Temple Lake via Big Sandy Trail

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30.6 km
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.
687 m
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Directions to Trailhead

Immerse yourself in the heart of the Wind River Mountains crested by the Continental Divide on the Temple Lake via Big Sandy Trail. This epic expedition into the backcountry explores the spellbinding alpine environment laden with crystalline glacial pools.

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Route Description

The Temple Lake via Big Sandy Trail will push your limits, but the gorgeous alpine scenery makes up for the sweat. Traveling deep into the wilderness, it is important to be mindful of wildlife, including bears. Make sure at least one person in your group carries a can of bear spray! Additionally, as much of the high-altitude route is exposed, make sure to dress in layers and be mindful of storms. Additionally, the mosquitos are relentless along this path, so make sure you bring some bug spray! Don’t forget to head out in the early morning to make sure you make it back to the trailhead before nightfall.

Setting out from here, the Temple Lake via Big Sandy Hike follows the Freemont Trail north before diverting left onto the Big Sandy Trail. Gradually climbing alongside the Big Sandy River, you will weave between meadows and tree stands before reaching Big Sandy Lake. On the north side of the lake, turn right, and you will be diverted onto the Black Joe Trail. At the following junction, turn right and hike east beneath Big Sandy Mountain past Clear Lake and Deep Lake to Temple Lake. Marvel in the beauty of the crystalline lake and the impressive ridges of Temple Peak. From here, head north past Miller Lake and Rapid Lake beneath Schiestler Peak.

When you ultimately return to Big Sandy Lake, turn left and reconnect with the Big Sandy Trail. Retrace your footing along the path until you encounter an intersection with the Diamond Lake Trail. Take this lovely path past Diamond Lake, V Lake, and Meeks Cabin Lake. Here, take the southernmost branch of the Continental Divide Trail back to the Fremont Trail. Follow this route back to the trailhead.

Getting There

Access this hike from the Big Sandy Trailhead off the Big Sandy Opening Road.

Route Details

  • Backcountry Campground

    Backcountry Camping

  • When to do


  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly


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