Why you need to hike the Wind River Range in Wyoming

When most people think of backpacking in the West, their minds drift to destinations like Colorado’s iconic 14ers, John Muir’s Sierra, the Pacific Crest Trail, or the jagged North Cascades in Washington. Very few have heard of the Wind Rivers in Wyoming — and those who have like it that way. Here’s what they’re missing.

The Winds stretch for over 100 miles along the Continental Divide, just southeast of much more popular places like Yellowstone and the Tetons. They are a truly wild and rugged wilderness, protected by two National Forests and the Wind River Reservation. All told, the range has more than 30 peaks higher than 13,000 feet and over 130 glaciers dispersed across three-quarters of a million acres of public land.

It’s a backpackers’ playground. There are nearly endless reasons to visit this part of Wyoming. Solitude is ample, trips will push your limits and challenge your skills, and the range is downright gorgeous. Tall granite spires, serene lakes, and endless wildflowers create picturesque views around every corner. The wildlife is abundant — including the notorious mosquito swarms.

There are two well-trodden zones in the Winds — Cirque de Towers and Titcomb Basin — for good reason. While most of the range is objectively beautiful, these two areas seem to be pulled from another world.

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