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Hiking the "Wind River Range", Pinedale, WY

Updated on May 22, 2011

Great views...

A hidden lake....

Hiking the "Wind"

It was early November of 2009, and my buddy Monty and I had to get one last hike in before I moved back to Georgia. We decided that the Wind River Range, 70 miles East of Jackson Hole, WY would be a great place to hike. We'd seen the pictures and read some stories of the area, but seeing it in person seemed like a better idea to us both. It was a beautiful morning in skies, and not a cloud in sight. We packed our day packs with water, snacks, and a first aid kit, and headed out for the 1 1/2 hour trip to Pinedale. We drove South out of Jackson Hole, and turned left toward Pinedale once we reached the split in the highway near the Hoback region. The drive was beautiful....sun in our faces, and the clear, crisp, morning air coming through the windows refreshed us as nothing else could.

We followed the map and finally stopped for gas in Pinedale, and fueled up with some energy bars before heading into the back country of the Wind River Range. We would be going up to 9000 ft altitude so we were expecting snow to be on the ground for sure. We were excited to hike in the snow, but we had never hiked in it before so we were cautious as well. We drove another 10 miles up a single road that had some amazing views along the way. The lakes were an unbelievable "Blue", and we were in awe each time we came upon one. As the picture to the left will show, you will see for yourself.....

Don't step off the trail...

We drove a few more miles and came upon a parking area at the end of the road. We were here! I don't recall the name of the trail, but it was a great trail in every aspect. The temperature was in the 20's, but that was alright....we'd be sweating very shortly once we started hiking. There were no other cars or trucks in the parking lot.....we had the trail to ourselves!! Monty took the lead and I followed for the first couple of miles. The snow was deep off of the trail, so we were diligent about staying on it. It had to be three feet deep off of the trail, more in some spots. It was beautiful, but blinding so we donned our sunglasses and proceeded deeper into the wilderness. The wildlife was abundant in the area, but since the snow was deep, the wildlife was probably bedded for the day. We saw tracks so that probably meant the animals were feeding during the night, with the light of the full moon to help them see better. We kept our eyes on the trail ahead, just in case Mr. Grizzly or Mrs. Wolf was out foraging for anything. We had our bear spray readily available, but we were hoping that would never come into play. If we spotted one, we would play it cool, and back away from it never taking our eyes off of it, what ever it was. We had seen grizzlies before in the Teton National Park, and we knew they meant business. The hike was amazing, the scenery added the different great qualities to the outing. We were blessed to be where we were and we knew we were in God's country. If you've never been out West, do yourself a favor and get out there soon! God is an amazing artist as we found out when we stepped out into the back country and saw the amazing views, mountains, and rock formations he formed millions of years ago when "HE" created this world we live in!

We stopped for a snack an hour into the hike, the snow now as deep as our thighs. Monty stepped off the trail at one point, just to check it out....Not a good idea. He sank up to his knees in a split second, but quickly got himself back on the trail. Never hike by yourself in the back country, there are too many things that could happen out there, and if you're alone, well, you'll be lucky to see anyone else ever again. Too many people have died that way, thinking they can just do a day hike for a few miles, and they're never to be seen again. A twisted ankle, a fall, or an avalanche can ruin your day in the blink of an eye, be smart, not proud.

We ended up just hiking three miles out, since the trail disappeared eventually, plus we'd never been out there before and didn't want to take any chances with our lives. We turned back and headed back out the way we had come. The temp was dropping now in the late afternoon, and Lord knows we didn't want to get stuck out in those mountains with that temperature. We only met three others on the trail that day, well four counting the huge dog that was with them. A father and his two kids, one boy, one girl, and the dog.....were headed out to do some deer hunting for the afternoon. It was an awesome sight to come around a bend and see three horses with their riders coming up the trail. Monty and I stepped off in a safe area and gave them the "right away", plus they were bigger! We wished them luck, and said our goodbye's.....We took a few pictures to add to our albums as well.

Monty taking a chance off the trail...

It's a Family Affair...

Monty and I reached the parking lot once more, tired, but happy. We unloaded our packs and "high fived" for another completed hike. On our way back down the single road, we spotted a deer bedded up in the afternoon sun, always a bonus to see the wildlife indigenous to the area. We hiked over 150 miles in the 7 months (May 25 - Nov. 15, 2009) I lived in Jackson Hole, something I never thought I'd be doing. If you'd like, go to my Facebook page, and friend me to see ALL of my Wyoming pictures, and many more of different subjects. I'm (Jeffrey Van Randolph) on FB, and I welcome new friends each day on there. Thanks for reading the hub, leave a comment if you want too....Safe hikes, Jeff :-)

Brining up the rear....

A young mule deer taking a break....


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    • profile image

      Jrandol62 5 years ago

      Yep, you should've kept driving friend!! This range and the Teton range have many trails to hike, and the scenery will blow your mind!! GOD's country for sure! Thanks for voting, and do yourself a favor and take a trip to Jackson Hole, WY....It'll stir your soul!! :)

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Great hub. I once drove to Wyoming by accident and had to turn back to get back to Colorado..wish I'd kept going now! Great photos and this place is truly beautiful. Voted up, etc, etc

    • Jrandol62 profile image

      Jeff 6 years ago from Where ever the road takes me....

      Glad to hear it Marellen! Enjoy!

    • profile image

      marellen 6 years ago

      Thanks Jeff for sure brings back some good memories for me....I'm off to Facebook to see those pics.

    • Jrandol62 profile image

      Jeff 6 years ago from Where ever the road takes me....

      Thanks friend....missing those great hikes and my buddy Monty. He still lives in Jackson Hole, lucky mutha! LOL

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Voted up and awesome! Thanks for the idea of hiking is a nature trail in Orlando! hahaha! Glad it all worked out well! Keep 'em coming!!