Backpacking Advice in the Winds, Teton Wilderness and the Washakie Wilderness

Diane Greer

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Nov 28, 2013
Messages
16
Hi-

Planning some backpacks in August and looking for some advice. As usual, too many great options and not enough time.

In the Wind River Range:

As many people noted on this site the trailheads out of Elkhart Park and Big Sandy are crazy busy. As such I am looking at some trips in the center of the range between Bonneville Basin and the Hay Pass areas. Typically we hit these areas using a car drop between Big Sandy and Elkhart Park. This year we are thinking about going in/out via Scab Creek or Boulder Lake to avoid the crowded parking areas.

Despite many trips to the Wind we have never used either of these trailheads. Long ago I ruled out Boulder Canyon based on the sage advice from Joe Kelsey. His description of Boulder Canyon trailhead includes this sentence, “The arduous ascent of the canyon allows time to contemplate the trailhead’s low elevation…”

Wondering if anyone recommends either Boulder or Scab Creek. Any thoughts on which is the better of the two? (Hoping that any issues related to the blowdown will be resolved by the time of our trip.)

In the Teton Wilderness:

We have always been intrigued with the Buffalo Plateau and are thinking about a trip starting at Brooks Lake that would cross Bear Cub Pass, follow the trail up Cub Creek to the head of the drainage and then ascend the Buffalo Plateau from the saddle near the Perry N Boday Lake area, ending up atop the plateau to the west of summit of Crescent Mountain. From there we would travel atop the plateau to the Marston Pass area.

I have two questions. Kmatjhwy indicates that route finding atop the plateau is not a problem. Georgia Yankee and his partner found despite best efforts they kept wandering to far west. I plan to have a GPS along with topo maps to stay on course. Any other advice for staying on track?

After walking to Marston Pass we plan to spend a day or two exploring the North and South Fork of the Yellowstone and then head down Lost Creek to Ferry Lake. Possible exit routes include heading down Lake Creek to Pendergraft Meadows and then go up the South Fork of Buffalo Creek and cross the saddle into the Cub Creek drainage. From there we would head down Cub Creek and re-cross Bear Cub Pass to the Brooks Lake area.

Alternatively, I could continue down Lake Creek to the Lower Pendergraft Meadow area and then head back via Cub Creek to the Brooks Lake area. (My husband is also wondering if the plateau is so scenic that we should consider just turning around and exit the way we came in.) Any recommendations?

In the Washakie Wilderness:

When looking at Wyoming backpacks I often find myself considering the East Washakie Wilderness Loop out of Kirwin which crosses Greybull Pass, Burnwell Pass and Bear Creek Pass (and possibly East Fork Pass). Has anyone done this trip in late August? If so, were you able to cross Jojo Creek with a standard SUV, like a RAV 4, or do you need a higher clearance vehicle. (I understand that I can park before the crossing and simply walk an additional 12 mile (round trip) to get to the Kirwin trailhead.

Thanks in advance for any comments of suggestions.
 

OldBill

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Aug 18, 2015
Messages
211
I highly recommend Scab Ck. A favorite among many locals as well. Steepness and burn in Boulder were among reasons folks there always choose Scab Ck. Blowdown wasn't bad and is probably cleared. We went in 2 days after the storm. No work had been done. It was easy compared to our day hike the prior day at Big Sandy. TR at
 

Georgia Yankee

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Aug 23, 2016
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Buffalo Plateau was great. We never felt lost, just kept needing course correction. If I recall, the direction we kept drifting also happened to be downhill. If you do that hike look at the Bonneville Pass trailhead up there near Brooks Lake. I prefer starting there rather than Brooks Lake.

My wife and I were up to Kirwin in late July/early August 2019. Jojo Creek was not a problem in our Subaru Outback. Nor was it a problem crossing any of the rest of them up to Kirwin. We did stop and take a hard look before a couple of the crossings, however. And my wife closed her eyes for at least one of them. We went over East Fork Pass, Bear Creek Pass and an unnamed pass at 11,000 ft. Trip report of our misadventures here:


On an earlier trip we went up the Greybull River and tributaries and looked up at Greybull Pass and Burwell Pass. That is all nice country. Trip report here:

Have a great trip!
 

LarryBoy

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Jan 4, 2015
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Routefinding is not tough on the Buffalo. And I'd second the recommendation of accessing it from Bonneville Pass. It's also possible to access it from Upper Rainbow Lake, but the the route is a lot tougher.

And if you're planning a loop, I'd try and head down the North Buffalo Fork or something and hit Parting of the Waters (which is very special) and then just follow the CDT back. I betcha the Divide is even walkable between Marston Pass and the head of North Buffalo Fork if you wanted to get adventurous.
 

Diane Greer

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Joined
Nov 28, 2013
Messages
16
I highly recommend Scab Ck. A favorite among many locals as well. Steepness and burn in Boulder were among reasons folks there always choose Scab Ck. Blowdown wasn't bad and is probably cleared. We went in 2 days after the storm. No work had been done. It was easy compared to our day hike the prior day at Big Sandy. TR at
Thanks for the information on Scab Creek. We will give it a try.
 

Diane Greer

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Joined
Nov 28, 2013
Messages
16
Buffalo Plateau was great. We never felt lost, just kept needing course correction. If I recall, the direction we kept drifting also happened to be downhill. If you do that hike look at the Bonneville Pass trailhead up there near Brooks Lake. I prefer starting there rather than Brooks Lake.

My wife and I were up to Kirwin in late July/early August 2019. Jojo Creek was not a problem in our Subaru Outback. Nor was it a problem crossing any of the rest of them up to Kirwin. We did stop and take a hard look before a couple of the crossings, however. And my wife closed her eyes for at least one of them. We went over East Fork Pass, Bear Creek Pass and an unnamed pass at 11,000 ft. Trip report of our misadventures here:


On an earlier trip we went up the Greybull River and tributaries and looked up at Greybull Pass and Burwell Pass. That is all nice country. Trip report here:

Have a great trip!
Thanks for the advice on the North Buffalo Fork. Need to figure out the mileage to see if we have enough days for doing everything. I did see you prior trip report on the Kirwin Loop but missed the one on the trip up the Greybull River. Thanks for posting the link!
 

Diane Greer

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Joined
Nov 28, 2013
Messages
16
Routefinding is not tough on the Buffalo. And I'd second the recommendation of accessing it from Bonneville Pass. It's also possible to access it from Upper Rainbow Lake, but the the route is a lot tougher.

And if you're planning a loop, I'd try and head down the North Buffalo Fork or something and hit Parting of the Waters (which is very special) and then just follow the CDT back. I betcha the Divide is even walkable between Marston Pass and the head of North Buffalo Fork if you wanted to get adventurous.
Thanks for the advice on the North Buffalo Fork. Need to figure out the mileage to see if we have enough days for doing everything. We thought about going up via Bonneville. Have been up to the pass before and getting to the ridge did not look that bad. Thanks for the advice.
 

Georgia Yankee

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Aug 23, 2016
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And I think @LarryBoy and I are talking about two separate options. I am saying you could start at the Bonneville Pass trailhead and head west to join up with the trail out of Brooks Lake and continue on your proposed route down to Cub Creek, etc. I like starting at the Bonneville Pass trailhead because it gives more shade and avoids a couple of stream crossings.
 

Diane Greer

Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2013
Messages
16
And I think @LarryBoy and I are talking about two separate options. I am saying you could start at the Bonneville Pass trailhead and head west to join up with the trail out of Brooks Lake and continue on your proposed route down to Cub Creek, etc. I like starting at the Bonneville Pass trailhead because it gives more shade and avoids a couple of stream crossings.
I realized I included my reply to Larry Boy in the note to you. Understand the Bonneville Pass option versus coming out via the North Fork. Thanks for your help.
 
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