Winds - Bears Ears Trail?

Janice

Member
.
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
772
I'm exploring possibilities for a future summer backpacking trip in the Winds and am eager to learn about the Bears Ears trail. After thoroughly enjoying this summer's trip in the Titcomb/Indian Basin area, I'm intrigued by areas further south near the Cirque but want to bypass some of the crowds at Big Sandy.

Questions:

1) What's the road like to get to Dickinson Park and the Bears Ears trailhead? I know a permit is needed but don't have a sense of how manageable the road is and what kind of vehicle is necessary.

2) Is water reliably available in Sand Creek? Are there any other water sources before Valentine Lake (if you're heading west along Bears Ears) or before the unnamed lake next to Bear Lake (if you're heading south along Lizard Head Plateau)?

3) In mid-summer (late July - August) how difficult is it to ford South Fork Little Wind River? I realize this will be different in different years, but I'd like to learn what it's generally like.

4) Do you like this trail and recommend using it to make a lollipop perhaps with Washakie, Hailey, South Fork, Grave Lake and/or the Cirque area?

Thanks so much for any info and ideas!
 

Bob

Trailmaster
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
3,400
Go in at Sweetwater. Or stough crk area.. Skip the rez it's expensive.
 

Dreamer

off my rocker
Joined
Jun 14, 2016
Messages
268
Janice,

I use the inner part of that trail from Mt Chauvenet on up fairly regularly. As to #4 I give a hearty yes. You can do all sorts of nice routes in that area and I love it around there. I am unwilling to publicly post route info but am open to private dialog.

1 - I would reach out to Wild Iris, an outdoors shop in Lander, or to the Shoshone National Forest.

2 - Have not been down to Sand Ck directly but on the quad it drains a perennial snowfield on the NW flank of Mount Chauvenet so I would expect a steady flow, the lower the stronger, no guarantee of course. Near the intersection with the Lizard Head Trail there is another patch on Cathedral Peak that drains down to Little Valentine. Go down a bit from that junction and I’ve gotten reliable water there. The springs shown on the quad above Bear Lk are accurately mapped and I have used that source. I suppose late in a dry year there could be issues, I don’t know for certain.

3 - I’ve never had trouble with that ford. Wide, cobbled and low gradient, a wet foot approximately knee deep plus crossing. Might be challenging early season. Nice valley.

I love hiking on the reservation. I’ve always entered through the backcountry and have never utilized any of their trailheads. I buy an annual permit every year. Sometimes I don’t even use it. Personally, I feel like they got screwed hard and it’s the least I can contribute to the rightful stewards of the mountains I cherish. I think everybody who hikes in the Winds should be obligated to buy an Indian permit and that all three wilderness areas should be returned unconditionally.
 
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