Winds - Bears Ears Trail?


Dec 5, 2017
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.


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!


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


off route
Jun 14, 2016

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.
Last edited:
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
W Greetings from the West Side of the Winds (Wind River range) Noobs: Introduce yourself! 1
Mijita Winds from gannett to cirque Trip Planning 16
CodyL Winds- Big water slide Trip Planning 3
OldBill Winds: Aug 28-Sep 19, 2021 Backpacking 6
Janice 7 Breathtaking Days in the Winds Trip Reports 15
andyjaggy Last minute Winds trip Meet Up (Members Only) 12
D Backpacking Advice in the Winds, Teton Wilderness and the Washakie Wilderness Trip Planning 8
D Input for our trip to the Winds??? Trip Planning 6
OldBill In and Around the Winds, Sept 2020 Backpacking 8
Happyidiot 4 Days In The Winds Backpacking 10
misSOULa Into the Winds: Titcomb Basin and Gannett Peak Attempt Backpacking 6
RyanP 5-day Winds trip in early Sep---suggestions? Trip Planning 18
OldBill A segmented month in the Winds Trip Planning 17
Happyidiot Winds in Early August Trip Planning 7
Janice Acclimating to altitude & a few other questions for Winds trip Trip Planning 23
Yvonne Backpacking the Winds: From Elkhart TH to Titcomb Basin, July 2018 Backpacking 20
OldBill A return to the Winds: Sept 12-28, 2019 Backpacking 8
Hiker Seth Southern Winds tour 8/23/19 - 8/28/19 Backpacking 11
Bob Bomber Lake - Winds Current fire Trip Planning 0
Kullaberg63 Super short notice: Looking for Winds partner Meet Up (Members Only) 4
Kullaberg63 Winds: Backpacking to Bikepacking Backpacking 2
pstm13 A Family Trip in the Winds: Big Sandy and the Cirque Backpacking 11
TeamJenkins17 Quick 4 day Winds trip Trip Planning 32
RyanP Texas Pass (Winds) in late July Trip Planning 23
RyanP 5-day route in Winds in late July? Trip Planning 0
Lowro Winds advice Trip Planning 11
Burrito Winds - Pole Creek -> Lester Pass -> Island Lake / Titcomb -> Hobbs Backpacking 7
Dave Missing Boy Scout in the Winds General Discussion 7
J Southern Winds Backpacking 4
Lowro The Southern Winds Backpacking 0
H suggestion needed: 9-day solo Winds near Elkhart Park Trip Planning 5
Burrito Winds - July 1-3 - Elkhart -> Hobbs -> Lester Pass -> Pole Creek Backpacking 14
b.stark Winds snow conditions? Trip Planning 13
Aries_Ranger South Winds Advice... Trip Planning 4
outnabout Weather in the Winds late Sept Trip Planning 6
Hurakan Need some Winds Advice. Trip Planning 14
Ross Partners for Twin Lakes, Sawtooths+Titcomb & Cirque of the Towers, Winds Trip Planning 8
River Lost Dog in the Winds General Discussion 1
Aldaron Winds - Green River Lakes to Elkhart Park Backpacking 14
Jackson Clear Creek (Northern Winds) Trip Planning 14
A Winds and bear storage General Discussion 11
Artemus Winds Conditions 2015 General Discussion 39
Blake Merrell Help! First Trip to the Winds. Trip Planning 90
Aldaron Winds in August Trip Planning 9
andyjaggy Winds in early July Trip Planning 18
isleroyaleguy Winds itinerary Trip Planning 4
isleroyaleguy Winds itinerary. Trip Planning 15
isleroyaleguy fishing the Winds Trip Planning 6
isleroyaleguy Dogs in the Winds Trip Planning 4
isleroyaleguy New to this forum and New to the Winds Trip Planning 12

Similar threads

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