Backpacking choices in Wyoming

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of February 28-March 6, 1996
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Backpacking choices in Wyoming
Q: I am planning a three-week backpacking trip out West this summer and was wondering if you might have any suggested itinerary or even any good suggestions as to which spots to hit (national parks, etc.). I definitely want to hit Glacier, but after that, I don't know. Can you please help?
Paul Tebben
Ann Arbor, MI
[email protected]
The Wind River Range in the Bridger-Teton Wilderness
A: Since there are almost endless possibilities for backpacking in the West, I don't have a ready-made itinerary to offer you, but I can recommend a few choice hikes you won't want to miss.

If you're driving to Glacier, plan on spending at least a couple of days en route in Wyoming's Bridger-Teton Wilderness. The 17-mile Cirque of the Towers loop rings a group of 12,000-foot peaks, making it one of Wyoming's most dramatic routes. Pick up the Big Sandy trail at Big Sandy Campground and follow it six miles through lodgepole pine forest to Big Sandy Lake. Continue two miles up 12,000-foot Jackass Pass and across the Continental Divide. To avoid crowds at Big Sandy and Lonesome Lake campgrounds in the center of the cirque, head down the drainage and pitch your tent instead along the North Fork of the Popo Agie River. To find the trailhead, take Wyoming 353 about 16 miles east of Boulder, turn left at the T-intersection, and continue eight miles to the campground. One final word: It's a good idea to pick up a bear-proof tube for your food--free with deposit--from the Pinedale Ranger Station before you go. Call 307-367-4326 for more information.

From Pinedale, head north to Grand Teton National Park for a 19-mile loop hike up Cascade Canyon, past alpine lakes and high meadows, over Paintbrush Divide, and down Paintbrush Canyon. Start at the String Lake trailhead and hike south around Jenny Lake before heading up along Cascade Creek to Lake Solitude. From there, you'll crest the divide and then switchback into Paintbrush Canyon and back to String Lake. Before you go, you'll need to pick up a free backcountry permit at the park visitor center; call 307-733-2880 for more information.

For more suggestions on Western hiking, check out "America the Hoofable" in the Destinations section of our April 1996 issue, online and on newsstands in mid-March.

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