Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Bridger Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Breathtaking. The best hike of my life.

Beautiful but very crowded!

Amazing place. But instead of out and back, consider doing a loop hike, traveling in though Shadow Lake and over Texas Pass sand out via Big Sandy Lake. While climbing Texas Pass is no picnic, we thought it was considerably easier than climbing Jackass Pass from Big Sandy.

An absolutely spectacular hike. The views are incredible.

Did an overnight out and back hike to Cirque of the Towers in August. The views and the hike was amazing, but also very strenuous. The trail is pretty level to Big Sandy Lake, but then rapidly climbs in elevation from there. It should be known though that once you pass Big Sandy, the trail can be very difficult to follow at times as it gets rockier. Some kind souls have set up rock cairns to mark a route, we tried to follow these but still managed to get off track a few times.
On the way to the Cirque we kept to the right of Arrowhead Lake and encountered a snow field. We crossed without harm, but I won't be doing it again unless I have proper equipment. On the way out however, the snowfield had frozen over and was much more slick than the previous day so we talked to some people who had went the opposite way around Arrowhead lake which involved a whole lot of scrambling over large boulders. We decided this would be the safer way and descended down to there. There is not trail so you have to navigate your own way over the large boulders, this was very time consuming.

Although the trail was very hard and demanding, it really required you to think and was quite a challenge, which I love. As I'm sure you have already heard, the mosquitos are terrible, bring a lot of bug spray and wear it even if your clothes cover your skin, as they bite through them. Get started early enough to give yourself enough time to explore your camp, next time I will be making this a 3 day trip because I would have liked to have spent more time doing so.
Truly breathtaking views and an amazing experience that made all of the challenges worth it!

8 months ago

Bugs were light, trail was continuously scenic, weather was great.

backpacking
9 months ago

Amazing 3 day backpack loop in late July with overnight stops at Shadow Lake and Big Sandy Lake. Can't say enough about it - highly recommend! Plenty of snow, water crossings, and misquitos but nothing compared to the fantastic trails, views, waterfalls, lakes, mountains, peaks, wild flowers and adventure. We took yaktrax for snow, but didnt need them - hiking poles were enough for us. Took the wrong path around Arrowhead Lake - don't recommend the boulder side unless you enjoy that experience with backpacks :-(. Breathe it in and enjoy!

backpacking
9 months ago

Did a 3 day loop July 28-30 from the Big Sandy Trailhead to Shadow Lake over Texas Pass into the Cirque then out over Jackass Pass back to the car. Even late in July, snow made the passes pretty intense and the mosquitoes were bad. We agreed that doing the loop in reverse (Big Sandy up Jackass Pass) would have been much, much harder. I'd rather go up, than down, a very steep, snowy pass (Texas Pass). And, there was a pretty tough part going down Jackass pass to Big Sandy Lake that I was glad I was going down rather than up. The area is popular for a reason, but we found plenty of peace and quiet despite the many people we met on the trail. Overall, this was the most stunning and amazing hike and I loved it.

Oh, also there is a sign posted at the trail head that there are habituated black bears near many of the lakes where camping is popular (e.g., Marm's, Shadow, Cirque, etc.) It says that bears can cut down the ropes of bags hanging from trees, so bear cans are highly recommended. What were we to do? We were already 2 hours into the sticks so we were stuck with our bear bag. It all worked out, but we wish we had known in advance.

backpacking
9 months ago

Did the loop big sandy to jack ass ( shortcut over arrowhead.. not so short as we were heading to texas) over texas pass and around by marms dads etc. great hike liked this route as easier trail when tired but as of july 22 be aware lots o snow arrowhead on and texas pass to texas lake yikes steep and snowy bring your micro spikes wish we had. bugs were ok not great but lots of river crossings from shadow lake to parking lot bring extra socks :) we went to bug sandy then texas lake then out long last day but honestly easier then big sandy to texas. Cirque was awesome highly recommend

backpacking
10 months ago

Did this over 4th of July weekend, we started from the Dad's lake side, following the shadow lake trail to form a backpacking loop. Hardest things:
1. Very wet trail with a lot of stream crossings (lost one trekking pole cuz the water is too fast)
2. Sooo much snow over Texas pass, we were the first group to pass and a lot of backpackers turned around. It's doable with microspikes
3. Crazy amount of mosquitos near big sandy lake and anywhere lower, I'd suggest camping at Dee lake, shadow lake to avoid them
But! Still a gorgeous hike.

hiking
10 months ago

Partially hiked this on June 27. The mosquitoes and stream crossings were miserable this early in the year, and there was way too much snow to safely finish the hike.

Beautiful hike. Still covered in snow though, and theres no tree markers so it takes some effort and awareness to hike it right now. But the views are to die for.

We only hiked the first two miles of this trail. The high water in the lake prevented going further. We only planned on doing the first three miles anyway. Road to trailhead washed out about a quarter mile from the start, we had to park back at the Half Moon Lodge. Moderate hike for the first two miles, but very scenic.

backpacking
Thursday, September 22, 2016

Access to many trails in the Wind Rivers. View of Squaretop Mountain are Spectacular.

backpacking
Thursday, September 22, 2016

Camped at these Lakes many years ago as a loop backpack trip from Boulder Canyon up to the Freemont Trail to Cook Lakes and returned to Boulder Canyon on the Highline trail. Great multi-day Loop

backpacking
Thursday, September 22, 2016

Hiked from Lake 10542 up to Photo Pass on the Continental Divide as part of the Wind River High Route between Green River Lakes and Big Sandy Openings

Sunday, August 28, 2016

This trail has some of the most spectacular scenery ever! We camped the first night at Sapphire Lake (west of Hobbs). We had it to ourselves and it was a great spot. The next day we did a day hike to Island Lake and Titcomb Basin. I don't know if I've ever seen any more spectacular scenery. Seneca Lake looks incredible. Then, the view from the 2nd pass down toward Island is top notch. Then, the area in Titcomb Basin looks like you are in another world with the jagged mountains coming up out of the water! Our third night we camped at Eklund Lake. The trail that goes above the Lake has a view of the lake and the Wind Rivers in the background that is also incredible! I woke up before the sun came up and there was fog everywhere and the pictures were incredible and I felt like I was in the Smoky Rocky Mountains! Tough trail, but so worth it, you won't even notice the pain :)

backpacking
Saturday, August 27, 2016

This is one of the several Wind River "High Route" the traverse the West side of the Continental Divide of Wind Rivers Mountains. Its a challenging route that is mostly off maintained trails but with the exception of the High Passes there are use trails and some rock cairns helping you stay the correct route. The high meadows are amazing and you pass peaks that are awesome. We spent 9 days to keep the mileage to 10-12 miles a day while trying to carry a pack for 8-10 hours a day.

hiking
Friday, August 26, 2016

We hiked into the Cirque coming from Texas pass and Shadow lake. Texas pass is a hard climb but relatively short coming from Texas lake. From the pass it's a long decent to Lonesome lake an incredible jewel surrounded by colossal diamond peaks. Mere words do not describe the feeling of being there. The peaks rise over 2000 ft above Lonesome Lake. Hiking out over Jackass Pass was relatively easy as most of the time we were descending although it is steep and would be difficult to come in from Big Sandy Lake to Jackass pass. Put this trail on your Life list! We did meet quite a few people on the trail and TH parking was beyond full. It is a vast area and you should be able to find a quiet place. @backpackerneil

Thursday, August 18, 2016

First 6 miles are relatively easy following along the Big Sandy River. You reach Big Sandy Lake and begin your ascent at the trailhead above the lake. Big Sandy Lake is a beautiful destination in itself. We camped there and hiked to the Cirque the next day. After your first ascent up from the lake you cross a meadow then descend to North Creek where you cross the creek. Then you follow a sketchy trail through a boulder field also marked by cairns. It runs along the east side of North Creek and North Lake. I understand there may also be a trail that goes high up over the boulder field.
You come out at the head of North Lake, beautiful, and on the west side of the lake make your second ascent. There is a fork in the trail as you hike along above North Lake. Definitely take the right or east fork up and around Arrowhead Lake. We did both trails and the left or west fork takes you around the lake thru a talus field and some difficult bouldering on the upper west side of Arrowhead. From the head of the lake you ascend 100 yards up to the rim of the Cirque. Amazing, jaw dropping views!

The views are amazing once you get through trees. Had a great backpacking trip with my son. It was our first backpacking trip together so we stayed at Hobbs Lake and did a couple day hikes up to Seneca Lake he's only 11 so we took it easy! Planning our next trip up he wants to camp at Seneca and maybe Island Lake then hike up to titcomb basins!

Start of many amazing hikes into the area, one of which is rated as the top 10 hikes in America by backpacker magazine.

trail running
Sunday, June 21, 2015

This area is amazing! We will definitely be going back to hike some more and kayak.

hiking
Friday, December 26, 2014

This is a great hike. I spent all day hiking around the area. The country gets really rugged and more beautiful the deeper you go. There are some really great spots for overnight hikes along the way. A favorite area of mine.

hiking
Thursday, October 02, 2014

Titcomb Basin and Island Lake couldn't be more scenic. The first half of the trail is a gentle incline but the last half is a series of sever up and down sections. We're thinking about returning again next year and utiIzing the services of a local outfitter who can haul our packs to Island Lake. That way, we can hike in with light day packs.

We hiked the trail during the weekend BEFORE Labor Day and it snowed. Always be prepared for adverse weather in the Winds.

camping
Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Started at New Fork lake and went up through Palmer Canyon. So many beautiful waterfalls coming down the granite cliffs! Definitely won't be my last trip to the winds!

hiking
Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Breathtaking beauty at every turn. Went in early August, the wild flowers were in bloom as were the Mosquitos, bring bug spray or a net.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Amazing. Take bear spray and have the time of your life.

hiking
Sunday, November 10, 2013

After being on my wish-list for 45 years I finally made it into one of the most incredible and beautiful places that I have every been. I have hiked and backpacked over 1,400 miles in Utah, Wyoming and this place stands out as the most beautiful. Words or pictures can't describe it sufficiently.

backpacking
Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hiked this as part of an extended trip from Big Sandy Lake and made the Temple Lake part of a loop. Between Clear Lake and Deep Lake the trail goes over granite with multiple rock cairns marking several paths but it doesn't matter because its above timberline and you just follow the stream or granite up to the lake. Coming down between Rapid Lake and Big Sandy again because of multiple trails we lost the correct trail and camp down an extremely steep trail that wasn't the correct trail so be careful picking your way. The Forest service doesn't maintain the trail from Temple-Miller-Rapid-Big Sandy lake trail. The trail does not appear on some maps but does appear on Topo Maps.

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