Lizard Head Backpacking

Pinedale, Wyoming

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8 Reviews
5 out of 5
A long circuit through the southern Wind River Range. This route takes you through the prime scenery of the southern Wind River Range. However, the trip may be frustrating because even though you hike through so much superb scenery, you have to let many special places pass by unseen because there aren’t enough hours in the day (or energy in the body) for all the desired side trips. It would take ten days to cover everything you would like to see on this route. The route involves three big ascents, so it isn’t for the faint-hearted. It can, however, be hiked in reasonably short segments to make it less strenuous. Probably the most important factor in this trip is the weather. If it’s clear and sunny, backpacking doesn’t get much better than this. If you get caught in socked-in, low-hanging clouds and rain, it can be a veerrrry loonnng trip, and you would miss most of the incredible vistas. So check the weather forecast before you head for the southern Wind River Range. Special attractions: Lizard Head Peak, two trips over the Continental Divide, and many other high alpine views, spectacular mountain lakes, and endless climbing opportunities.
Best Backpacking Vacations in the Northern Rockies

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Best Backpacking Vacations in the Northern Rockies

by Bill Schneider (Falcon Guides)

A long circuit through the southern Wind River Range. This route takes you through the prime scenery of the southern Wind River Range. However, the trip may be frustrating because even though you hike through so much superb scenery, you have to let many special places pass by unseen because there aren’t enough hours in the day (or energy in the body) for all the desired side trips. It would take ten days to cover everything you would like to see on this route. The route involves three big ascents, so it isn’t for the faint-hearted. It can, however, be hiked in reasonably short segments to make it less strenuous.

Probably the most important factor in this trip is the weather. If it’s clear and sunny, backpacking doesn’t get much better than this. If you get caught in socked-in, low-hanging clouds and rain, it can be a veerrrry loonnng trip, and you would miss most of the incredible vistas. So check the weather forecast before you head for the southern Wind River Range. Special attractions: Lizard Head Peak, two trips over the Continental Divide, and many other high alpine views, spectacular mountain lakes, and endless climbing opportunities.

© 2002 Bill Schneider/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Backpacking, Hiking
Nearby City: Pinedale
Distance: 42.5
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: 5 to 7 days
Season: Best summer and fall
Local Maps: USGS Mount Bonneville, Lizard Head Peak, Dickinson Park, Big Sandy Opening, Temple Peak; Earthwalk Press Southern Wind River Range
Driving Directions: Directions to Lizard Head (Backpacking)

Recent Trail Reviews

9/5/2011
0

Just finished this trial today. We did Big Sandy to Lonesome Lake then back. It is a tuff trail the views are amazing. It was hard but totally worth the tuff trail. My only complaint is the trial is not marked very well and it is easy to get lost. Also camping far away from the lakes is kind of a pain. This is not for the novice hiker defiantly a challenge but totally worth it..


7/26/2009
0

This is an awesome trip. We did Sandy Trail to Lizard Head Meadows to Valentine Lake to Grave Lake to Skunk Lake route.. Views are spectacular. Some challenging sections and steep ascents. Lizard Head trail from LH Meadows to Valentine is totally exposed so watch for weather.


7/25/2009
0

Incredible hike with breathtaking scenery! We hiked the loop counterclockwise in 6 days. We spent the night of 7/29 at Lonesome Lake with numerous hailstorms and snow! The wildflowers were amazing and the passes were fantastic. The only downside was the number of people at Bear Lakes and Big Sandy Lake.


7/12/2009
0

Breathtaking – both in terms of scenery and physical demands. Four of us spent 7 days and 6 nights completing a counterclockwise circuit that included Cirque of the Towers, Lixard Head Meadows, and Washaki Pass. The first day we drove from Pinedale to Big Sandy Campground. We departed the trailhead at about 11am and arrived at Big Sandy Lake at about 4pm. No land speed records - however, we did leave sea level less than 48 hours earlier. The second day we broke camp at about 10:30 and headed for Jackass Pass. The climb was strenuous and interesting. We boulder hopped next to Arrowhead lake and reached the pass by 3pm. The view of Lonesome Lake and Cirque of the Towers is one of the best I have experienced in 35 years of backpacking. We traveled cross country for about ½ mile and found an awesome campsite under the cliffs of the cirque, near a beautiful waterfall. This site will be hard to top! We left the Cirque about 2pm and made it to Bear Lake about 6pm. There, we spent the evening under the watchful eye of Lizard Head. The next morning we hiked up to Lizard Head Meadow. The meadow is about 5 miles long and contained long snowfields and expansive views of August 16th peak and the glacier below. We arrived at upper Valentine lake about 5pm and found another awesome campsite. From there we descended to the South Fork of the Little Wind River and up again to camp at a small tarn below Washaki Pass. Did I mention that the mosquitos were awful ( be sure the bring head nets and lots of DEET). The pass was snow covered. The climb up from the tarn and across the pass took less than 2 hours - we were finally acclimated. From there, we descended through bolder fields and past even more spectacular cliffs to Marms Lake. We found an established campsite not far from the trail. overlooking the lake. If you’re keeping score we were 6 for 6 on great campsites. The following day was 7.2 miles back to Big Sandy Trailhead. What a great trip!


9/21/2008
0

Absolutely incredible trip. Stayed at Big Sandy Lodge first night and hit the trail at Big Sandy trailhead for the 40 mile loop, camping at Lonesome Lake, Washakie Lake and Marms Lake - all top rated campsites. This late date subjects you to some weather, but you get no bugs, no heat and no people when you go this late in the year. We usually get at least one heavy snow on these late trips, but on this one we only got a few flakes, except on Haleys Pass, where is was a full blown blizzard for the whole climb. We spent three nights/four days of incredible scenery - would take five days next time, to 'enjoy the flowers' a little bit more. You could actually spend up to ten days, with several great side trips. Three big climbs on the main route - just take your time on the switchbacks. Not for the faint of heart, but then again we were four '50 something' guys from the flatlands of Mississippi. This is alpine backpacking at it's best.



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May 2018