wind river range, elkhart park to lower jean lake


Sep 12, 2014
Mid september 2013 my brother and i did a hike in the Wind Rivers. This was our first time there. I rode from Boise to Pinedale on my motorcycle through some rain and ended up making it to Wyoming some time around midnight just about the coldest and wettest i've ever been. I got out my sleeping bag and waited for my brother to arrive from Provo. He some how took longer than me getting there. When he arrived i rode with him the rest of the way up to Elkhart Park and camped there.

We wanted to hike up near Gannet Peak, but we didn't end up making it that far. We got rained on heavy enough our first day that we had to set up camp just to stay dry enough after only a couple hours.

Here are some moose we saw near the trailhead. Two calves.wind river range 20130916 015.JPG

These were the general trail conditions starting out.
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Junction. wind river range 20130916 035.JPG

Very cloudy first day. wind river range 20130916 041.JPG

The stream running below there is actually the trail. wind river range 20130916 045.JPG

Hobbs Lake, i think, under the clouds. Not far beyond here we had to tent up to get out of the rain. Every thing was getting too wet. Fortunately the next day was clearer.
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Drying out every thing we own the next morning.
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Waiting for every thing to dry. wind river range 20130916 057.JPG

And then we got on our way. We didn't really have an itinerary after the previous day, we just hiked to see what was there. Some lake between Hobbs and Seneca. wind river range 20130916 074.JPG

Making it to Seneca Lake was nice. There's some thing i like about an enormous lake that you can only get to by walking.
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The trail wound along the west side. Optimized-wind(2).jpg

At the upper end of Seneca the trail ascends a little. Past a small pond.
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And then very shortly to Little Seneca Lake. There's also some thing i like about mountain lakes with islands. wind river range 20130916 113.JPG

Beyond Little Seneca the views open up a little more. We passed a small lake near a junction with the trail going to Lester Pass. wind river range 20130916 122.JPG

Clouds this day were nice for the most part, except blocking some distant views of the higher peaks. Trail leveled out here for a ways.wind river range 20130916 125.JPG
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Plenty of unnamed lakes and ponds.wind river range 20130916 148.JPG
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The trail goes up a little bit, and then back down a little bit to the crossing of Fremont Creek. Nice bridge. I think i've actually seen a picture where it used to have a second railing.wind river range 20130916 178.JPG

Spencer on the bridge.
Looking up Fremont Creek.wind river range 20130916 183.JPG

It was nice and open on the other side. wind river range 20130916 187.JPG

I like this rock. wind river range 20130916 190.JPG

Beyond Fremont the trail ascends a little bit before leveling out again. wind river range 20130916 204.JPG

More lakes and ponds up here, especially with all the recent rain. wind river range 20130916 212.JPG

We found the dark clouds again. We never made it all the way to them though.wind river range 20130916 214.JPG

It was funny, the way ahead looked so dark and ominous, but turn your head, and back the way we'd came looked so light and inviting. wind river range 20130916 215.JPG

We went on a little farther. wind river range 20130916 216.JPG

And Lower Jean Lake started to come into view. An other very long one. wind river range 20130916 225.JPG
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Good view of light side and the dark side.

Looking down Lower Jean from the end.wind river range 20130916 242.JPG

And looking at the dark peaks. wind river range 20130916 243.JPG

Here we decided we'd go ahead and turn back. We'd seen nearly enough, and we needed to make it possible to hike out and drive home the next day. I believe we were about 14 miles out from the trail head here. A last look back.
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And we were back in the sun. Mostly.
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Clouds. wind river range 20130916 272.JPG

Sun.wind river range 20130916 290.JPG

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We ended up camping back at Little Seneca Lake. wind river range 20130916 340.JPG
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The next morning we just had to hike out. We passed the llama camp at the head of Seneca Lake. If you look closely you can see them, there were around five of them. wind river range 20130916 378.JPG

Farther along the trail had submerged under the rising water. I don't remember it being that way on the hike out.
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Hobbs Lake in the sun. wind river range 20130916 422.JPG

And a less than perfect view from photographers point on our way out. Much better than it would have been on our way in though. wind river range 20130916 431.JPG

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Nice pictures! I went there along pretty much the same route a couple years back over a long weekend . Didn't get in as far as you did. Part of the fun of looking at your pictures is that there was a lot that I recognize. Thanks for letting me relive the experience through your pictures.
Nice pictures. Weather sure gets unpredictable come September in the high country. I plan to do a hike in the Winds this summer - hopefully July or August.
Awesome write-up Ben. You do a really good job telling the story and take really good pictures. Those lake shots are all beautiful.
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Riding a motorcycle through the rain just to go backpack through the rain. Rough start! I've seen that exact trail in similarly soupy conditions, but lucky for me, I was headed the other direction and eventually to a hotel! Great report!
: ) the ride back was dry enough, also it was worth it any way.
Nice report! That's our windies, wading through trail potholes filled with horse dung filled rainwater :) Great white backpacking garb! I love the split boulders like that too.
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Nice report!
Beautiful pics as well.
Thanks for brightening up a winters day with great memories.
We were in that area a week before you guy's. We stayed at Upper and Lower Jean lakes. Had awesome fishing in both. Had all kinds of weather too. We ended up hiking out from Lower Jean in blinding snow at times and down that same muddy trail....Ahhh the Winds. ..can't wait to get back. Already planning this year's trip.
Thanks for sharing.
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Thanks Ben, enjoyed the trip. I have dumped water out of my boots riding and have been stuck in a tent all day during a storm, but never on the same outing-----
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Nice report! That's our windies, wading through trail potholes filled with horse dung filled rainwater :) Great white backpacking garb! I love the split boulders like that too.

Horse *****, only place I found that was going in and out of Elkhart, everywhere else it's just mtn sheep and elk........ :)
Ha Hobbs lake and trail looked like that last Sept for us........ but then there was the Wind..
Victoria ...... Welcome.
Run a search on the Wind Rivers, you will find a lot of us on BCP go there, so there are a lot of pics and info.
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