Seneca Lake Trail

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
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.
7.5-10.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
29.6 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.
831 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

Explore a swathe of wilderness occupied by dozens of beautiful lakes, impressive outcrops, mixed pines, and lush meadowlands as you hike the Seneca Lake Trail. This amazing adventure is a gateway into the Titcomb Basin and high country. Offering breathtaking views of the Wind River Mountains and the Continental Divide, this epic route never ceases to amaze.

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Route Description

Those seeking a challenging day hike without the quintessential elevation gain that usually accompanies Wind River adventures will enjoy the Seneca Lake Hike. While this route is evaluated as difficult, it is the length and consistent climb, not the technicality of the terrain, that warrants the rating.

Boasting motivating views along the way, the exposed terrain sees extreme weather, so check the forecast and dress accordingly. Be mindful of rocks and roots that obstruct the path as you hike, and wear a sturdy pair of footwear for ankle support. As will all types of exploration in the area, it's a good idea to bring along a can of bear spray.

The Seneca Lake Hike is a dynamic adventure that grants breath-catching views of the Winds and the Continental Divide. Explore a wealth of different landscapes, including rock fields, meadows, and dense woodlands, all adorned with a plethora of ponds and lakes. This beautiful route is also one of the few excursions in the area that your pup can join you on and even go off-leash in areas. If you do let your dog off-leash, make sure they have a quick recall as the sub-alpine environment is often abundant with wildlife. Serving as a popular gateway into the alpine, this lovely path sees plenty of traffic, so those yearning for a more tranquil experience are encouraged to explore in the shoulder seasons or in the early morning—though you will likely still enjoy some company.

Your journey along the Seneca Lake Trail begins from the Pole Creek Trailhead. Setting out from here, the Pole Creek Trail travels southeast through lush forests along Faler Creek before confronting an intersection. Keeping left, the Pole Creek Trail will redirect northeast, continuing to explore the mixed-pine woodlands. Enjoy the shade the tree canopy provides while you can, as the route will soon become exposed to the elements. Gradually climbing, the path will soon graduate the dense tree coverage into the granite oasis.

Now exploring the rocky wilderness, the sights of the mountainscape will unfold before you. After some hiking, you will reach Photographer’s Point. Realizing why it was so named, you will be gobsmacked by the panoramas of the encompassing granite terrain decorated with beautiful lakes and lush vegetation, as well as mesmerizing views of the Winds, including Freemont Peak, dominating the skyline. Admire the beauty of the dramatic topography, then continue your expedition.

Beyond this point, the density of lakes and ponds only escalates. From here, the Pole Creek Trail will deliver you to another junction, veer left here, and you will be diverted onto the Seneca Lake Trail. Passing Elklund, Barbara, and Hobbs Lakes, you will ultimately arrive at Seneca Lake. The scene of the crystalline lake bound by Mount Lester and the encompassing granite ridges will render you speechless.

Appreciate the striking alpine scenery and snap a few pictures of the Continental Divide before beginning your return. To get back to the trailhead, simply head back the way you came.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the Seneca Lake Hike?

The Seneca Lake Trail is an 8.4 mi out-and-back hike in the Wind River Range.

Are dogs permitted on the Seneca Lake Trail?

Yes, dogs are permitted on the Seneca Lake Trail and are permitted off-leash in specific areas.

Insider Hints

  • Practice No Trace Principles
  • At least one person in your group should carry bear spray
  • Much of the terrain is exposed, so check the forecast and dress accordingly
  • The bugs are relentless, so bring bug spray
  • Assuming you have a valid license, try your hand at fly fishing in Seneca Lake

Getting There

The Seneca Lake Hike departs from the Pole Creek Trailhead off Skyline Drive.

Route Details

  • Backcountry Campground

    Backcountry Camping

  • When to do

    May-September

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    No

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    High

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Elevation Graph

Weather

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