Backpacking Wyoming  by Doug Lorain

Backpacking Wyoming Guide Book

by Doug Lorain (Wilderness Press)
Backpacking Wyoming  by Doug Lorain
Backpacking Wyoming details the premier backpacking opportunities in the Cowboy State. Doug Lorain describes 28 trips plus 9 bonus ones with carefully crafted, field-tested itineraries, which range from two days to two weeks.

© 2010 Doug Lorain/Wilderness Press. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Backpacking Wyoming" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 37.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 37.

The trail skirts the meadows on the northeast side of gorgeous Beartooth Lake with stunning views across the water to rugged and very colorful Beartooth Butte. After just 75 yards the trail splits, the start of your loop, with the Beauty Lake Trail going to the right.
Cody, WY - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 21.4
The slightly uphill trail begins by going west through a forest of young lodgepole pines that are slowly recovering from the massive fires of 1988. Most of the trees are only about 15 feet tall, so shade is something of a rarity. The extra sunshine allowed in by the shorter trees, however, has led to fine wildflower displays from late June to early August and generally better views. After 0.1 mile you come to a junction. Go right on Bighorn Loop and soon walk past several car campsites in Indian Creek Campground. At 0.3 mile follow the campground’s loop road for 10 yards before veering left back onto the trail.
Cody, WY - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 45.7
The trail departs from right next to the signboard and descends for less than 0.1 mile through lodgepole pine woodlands to pretty Coyote Meadows. Wildflowers are abundant right from the start of this hike in both the forest and the meadow. Look for Queen Anne’s lace, monkshood, fireweed, false hellebore, lupine, harebell, geranium, yarrow, coneflower, spiraea, goldenrod, sunflower, clover, and a host of others. On the down side, cattle are allowed to graze in Coyote Meadows, so expect lots of cow pies, livestock trails, and noisy mooing.
Jackson, WY - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 25.4
From the Gardiner Trailhead, the trail cuts through a narrow 60-yard strip of land between the church property on your left and a private campground on the right to a prominent trail sign. For the next 0.5 mile you cross private land (please stay on the trail), passing the confluence of the small and clear Gardner River with the larger and murkier Yellowstone River to where signs tell you that you are entering Yellowstone National Park. The surroundings are unlike what most people think of when they envision Yellowstone. Here, at the lowest elevations in the park, the only trees are some scattered Rocky Mountain junipers and a few cottonwoods by the river. In fact, the region is a semidesert, complete with sagebrush and prickly pear cactus. In summer it can get very hot in this canyon, but the relatively mild winters make it critical winter range for many of the park’s large mammals, including bison, elk, and bighorn sheep.
Cody, WY - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 32.2
Several trails meet at or near this popular trailhead. The most heavily traveled route goes north up the canyon of Granite Creek (see Trip 13, page 113). For this trip, however, you go east on a trail that begins at the northeast corner of the parking area beside a small sign saying shoal falls.
Jackson, WY - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 37.2
The trail leaves from the north side of the road directly across from the parking lot and, after uniting with the separate horse access trail, ascends a slope partly forested with lodgepole pines, Douglas firs, limber pines, and quaking aspens and partly covered with grasses, sagebrush, bitterbrush, and various wildflowers.
Jackson, WY - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 61.7
Located in the southeastern Bighorn Mountains not far off U.S. Highway 16, this short, relatively easy loop is a nice sampler of what this impressive range offers. The trail ascends 1.8 miles to a junction at Sherd Lake and then loops counterclockwise past Otter and Trigger Lakes before returning to Sherd Lake via the South Fork Ponds. Most of the main loop route is in forest with limited views, but excellent short side trails offer access to Willow and Old Crow lakes where you can catch nice views of the high peaks to the west.
Sheridan, WY - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 9
The Clarks Fork Trail starts near a horse corral on the northeast side of the small parking lot and travels gradually up and down through sagebrush, grassy areas, and open forests of Douglas firs, Engelmann spruces, lodgepole pines, Rocky Mountain junipers, and quaking aspens. Fantastic views extend in all directions with perhaps the most notable ones to the southwest of Hunter Peak and southeast to the impressive Cathedral Cliffs. Wildflowers abound in late May and June, with larkspur, arrowleaf balsamroot, and, in wetter areas, shooting star being particularly abundant.
Cody, WY - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 23.3
Loop lovers sometimes look at a map of the northern Shoshone National Forest and salivate over what appears to be a nearly perfect loop that goes up and down above the steep canyons of Crandall and Timber Creeks, visits scenic Canoe Lake (see Trip 3, p. 31) and Bootjack Gap in Yellowstone National Park, and returns via the view-packed Papoose Ridge Trail. And while the scenery is indeed impressive and the wildlife abundant, for years “problem” grizzly bears were transported here from Yellowstone National Park. The bears here are both extremely common and unusually aggressive, which will make many hikers queasy about traveling here and lead to some sleepless nights.
Cody, WY - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 43
As an enticing preview of what is to come, the trail starts in a beautiful mountain meadow of grasses and low sagebrush with good views to the west of a line of unnamed jagged peaks. The trail soon enters a forest of mostly lodgepole pines and begins gradually climbing in a series of irregularly spaced, lazy switchbacks. At 1.6 miles you enter the Popo Agie Wilderness after which the trail continues its pattern of gently ascending switchbacks in open forest. As you gain elevation the forest changes from mostly lodgepole pines to a mix of Engelmann spruces, subalpine firs, and whitebark pines. The first views come at around 3.5 miles when you reach a sloping, willow-choked meadow beneath a row of rocky pinnacles. The trail loops around the top of this meadow, then curves back to the west and traverses a rocky slope to indistinct Adams Pass. You are now above treeline, so the views are unobstructed and superb.
Riverton, WY - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 37.1
Eagle Creek, a major tributary of the North Fork Shoshone River, drains a large area across from the southeast border of Yellowstone National Park. The trail along this stream passes beneath tall peaks and ridges, goes through huge and glorious Eagle Creek Meadows, and eventually climbs all the way to Eagle Pass. At the pass you are right on the border of Yellowstone Park and a stone’s throw from Eagle Peak, which at 11,358 feet is the highest point in the park. In addition to its scenic treasures, the trail boasts the same assortment of abundant wildlife as the park, including grizzly bears, so act accordingly. Most of the 16.5 miles to the pass are quite gentle and relatively easy, with the majority of the elevation gain coming in the last couple of miles. The biggest potential obstacles are a couple of difficult stream crossings, so save this trip for later in the summer.
Cody, WY - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 33
From the trailhead signboard go north, following signs to Wiggins Fork via Double Cabin, and in about 200 yards come to a calfto knee-deep ford of Frontier Creek. Although that simple description makes it sound easy, finding the proper trail to the creek, locating the correct crossing point, and picking up the trail on the other side of the ford are all rather tricky. Compounding the problem are numerous livestock trails that crisscross the area. Your best bet is to go upstream about 200 yards from the signboard, cross at a gravelly area, and search for the trail on the other side.
Jackson, WY - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 27.4
The wide trail goes upstream about 30 yards, past a large trailhead signboard and restroom building, to a metal bridge over the rushing Encampment River.
Laramie, WY - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 18.2
The wide, gravelly Glacier Trail takes off from the west end of the parking lot and switchbacks steadily up a semidesert hillside covered with grasses, sagebrush, junipers, and even a few prickly pear cacti. After 0.6 mile bear left at a junction with Whiskey Mountain Trail, soon enter the Fitzpatrick Wilderness, and at 0.8 mile come to a junction with the Lake Louise Trail. Go left and cross a sturdy wooden bridge over Torrey Creek, stopping first to admire the stream as it races down a narrow chasm in a roaring cataract.
Riverton, WY - Backpacking,Fishing,Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 44.2
Although equally dramatic in either direction, the spacing of campsites makes a counterclockwise circuit preferable, so begin by walking 0.4 mile back north along the gravel entrance road, and then turning left onto the unsigned Moose Ponds Trail just before the road crosses a trickling creek.
Jackson, WY - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 48.5
From the trailhead head north up the wide canyon of Granite Creek on a gated jeep track that wanders very gradually uphill through a land of sagebrush, wildflowers, and open views of the towering peaks of the Gros Ventre Range. After just 75 yards the jeep road curves to the right, but you veer left on a trail that soon takes you past a series of active beaver ponds. Early in the morning you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of these industrious large rodents. After the ponds the trail passes a pair of large springs and at 1.6 miles crosses the hillside above loud, impressive Granite Falls. Since the view from the trail is a bit restricted, the best place to get a good look at this falls is from a roadside viewpoint on the other side of the canyon. This spot is worth driving to and checking out either before or after your hike. At 1.9 miles is Granite Hot Springs, where there is a developed resort complete with picnic tables, soaking pools, and a footbridge linking the hot spring with a resort complex on the west side of the creek.
Jackson, WY - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 32.5
Beginning from the southwest corner of the parking lot, the trail goes briefly down a draw and comes to a fork, where the Lakeside Trail goes to the right
Jackson, WY - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 70.9
If you start hiking from the parking area at the end of the reasonably good road, you immediately ford or jump over small Jojo Creek, then walk the road over a huge sagebrushcovered flat with the rather unimaginative (okay, make that really unimaginative) name of “The Meadows.” Name issues aside, The Meadows does provide terrific views of the peaks ahead and the possibility of seeing both deer and moose. Scattered about The Meadows, and especially along its edge, are trees such as quaking aspens, limber pines, and Engelmann spruces. After 0.4 mile you make a calf-deep ford of Wood River. Another 1.8 miles of mostly flat walking leads you to the second ford of Wood River, after which the road leaves The Meadows and enters increasingly forested terrain.
Jackson, WY - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 45.8
The wide, sandy, and sometimes dusty trail departs from the northeast corner of the parking area and travels east through a lodgepole pine forest. Most of the trees here are regrowing from a natural reseeding following the 1988 fires and provide very limited shade. Expect to be uncomfortably warm on hot summer days.
Cody, WY - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 61.5
Starting off the South Fork Shoshone River Road (Wyoming Highway 291) southwest of Cody, the trail goes west up the deep, rugged mountain valley of boisterous Ishawooa Creek, past two fine waterfalls, to Ishawooa Pass at 17 miles. Descend southwest along Pass Creek to a junction at Thorofare Creek, then turn east and ascend along Butte Creek to Deer Creek Pass next to the impressive ramparts of Kingfisher Mountain. Continue east another 10 miles beside Deer Creek back to the road. The loop is long and rugged, but well worth it for hardy backpackers. Be prepared to encounter grizzly bears almost anywhere along this trail.
Cody, WY - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 46