Gros Ventre Wilderness - June 2021


"Because it's there."
Feb 15, 2020
After returning from Idaho/Wyoming with the family after Memorial Day weekend, we passed through the Gros Ventre Wilderness and stopped for a picnic/playtime for the boys. It reminded me of a trip I'd planned for last year, but ended up replacing with a local option. I'd always intended it for an early season trip and I had a weekend available, so I decided I'd give it a shot this year. I posted a thread on the Meet Up forum and was fortunate to have @travel2walk join me. It's always a bit interesting meeting a hiking partner for the first time at the trailhead, but I thought it was a great fit and had a blast hiking with him. He has more/better pictures than me, so if he posts a trip report definitely check it out.

Being an early season trip, there were some associated challenges. There was a decent amount of snow at higher elevations, but - outside of the forested areas - it was high quality and easy to traverse. The far more significant challenge was the significant number of large blowdowns - compounded by persistent snow - throughout the northeastern side of our route. I'd known going in that at this time of year route-finding would be challenging in some places and was not disappointed on that account, though some areas proved easier and some proved more difficult than expected. We were fortunate to have phenomenal weather overall - my only complaint being that the sun was quite punishing during the exposed portions of the final day.

When I initially decided to take the trip and picked the dates I wasn't sure if conditions would cooperate to complete the loop, but based on weather and recent photos I was pretty optimistic by the time we set out. The planned route was ~32 miles over 3 days/2 nights.

Day 1: Granite Creek
The first day was a breeze - after meeting at the trailhead we made great time along the beautiful Granite Creek trail. We camped along Granite Creek just below the start of the following day's ascent. Weather was beautiful - as it would be throughout the trip.


We spotted a cow moose with a very young calf - she watched us for a minute and then shuttled her calf across the creek. The calf struggled for a few moments, but mom was able to help out. (Somewhat hard to make out in the below.)

Day 2: Granite Creek to Crystal Creek
Our second day out was a mix of highs and lows. The early morning climb started slow, but picked up quickly as our legs "woke up". The initial ascent and crossing of the upper Flat Creek drainage was pretty, but not particularly notable.

Even at almost 10,000', this side of the range was mostly snow-free - except in areas of persistent shade. (Based on satellite photos, this area was still predominantly covered in snow only a week prior.)
From our high point for the day (10,827') we could see into the Teton, Wind River, and Absaroka ranges simultaneously - it was quite spectacular. We also got our first look at the more snowy side of "our" range.

The remainder of the day was spent descending through the west fork of Crystal Creek. We passed some beautiful ponds/lakes, but spent a lot of time navigating through dense forest. It was definitely exhausting and we were very happy to make camp a little earlier than planned.

Day 3: Crystal Creek to Swift Creek
After stopping a little short on our second day, this final day would be a long one. There were definitely some tough sections, but they were also incredibly rewarding - much more so than the prior day's bushwhacking. The day did start out a with bit "more of the same" in regards to the dense forest and large number of blowdowns, but quickly improved as we began our hike up the main fork of Crystal Creek. While not quite as smooth as the trail up Granite Creek, this trail was predominantly clear up until just beyond "The Meadows".

As we entered "The Meadows" we were able to see a pretty large herd of elk grazing in the distance - as we approached they took notice and retreated to the nearby treeline. We waited patiently and watched as many of the cows had to retrieve their stashed calves before retreating themselves.

As we got beyond the meadows, the trail again weakened and disappeared under snow and through densely grown vegetation - we elected to predominantly follow the drainage directly up to the basin. I'm not sure this was any easier, but it was a welcome change from bushwhacking and the route-finding was simple.

Our first look at the basin revealed less snow than anticipated and a magnificent view of the 11,204' peak.

On the opposing side of the basin was the also impressive 11,414' Antoinette Peak - our original target was the far western portion of the saddle (left on the picture below), but we pretty quickly determined that this summer route was not the best option for us. We would instead target the ~10,800' high point between the unnamed peak and Antoinette and work our way down the ridge.


On the other side - along Swift Creek - the views were also spectacular, but I didn't grab too many photos. I'm bad about taking pictures to begin with and at that point I had visions of bacon cheeseburgers dancing in my head.

This area burned pretty extensively in 2016, so after spending much of the day exposed we didn't get much reprieve from the afternoon sun down here either.

Altogether it was a fantastic trip and a great experience meeting @travel2walk. I hope we're able to meet for more trips in the future. This was a pretty challenging early season trip, but later in the year I imagine it would be much milder - especially if the Forest Service is able to clear the more significant sections of blowdowns.

Click here to view on CalTopo
Last edited:


Feb 23, 2017
Great report. Looks like fun. What satellite photos are you looking at to determine recent conditions?

Sent from my Pixel 4a using Tapatalk


off route
Jun 14, 2016
Nice trip. Thanks for posting it. Timely info for me as I’m headed off there today.
Last edited:


Sep 17, 2014
I hiked to the awesome falls on Swift Creek just a couple of weeks ago and did the crest path offf the Granite Hi-Line the week before that! I don't do much backpacking anymore so your report ignited some wonderful memories of backpacking and horse packing in what later became the Gros Ventre Wilderness. Many thanks for the great trip down those magnificent lanes.


I ❤️ GYE
May 31, 2015
Beautiful early season trip. Love that it was a little BCP meetup as well!

Been saying I need to go see the Gros Ventres for about the past 6 years and I still haven't!


Mar 1, 2018
It was a really great trip, especially as I look back at it now. I think you are underselling the bushwack/snowed forest section in your report though, lol. I don't think my morale has ever been that low.

Thanks @TheMountainRabbit for the invite and look forward to future hikes with you! I'll pull some images off my sd card today on my laptop to add to here later. I'm not going to put an eta on the short video of the trip cause it might be a year from now lol.
Last edited:


"Because it's there."
Feb 15, 2020
I think you are underselling the bushwack/snowed forest section in your report though, lol. I don't think my moral has ever been that low.
Yeah, probably. It's hard to put into words how bad of a mess that section along the west fork was. I certainly didn't think to take any pictures, but I wish I had now - did you get any?


Mar 1, 2018
Yeah, probably. It's hard to put into words how bad of a mess that section along the west fork was. I certainly didn't think to take any pictures, but I wish I had now - did you get any?
I think I have a few there, but I think my brain has blocked out as much of that as possible. lol. Will take a look on the SD card tonight. I do have nice picture of our route on the 3rd day that I'll try to get on here with any others that I think will complement your report.


Mar 1, 2018
Yeah, probably. It's hard to put into words how bad of a mess that section along the west fork was. I certainly didn't think to take any pictures, but I wish I had now - did you get any?

Alright, here are a few pictures (pulling preprocessed straight from the raws since I'm only on my travel laptop) to fill out the rest of the story. Eventually when I have the video edited, I'll post it here again... maybe by next year this time.

day 2 - start of our descent, snow was actually good to start

day 2 - really cool patterns worn into the rock slabs, pretty unique as I haven't seen much of these patterns before

day 2 - through the forest with plenty of snow and downfall

day 3 - more downfall, at least there was no snow

day 3 - well, let's just hike up this stream instead since it's easier than trying to follow the trail through the snow

day 3 - view down swift creek on the otherside of the pass and toward the summer pass


day 3 - where @TheMountainRabbit actually tried to kill me, all in good fun
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
travel2walk Gros Ventre Wilderness: Granite Creek, West Fork Crystal Creek, Crystal Creek, & Swift Creek - June 2021 Backpacking 8
TheMountainRabbit Invite Gros Ventre Wilderness, June 11th-13th Meet Up (Members Only) 5
D Recommendations in the Gros Ventre and Washakie Wilderness Areas Trip Planning 10
J Gros Ventre Wilderness Backpacking 5
scatman The Gros Ventre Wilderness - August 31, 2015 Backpacking 33
Aldaron Tosi Creek, Gros Ventre Wilderness, WY Backpacking 5
stretch Most Scenic Route to Traverse the Gros Ventre? Trip Planning 17
ramblinman Gros Ventre Loop July 2016 Backpacking 10
Aldaron Gros Ventre and such Off Road 1
canadug Jarbidge Wilderness General Discussion 12
C Teton Wilderness Early July Trip Planning 13
F 12 days in Wyoming's Teton Wilderness, part 9 of 9, 7-29 & 30, /2022 Backpacking 5
F 12 days in Wyoming's Teton Wilderness, part 8 of 9, 7/28/2022 Backpacking 5
F 12 days in Wyoming's Teton Wilderness, part 7 of 9, July 26-27, 2022 Backpacking 13
F 12 days in Wyoming's Teton Wilderness, part 6, 7/25/2022 Backpacking 17
F 12 days in Wyoming's Teton Wilderness, part 5 of 9, 7/23-24, 2022 Backpacking 7
F 12 days in Wyoming's Teton Wilderness, part 4 of 9, 7/22, 2022 Backpacking 4
F 12 days in Wyoming's Teton Wilderness, part 3 of 9, 7/20-21, 2022 Backpacking 2
F 12 days in Wyoming's Teton Wilderness, part 2, 7/19/2022 Backpacking 4
F 12 days in Wyoming's Teton Wilderness, part 1, 7/15-18, 2022 Backpacking 13
kwc Round Lake, north central Adirondacks, in the Round Lake Wilderness On The Water 2
scatman Pacific Creek, Moss Lake and Gravel Lake - Teton Wilderness - October 7, 2022 Backpacking 32
balzaccom These guys had quite the wilderness experience... General Discussion 0
balzaccom Mok Wilderness in the fall Backpacking 1
XID_AZ Kanab Creek Wilderness - Sowats Canyon - Mountain Sheep Spring Trip Planning 6
scatman Teton Wilderness Loop - August 6, 2022 Backpacking 24
TheMountainRabbit Red's Meadow to Tuolumne Meadows via the High Route (Ansel Adams/Yosemite Wilderness) - August 2022 Backpacking 5
Bob Teton Wilderness - 50 miles of High Country - Aug 2022 Backpacking 45
Mountain Wanderer First time in to the Sawtooth Wilderness! Backpacking 2
TheMountainRabbit Younts Peak (Teton/Washakie Wilderness) - July 2022 Backpacking 22
F Teton Wilderness, late July 2022 Trip Planning 6
J Teton Wilderness during Hunting Season Trip Planning 6
scatman Mendon Peak - Wellsville Mountain Wilderness - June 4, 2022 Hiking & Camping 13
Miya *SOLD* Superior Wilderness Designs - Ultralight Internal Frame - 50L Gear Market: Buy, Sell, Trade 0
westy Invite Also, Alpine Lakes Wilderness Meet Up (Members Only) 0
scatman Gila River - Gila Wilderness, New Mexico - April 18, 2022 Backpacking 61
TeamJenkins17 Washakie Wilderness Hiking Hiking & Camping 0
Bob Wilderness Areas Trip Planning 3
TeamJenkins17 Washakie Wilderness Trip Advice Trip Planning 17
marquis20 Day 1: Grand Teton Wilderness and Black Canyon of the Yellowstone - June 2021 Backpacking 0
F Maps for the Bob Marshall Wilderness Resource Discussions 3
Mikjik86 4 Days Backpacking Grand Teton Wilderness/Teton Crest Trail - Wyoming, July, 2021 Backpacking 0
balzaccom Yosemite...wilderness permits for 2022 are better Backpacking 2
F Balancing Urban Life with wilderness Solitude Noobs: Introduce yourself! 1
TeamJenkins17 Looking for info on Clark Creek drainage/Pierpont Pass into Hidden Basin in the Washakie Wilderness Trip Planning 5
TheMountainRabbit Northern Wind River Traverse (Bridger/Fitzpatrick Wilderness) - September 2021 Backpacking 16
TeamJenkins17 2022 Teton Wilderness/Shoshone National Forest Trip Trip Planning 0
TheMountainRabbit Southern Absaroka Loop (Teton/Washakie Wilderness) - August 2021 Backpacking 8
NorthwestWanderer Backpacking Idaho's Cecil D. Andrus-White Clouds Wilderness : O'Calkens Lake & Bighorn Basin Backpacking 2
la_alpinista Thoughts on potential off trail routes in Cloud Peak Wilderness CPW Trip Planning 1

Similar threads

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