cleared of snow, the threat of avalanches has decreased, and the vibrant wildflowers are in bloom. The summer is also ideal for water recreation. Those seeking a more tranquil experience can explore in the shoulder seasons (spring and autumn) when the trails remain passable, but the crowds have thinned.
Other Outdoor Activities in the Wind River Range
The Wind River Range is a backpackers and hikers’ oasis. While there is an extensive network of hiking routes to explore, the range offers more than just wonderful treks. Though hiking is arguably our favorite activity, rock climbing is by far one of the area’s most popular adventure activities. The jagged crests of the Winds boast ideal climbing and scrambling opportunities for technical mountaineers. There are also select mountain biking trails in lower-altitude areas that beckon a crowd! In addition to rock climbing, hiking, and biking, water recreation is another pursuit many indulge in, such as kayaking, swimming, fishing, and canoeing.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Wind River Mountain Range
Where is the Wind River Mountain Range?
The Wind River Mountain Range is located in the central Rocky Mountains in west-central Wyoming.
Are the Wind River Mountains part of the Teton Mountains?
No, the Wind River Mountains are in the Wind River Range within the Rocky Mountains.
Are there grizzly bears in the Wind River Mountain Range?
Yes, there are grizzly bears and black bears in the Wind River Mountain Range. Make sure at least one person carries bear spray when exploring the backcountry.
Are dogs permitted in the Wind River Mountain Range?
Yes, most trails in the Wind River Mountain Range permit dogs if they remain on leash. Select routes also allow off-leash—just make sure your four-legged friend has a quick recall.
What towns are near the Wind River Range?
The Wind River Range is near Lander, Dubois, Hudson, Jeffery City, and Riverton.
Epic Adventure Tours in the Wind River Mountains
Unfortunately, we have yet to curate a Wind River Mountain Range adventure but keep an eye out as we are always adding more to the roster! Until we have a Wind River Range tour, we encourage you to check out our Wyoming adventure tours, which include trips to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons.
Find Other Amazing Hiking Regions in WyomingRead More
The best hikes in Wind River Mountain Range
Yes, there are more than 10
Wind River Mountain Range is so beautiful that we can not give you only 10 hikes. So here is a list of bonus hikes in Wind River Mountain Range that you should take a look at as well
Hiking the Big Sandy Lake, North Lake, and Arrowhead Lake Loop Hike will surely get… Read More
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