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Topic: Wind River Range, Easy wind river trip< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 27 2014, 8:04 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My father and I want to do a 3 to 4 night backpacking trip in the Wind River Range area.  I'm looking for something away from crowds, ideally, and more importantly, something level.  My dad's knees can't take a lot of serious elevation changes.  We will be going mid August.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.  Thanks!
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 27 2014, 8:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

"A 3 to 4 day backpack on level terrain" is a bit hard to come by in the Wind Rivers. The one that might qualify begins at the Big Sandy Trailhead, past Dad's Lake, take a right at Marm's Lake, cross Washakie Creek, head to Skull Lake, then on to Pyramid Lake. There are no major passes although the whole thing of about 15 miles one way is a gradual ascent. I did it last year and I'm past 70.
August is a good month, and that area has less people than some of the other spots.
Rics in Pinedale.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 27 2014, 9:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

xxx

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 27 2014, 10:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My first backpack in "real" mountains was a pretty easy loop (except the first 5 miles): Elkhart Park -> Pine Creek Canyon Trail (no longer officially maintained) -> Highline Trail -> in and out of Titcomb Basin -> Seneca Lake Trail -> Pole Creek Trail -> Elkhart Park

First 5 miles you descend to Long Lake (where we camped) and then back out of Pine Creek Canyon. Once you're out you pretty much stay between 9400-11K the whole way.

Even easier would be an in and out to Titcomb.

You will see people though as Elkhart Park is a popular TH and Titcomb is a popular destination.

May be doing the same loop with my 7 year old this summer.

If he doesn't already, make sure he's using trekking poles. They are great for those of us with poor knees (downhills for me).
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PostIcon Posted on: May 05 2014, 1:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Dream Lake out of Scab Creek TH (could you invent an uglier name?) might qualify. There are a couple of uphill sections, but much of the hike is fairly level. It would be a four night trip, not a three. Both going in and coming out, you would stay at Divide or Little Divide Lakes (last time I went, lot's of bovine company).  We made it a five night affair, but spent the extra day exploring and fishing the divide country up above Dream Lake.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 07 2014, 12:19 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(buzzards @ May 05 2014, 11:47 am)
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Dream Lake out of Scab Creek TH (could you invent an uglier name?) might qualify. There are a couple of uphill sections, but much of the hike is fairly level.

Yes, one you get past the 1,400' climb, in the first 1 1/2 mi !!!

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PostIcon Posted on: May 07 2014, 9:35 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Swimswithtrout is correct. the Scab Creek TH is notorious for being a difficult uphill access for the first mile or so. The worst one on the west side of the Wind Rivers is the Boulder Entrance which is akin to climbing out of the Grand Canyon.
Rics in Pinedale


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PostIcon Posted on: May 07 2014, 2:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(swimswithtrout @ May 06 2014, 10:19 pm)
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(buzzards @ May 05 2014, 11:47 am)
QUOTE
Dream Lake out of Scab Creek TH (could you invent an uglier name?) might qualify. There are a couple of uphill sections, but much of the hike is fairly level.

Yes, one you get past the 1,400' climb, in the first 1 1/2 mi !!!

Different standards, I guess. Only in the last couple of years would a 1000K climb in a mile have been greeted with anything more than a shrug of my shoulders. And it has been a while since I was there, my limbs were a tad springier. I just don't recall any real challenging sections.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 07 2014, 4:08 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Depending on your dad's age/knee situation, and what you are looking for (actually getting into stellar scenery, if you want to fish, or if you just kind of want to get away) there are a few options.  A few mentions have been heading into the Skull Lake area, and Island Lake.  Skull Lake would be the easier hike - there are quite a few more ups and downs on the way to Island.  Both gain considerable elevation over the course of roughly 10 miles.

If you are just looking to get out, I have never been to this part of the range (but, I was trying to plan for beginners who didn't have a lot of time, and had physical limitations) - but I have looked into the Silas Lake(s) area in the southern portion.  If you have a 4wd vehicle, maps show what is probably a very poor road that starts about a mile north of Fiddler's Lake, heading southwest to the wilderness boundary.  Upper Silas Lake is less than a mile from that point.  

If the vehicle situation/not wanting to risk an unknown road does not appeal, you can hike out from Fiddler's Lake and be to Lower Silas in about 2.5 miles, and about 300' gain.  I have no idea about how crowded the area is, but there are a lot of lakes in the area that you could day hike to, and most all have fish.  
This would not be nearly as scenic, but it might fit your parameters.  Im sure if you just take it easy, you could spend you time exploring the area (daypacks are much easier on knees that full packs ;)  ) Planning trips is about 38% of the fun, lots to look forward to!  Good luck!
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PostIcon Posted on: May 07 2014, 10:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Rics @ May 07 2014, 9:35 am)
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Swimswithtrout is correct. the Scab Creek TH is notorious for being a difficult uphill access for the first mile or so. The worst one on the west side of the Wind Rivers is the Boulder Entrance which is akin to climbing out of the Grand Canyon.

The ascent from Scab Creek is irritating, but at least it's at the start of the hike when presumably you are fresh and ready to go. We did it three years ago and one member of our party who was pushing 70 apparently had no trouble with it. (YMMV) A good thing about Scab Creek is that a day's hike plus maybe a couple hours the next morning puts you in relatively flat meadows with good views of Mt. Bonneville and vicinity. From there the hike up to Middle Fork Lake is relatively easy, although probably not do-able if you only have 3-4 nights available. (MFL may be my favorite spot in the Winds.)

Note, when we started from Scab Creek, we camped at the trailhead the night before so that we could hit the trail early rather than waste time driving in in the a.m. and then having to work the car kinks out. We intended to camp at Crescent Laker that night but ended up stopping near Lightning Lakes because a couple of people weren't feeling well.

Our route that 7-night hike at https://www.flickr.com/photos/rbs10025/6156249187/sizes/l/ and photos at https://www.flickr.com/photos/rbs10025/sets/72157627426301053

And as for Boulder trailhead, it sukked enough coming out that way that I'd hate to start from there.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 07 2014, 10:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(rbs10025 @ May 07 2014, 8:26 pm)
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(Rics @ May 07 2014, 9:35 am)
QUOTE
Swimswithtrout is correct. the Scab Creek TH is notorious for being a difficult uphill access for the first mile or so. The worst one on the west side of the Wind Rivers is the Boulder Entrance which is akin to climbing out of the Grand Canyon.


The ascent from Scab Creek is irritating, but at least it's at the start of the hike when presumably you are fresh and ready to go.

And as for Boulder trailhead, it sucked enough coming out that way that I'd hate to start from there.

Fresh and ready to go, yes !! Willing to tackle a 1,400' climb straight out of the car with a 17 day pack ? No.

There's a very good reason that Elkhart Pk , Big Sandy, (and to a lesser degree) Green River Lks are the most popular TH's on the west slope of the Winds.

Elkhart Pk lets you drive up onto the mid -level plateau that characterizes ~ 60% of the Western Slope. All of the rest of the TH's are steep, relentless hikes, for miles, to get yourself up onto that plateau; except for Big Sandy, that starts at the lowest point of the Southern terminus of the plateau.

If you want easy, than Elkhart Pk and Big Sandy are your best options.

Because of the difficulty of the TH approaches at the others, you might encounter fewer BP's , but then you're in the heart of "Horse Packer Central " (apologies to DC ) since that's their big window of opportunity.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 07 2014, 11:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Where are you Bonaventure?  Look what you started.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 08 2014, 7:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

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PostIcon Posted on: May 09 2014, 8:58 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Rics @ Apr. 27 2014, 8:47 pm)
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"A 3 to 4 day backpack on level terrain" is a bit hard to come by in the Wind Rivers. The one that might qualify begins at the Big Sandy Trailhead, past Dad's Lake, take a right at Marm's Lake, cross Washakie Creek, head to Skull Lake, then on to Pyramid Lake. There are no major passes although the whole thing of about 15 miles one way is a gradual ascent. I did it last year and I'm past 70.
August is a good month, and that area has less people than some of the other spots.
Rics in Pinedale.

This is a good one for what the OP wants.  I went that way on the way to the South Fork lakes / Graves lake.  Skull lake doable in a day, and it would be real easy to head to Pyramid over 2 days.  Nice scenery and some decent fishing  along the way (try Mays lake).

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PostIcon Posted on: May 09 2014, 11:38 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If I had a member of my group who had bad knees I might want also want to consider a location where I could backpack on fairly level ground and in one day be at a location which was remote enough to be away from the crowds, but would serve as a base camp for more strenuous day hikes that would be both enjoyable and manageable on bad knees without the weight of a pack.  I would not want to find myself two days in and then be faced with a person who is now immobile because of knee issues.  

You might want to consider the Green River Lakes area.  The following are pictures of the Green River Lakes area with the first taken from the start of the trailhead looking toward Squaretop and the second is taken looking down from the top of Squaretop:





If conditioning and knees are an issue, you could drive to the lakes and the same day leisurely backpack about 4 miles with little elevation change to the area just past the first lake on the northern shore of the second lake.   This is taken from this camp site.



From here you could do a day hikes or backpack up clear creek as far as he can tolerate.  



Another day trip from the camp between the lakes is to travel to the top of what I believe is called White Rock Mountain which is above the Lakes on the east side.  Here is a video of my hike up White Rock:  White Rock Climb

Another option from the camp site between the lakes is to travel further up the Green River past the second lake up to Beaver Park.   Much of this is on level ground as you can see from a video I took when I canoed up the Green past the second lake.  Upper Green River

Once you get close to the base of Squaretop you have a little elevation change up to Beaver Park which is a meadow area below Granite Lake and Squaretop.  



The whole trip from the area between the lakes to Beaver park is probably 6 miles. From Beaver Park you could do a day hike either further up the trail, which may have some river crossings that could be tricky with a bad knee.   If the knee can tolerate a very steep climb and more importantly a return decent you could make a day hike up the one mile trail from Beaver Park to Granite Lake at the base of Squaretop.  (This is probably not a good idea if he has very bad knees as not only is it steep it can get very slippery in bad weather)  However, Granite Lake is a nice spot.


You could also take a day trip or backpack a ways up Porcupine trail.  I don’t think I would venture all the way up to the pass with knee issues.

I hope you have a great trip.

Kindest Regards, Lloyd
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PostIcon Posted on: May 09 2014, 2:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(rbs10025 @ May 07 2014, 10:26 pm)
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Hey, RBS - how difficult is that route between Pyramid & Bonneville, then from Bonneville to Middle Fork?  That's an intriguing area...   I have plotted a route nearby we're considering for upcoming years, which could be modified to incorporate some/all of that.  But my wife is not crazy about sheer vert exposure, and likes to keep scrambling to a rather easy level.   The topos make it look like it might be more than she'd want, but eyes on the ground are better than map lines.  Just curious.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 11 2014, 4:13 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(LangdonGreene @ May 09 2014, 2:04 pm)
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Hey, RBS - how difficult is that route between Pyramid & Bonneville, then from Bonneville to Middle Fork?  That's an intriguing area...   I have plotted a route nearby we're considering for upcoming years, which could be modified to incorporate some/all of that.  But my wife is not crazy about sheer vert exposure, and likes to keep scrambling to a rather easy level.   The topos make it look like it might be more than she'd want, but eyes on the ground are better than map lines.  Just curious.

Langdon, We did it the other direction — Middle Fork to Bonneville Lakes to East Fork and Pyramid — which I believe is the route that most folk follow if they hit all those spots.

I think it's really a matter of what condition you're in and what sort of hiking you prefer. I found parts of strenuous, but I was in late 40s and not in the best condition when we did that route. Other (younger) hikers have commented on this forum "It's no big deal."

We had one person break off the group going up the rocky slope from Lee Lake toward Nylon because his backpack wasn't balanced well and was fighting him. I didn't care for that part much (talus slopes, ugh), but found it more difficult the next day when we were descending from the saddle by Raid Peak into East Fork Valley and had to deal with a section of boulder hopping.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 11 2014, 4:17 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(lebthree @ May 09 2014, 11:38 am)
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If conditioning and knees are an issue, you could drive to the lakes and the same day leisurely backpack about 4 miles with little elevation change to the area just past the first lake on the northern shore of the second lake.   This is taken from this camp site...

I recognize the view from that campsite. Gorgeous place to wake up in the morning.

Upper Green River Lake and Squaretop (0104)

Just watch out for moose showing up for breakfast.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 08 2014, 5:54 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Great thread.  I had a knee reconstruction in Feb 2013.  Hiked to the upper end of Rainbow Lake via Scab Ck in one day in mid-Sept.  I'm a flatlander, FWIW.  That first part up to Dream L with a full pack isn't too fun, but beats Meadow Lake TH up to Barnes.  Meadow L is a lot better if you have an ATV to get you to the wilderness border before starting.
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