Big Sandy Lake, North Lake, and Arrowhead Lake Loop

Difficulty
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Hard
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
6.5-9h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
24.8 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
679 m
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Directions to Trailhead

Hiking the Big Sandy Lake, North Lake, and Arrowhead Lake Loop Hike will surely get your heart rate up. This scenic high-country hike boasts spellbinding views of the majestic granite monoliths that hem the crystalline glacial pools.

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Route Description

Used as a gateway into the Bridger Wilderness and the Cirque of the Towers, the Big Sandy Lake, North Lake, and Arrowhead Lake Loop Hike is a renowned adventure. Beckoning the exploration of experienced hikers, climbers, and backpackers, you will likely enjoy company along this route. Traveling into the Winds at high elevations, it is important to be mindful of storms and windy conditions. Dress in layers and head out in the early morning to mitigate the chances of getting caught in inclement weather. Note much of the terrain is rocky and uneven, so wear a sturdy pair of footwear and consider trekking poles.

Setting out from the Big Sandy Trailhead, hikers will briefly follow the Fremont Trail before diverting right onto the Big Sandy Trail. Meandering through lush montane meadows and dense woodlands, this scenic route traces the banks of the Big Sandy River before reaching the shoreline of Big Sandy Lake. Rest here before beginning your final push up to Arrowhead Lake. Marvel at the beauty of the towering granite peaks, then head into the craggy canyon, following the Big Sandy Trail.

Notice Dog Tooth Mountain, Mitchell Peak, and Warbonnet Peak above. After some climbing, you will reach North Lake. From here, the path will increase in intensity, demanding the ascent of switchbacks up to Arrowhead Lake. Loop around the lake's perimeter, taking the time to admire the Cirque of the Towers in the north. After completing the circuit around the glacial pool, retrace your steps along the path back to the trailhead.

Getting There

Access this hike via the Sandy Lake Trailhead off Big Sandy Opening Road.

Route Details

  • Backcountry Campground

    Backcountry Camping

  • When to do

    May-October

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    No

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Lollipop

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