Lake Ethel Trail

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.
5-7h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
19.8 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.
511 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

The Lake Ethel Trail is a beautiful trail that exemplifies the beauty and diversity of the Wind River Range. Explore lush meadows bisected by meandering creeks, dense woodlands, and a charming lake bound by granite bluffs. Those yearning for a more tranquil experience will enjoy this backcountry expedition.

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Route Description

Yielding a diversity of flora and fauna in addition to a variety of scenery, the Lake Ethel Trail provides a stimulating experience. Explore the grasslands abundant with wildlife, enjoy the sounds of a gurgling creek and revel in the beauty of the distant Wind River Mountains. While this route is manageable, there are a few segments of steep terrain. Make sure you pack plenty of water or a filter to stay hydrated as you trek, and make sure at least one person carries a can of bear spray—just in case! While not necessary, the trail GPS can be useful when navigating overgrown sections of the path.

Your journey along the Lake Ethel Trail begins from the Boulder Canyon Trailhead when you are all set. From here, the Boulder Canyon Trail will lead you east, along the lazy moving stream. Enjoy the tranquil sounds of the babbling brook as you wind between exposed meadows and the shaded tree canopy. Soon the path will cross over to the northern side of the stream. Keep an eye out for wildlife and admire the bounding granite walls of the canyon as you progress.

After some hiking, the path will reroute north, demanding the ascent of a few switchbacks into the granite oasis. Here you will meet an intersection, keep left, and you will be diverted onto the Lake Ethel Trail. Follow this path up to the shoreline of the glittering pool and appreciate the beauty of the scenery. After enjoying the lake, head back along the path the way you came.

Getting There

The Lake Ethel Hike is accessed from the Boulder Canyon Trailhead off Bridger Drive.

Route Details

  • Backcountry Campground

    Backcountry Camping

  • When to do

    May-October

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    Older Children only

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Out and back

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