4 Days in the Wind River Range

MikeM

Member
.
Joined
Oct 12, 2015
Messages
363
Hi all - I'm considering a trip to the Winds this summer and wondering if anyone has done a similar trip, or if we are being a bit too ambitious with our plans.

Due to work and family obligations, my hiking partner and I are only able to get 4 days, at most, for this trip. I'd love to make it to the Titcomb Basin, even though I know it is going to be crowded.

Right now, the itinerary is looking something like this:

Day 1: Elkhart Park TH to Titcomb Basin. (~15.5 miles)
Day 2: Summit Freemont Peak, explore Titcomb Basin (And Indian Basin if time allows)
Day 3: Titcomb Basin to Peak Lake via Knapsack Col, then catch Highline Trail to camp at Upper Jean Lake (~10.5 miles)
Day 4: Upper Jean Lake back to Elkhart Park TH (~15 miles)

Has anyone done this loop before, and if so how long did you take? I am wondering if we need to cut out the loop part of it, and instead just do an out-and-back into Titcomb Basin. We've done 15+ mile days before in Glacier and other parts of Montana, but with this being my first time to the Winds I'm not sure if 4 days is going to be enough time.

Any suggestions/comments?
 

b.stark

Forever Wandering
.
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
843
If you're up for 15+ mile days at 10,000+ feet, it's doable. Nothing too crazy there. I've never hiked into the Titcomb basin in a day, but have hiked out in a day a couple times. It's not too bad going that way. Just have to be in good shape going in, there's a surprising amount of up and down once you get past Eklund Lake. The Elbow Lake area is pretty neat. I hear of a fair number of people camping in the Jean Lakes area but from when I hiked through several years ago, it looked like a tough place to find a campsite.

For some reason, I usually find the trail pretty busy from the trailhead to Seneca lake. Past that things seem to thin out. You will be around people on that loop, though.

You probably won't be disappointed if you just do an out and back to the Titcomb Basin. I did an out and back a few years ago and hiked Indian Pass instead of doing Fremont Peak. Think that was 5 days. I will say that the trail from Eklund to Elkhart is BORING.

Edited to add: I have never personally done Knapsack Col yet. But if you're used to off trail high country passes, it shouldn't pose any issues unusual to that kind of pass. It's becoming a pretty popular route.
 

MikeM

Member
.
Joined
Oct 12, 2015
Messages
363
Thanks, @b.stark
Now I wonder if we should reverse course, and go in through the Highline trail, breaking that up differently to get two 10-12 mile days on the way in. Then, have one 15+ mile day on the last day from Titcomb all the way out. I'm having a hard time finding mileages between points, especially since Knapsack Col isn't officially on a trail. Anyone have any good resources for that? I think it would definitely help with the planning to know if my mileage estimates are accurate.

@LarryBoy , you got it, I will do my best to get that picture for Scatman!
 

Devo

Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
Messages
152
I don't know the kind of shape you and your partner are in. Titcomb to Elkhart is certainly doable in a day if you have good conditioning and can take the altitude but there are a lot of ups and downs between the two. It's not an easy 15 in either direction so just keep that in mind (photographers point and Island lake are about the same elevation but the 7 ish miles between the two you gain and lose about 1500 feet, can play with your head a little lol). Certainly going from Titcomb to Elkhart would be easier but would still have around 1500 elevation gain.

I haven't done Elkhart to Jean Lake so sorry I can't help with that one!

Caltopo.com seems to work great for me when planning trips, create lines to get milage and elevation profile. Seems pretty accurate too in my experience.

Unless Elkhart to Jean is a lot easier hike I would say go for Titcomb on day 1 and then see how you guys feel from there. If after that you feel the loop would be too much there is plenty to explore between titcomb and indian basins (like bagging Fremont like you mentioned) on day hikes. Be a good way to go for the whole thing but not be disappointed if you decided to just make it an out and back. I'm all about going for gold and having contingencies lol.

Sounds like a great trip, have fun!
 

Dave

Broadcaster, formerly "ashergrey"
.
Joined
May 5, 2012
Messages
1,722
I’ll just chime in to say 15 miles in Glacier and 15 miles in the Winds are not 1:1. The elevation differential needs to be considered. Sounds like a really cool trip if you’re conditioned for it.
 

RyanP

Formerly bob32
Joined
Mar 1, 2015
Messages
319
I went to that area this last September. I didn't do the Knapsack Col route---I did the Cook Lakes to Wall Lake to Indian Basin to Titcomb Basin route instead, but those trails in general are not too difficult for the given mileage. I was surprised at how many people I met doing the Knapsack Col Route. I was also surprised that we actually liked the Indian Basin area better than the Titcomb Basin area. Titcomb is slightly more spectacular, but the hike into the basin is similar views the whole way in, while Indian Basin is more varied scenery with its twists and turns. I highly recommend hiking to the Fremont Saddle (before the scrambling begins) even if you don't make it to the summit. Indian pass was also fun. I personally think 4 days isn't enough, though. We had 5 days, and the trip would have been a more natural 6-day trip (for my party anyway). As was mentioned above, it's a long boring hike to get to where the good stuff begins (it really takes 9 miles or so before it starts getting awesome), so I personally would opt for somewhere else if I only had four days.
 

OldBill

Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2015
Messages
214
In 4 days you might want to try a loop through the Cirque. If you do Titcomb via Highline I'd suggest camp #1 at Big Slide. Great scenery even with all the use it gets. Another thing to consider in planning is the weather. Always have a Plan B.
 

andyjaggy

Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2013
Messages
937
If you are in reasonable condition you can do elkhart to titcomb in one day without issues. I am not an athlete by any means and while I do a fair amount of backpacking I am still a bit overweight, but I was able to do it in a day and it wasn't that bad.
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
M 5 days Green > Elk Wind River route advice August 17th Trip Planning 9
Dreamer Wind River Dreaming | Summer 2014 the first few days July 9 - 14 Backpacking 5
outnabout Wind River - 4 days, Elkhart-AngelPass-Dennis Lake Backpacking 17
tarpon6 9 Days Solo Wind River Range Washakie Pass, Grave Lake, Hailey Pass Loop. Backpacking 6
Bob Wind Rivers NE Corner - 9 Days of Heaven ...... Backpacking 20
norwegianxplorer 5 days Backpacking Rondane National Park, Norway Backpacking 3
norwegianxplorer 10 days Backpacking Femundsmarka National Park and Rogen Nature Reserve, Norway and Sweden Backpacking 8
napatony13 1100 Miles, 43 Days, Summits All 58 14ers in Colorado General Discussion 4
Titans Reflections in ponds: 4 days in The Adirondacks, Sept 1-4, 2021 Hiking & Camping 5
Janice 7 Breathtaking Days in the Winds Trip Reports 15
2eez4life 4 days 3 nights in the Uintas Trip Planning 9
Bob Bob Marshall - 7 days Backpacking 7
norwegianxplorer Backpacking Norway, Lysefjorden/Kjerag/Kjerag Waterfall/Kjeragbolten, 4 days Solo Hiking high above the Norwegian Fjords Trip Reports 2
Laura V. Four Days in Salt Creek Canyon, April 2021 Backpacking 31
NorthwestWanderer 4 Days Backpacking Capitol Reef : Spring Canyon & Various side canyons Backpacking 5
norwegianxplorer Ski Dogs, Norway, fun days off piste ski touring amazing conditions Winter Sports 0
WasatchWill The High Uintas 4-4-4: Four Basins, Four Passes, Four Days Backpacking 18
J A few days in Mojave National Preserve Dec. 5-7, 2020 Hiking & Camping 9
J N. Mojave Desert Rambles and Scrambles (start of 40 desert days) Nov. 14-20, 2020 Hiking & Camping 4
LarryBoy Five Days on Boulder Mountain Backpacking 5
Hiker Seth A few days in Baxter SP Backpacking 5
W 9 Days Solo Escalante Loop in October (water advice) - Stevens Canyon, Baker Route over Waterpocket fold, Halls Narrows to Moody Canyons Trip Planning 11
norwegianxplorer Summiting Mount Whitney from Guitar Lake, 6 Days backpacking the Sierra before the Creek Fire closed everything down. Backpacking 5
Happyidiot 4 Days In The Winds Backpacking 10
balzaccom Five days in Yosemite Backpacking 2
TrailScot 10 days in The Maze - April 2019 Backpacking 22
NorthwestWanderer 3 days in Idaho/Oregon's Hells Canyon: Pittsburgh Landing to Willow Creek Backpacking 2
pstm13 HELP NEEDED- Idaho in Early June for 2-3 Days Trip Planning 6
U Any recommendations for 5 days hiking in Wyoming, Idaho or MT? This is around July 15-20. Not counting on Glacier being open Trip Planning 9
C Days of Old General Discussion 14
JBPHXAZ Suggestions for 4-5 days Backpacking in the Southwest Trip Planning 2
fossana A taste of the GR11: 6 Days on the Travesía Pirenaica (High Pyrenees, Spain) Backpacking 18
TeamJenkins17 Few days in Glacier August 2019 Hiking & Camping 0
Mikjik86 8 Days Backpacking Dark Canyon Wilderness Backpacking 2
TractorDoc Three Days at Mount Rainier in late July. Hiking & Camping 10
2eez4life 4 days in the Sawtooths Backpacking 6
NorthwestWanderer 6 Day backpacking trip in Glacier Peak Wilderness (3 days of off trail route) Backpacking 9
misSOULa Six days in the Bob Marshall Wilderness: The Chinese Wall and White River Backpacking 15
RyanP Kane to Bullet in 4 days? Trip Planning 8
J Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness, UT-AZ Backpack: April 26-29, 2019: Days 2-4 Paria River Backpacking 3
balzaccom Rainy days in Death Valley Hiking & Camping 3
Mikjik86 Halls Creek Loop. 2 Days, or 3? General Discussion 6
Scott Chandler A Few Days in Yosemite Hiking & Camping 6
JDWalters Three days in Utah/Arizona Hiking & Camping 12
Born to Hike Backpacking Northern Windriver Range, solo 60+ miles, 5 days, mid September 2018 Backpacking 17
W 3-4 days in the Sawtooths, first week of June 2019 Trip Planning 16
Mikjik86 Backpacking Coyote Gulch, 3 Days, 2 Nights- October 2018 Backpacking 2
DuneElliot 3 Days on the PCT, WA: June 2018 Backpacking 0
Boognish Four days in the High Sierra Backpacking 10
Scott Chandler The Chandler Family Get Together in Glacier 2018: Days 3 & 4 Hiking & Camping 1

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Top