Backpacking the Lost River Range in Idaho : Bear Creek Lake & Upper Basin

May 3, 2018

Hello again BCP!

I'll be skipping on posting here for my Wind River Range trip as it's nothing new or crazy, plus most of the people here I assume have been to the Winds given that tons of posts here about the winds inspired me to go there (they were awesome). Although super crowded with people & mosquitoes the scenery was indeed top notch. This post will be about a complete sleeper that I had my eyes on that turned out amazing and beautiful. Idaho's Lost River Range.

My wife and I had 10-11 days (can't remember) together in the rockies. We did a backpacking trip in the Winds, day hikes in yellowstone, grand teton and the beartooths. Then a backpack in the Lost River Range before headed home to WA.

On our way out of yellowstone we drove through Idaho falls then up to Mackay, Idaho. From there we got on a FS road to Bear Creek CG. Drove the car as far as we could before it got too rocky and rutted then walked the rest of the way to the trailhead. We were starting around 3pm but I knew based on research and staring at the area for 2 years on google maps the mileage wasn't much. The goal was to get to Bear Creek Lake then go up a scree field to an unnamed (i think?) upper basin. It was a success and it was awesome. Though the "cross country" portion in the scree field actually had a climbers trail / hikers trail through it that was very faint until the last push.

First 3ish miles of uphill were forested. Nothing out of the ordinary. Then we got to the awesome lake!

Bear Creek Lake. Saw no fish jumping.

Up the 1 mile scree field!

The pass (looking back from the notch we walked through)

The pass on the other side. From my research you can continue connecting a chain of passes just like this for a good portion of the range. Saw bighorn sheep here. I got video of them, no pics.

The basin!

Tons of flowers. Tent is set up time to explore. The photo is deceiving. This basin was MASSIVE.

Walked up onto one of the lower peaks for a great view!


Dark skies of Idaho.

The basin in morning light. For how lonely the place felt we actually saw a local couple hike up that morning and talked to them. They were super nice people! Apparently there are tons of fossils up here.

The other pass in the daylight.

High meadows.

Headed back down the scree field. Another awesome trip in amazing and beautiful Idaho!


Life really is better Here
Apr 20, 2013
Saw the Wind River video, will need to watch this one.
looks like a good trip all around. of course mosquito bites go away... I also liked the injection of Tame Impala at the end of the Winds video.


Dec 23, 2013
Pretty place! You went through Yellowstone and only did day hikes? Sounds like we need to have a little talk. :D Was there a water source near your tent site? I enjoyed your video, and thanks for sharing.
May 3, 2018
Pretty place! You went through Yellowstone and only did day hikes? Sounds like we need to have a little talk. :D Was there a water source near your tent site? I enjoyed your video, and thanks for sharing.

the day we did all our day hikes I was regretting not getting an overnight permit because each destination had 0 people and it was so peaceful. I was really kicking myself haha, maybe next time!


Love the Mountains!
Mar 1, 2016
Wow what a summer vacation. Well done! I enjoyed your wind river video. Just got back from a Wind river cirque loop last week. Good to see more wildflowers, beautiful snow, and blue skies without all the smoky haze. Only Bad Thing going that early was having to fight all the mosquitos.
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