Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
250.00 ft (76.20 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
16.00 mi (25.75 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

If you're looking for little solitude and quiet space to reconnect with nature and the wilderness, the Encampment River Trail is the perfect place to have that journey. Located approximately 2 hours from the town of Laramie, Wyoming, this hike offers great views, even better fishing, wildlife, and mountains all without any signs of civilization. The Encampment River Trail is fairly easy going, giving you the time and energy to take in all that's around you. You'll be surrounded by the sounds of the rushing river, birds chirping, and small wildlife crunching around in the undergrowth. If you're lucky, you might spot some elk, mule deer, or antelope.

This trail extends about 16 miles and ends at another parking area close to the Colorado state line. After about 5 miles of hiking, you'll enter the wilderness area, where you'll find some nice backcountry campsites along the river. The trail is non-technical as it rolls up and down small hills through the countryside. Bring a fishing pole (and your fishing license) if you want to catch a little lunchtime snack. There are a few gates you need to go through—make sure they're closed and locked after you pass them.

To get there, take Interstate 80 until exit 235. Head south on State Highway 130 and through the town of Saratoga, Wyoming. About 7 miles past town, SH-130 will turn left, but you'll want to stay on the main road, which is now SH-230. Follow the road to the town of Encampment, Wyoming. The road now turns into SH-70. Keep an eye on the signs to stay on 70 as you take a few turns through this small town. Just as you leave town, take a left onto Finley Hill Road, also known as County Road 353. After about 1 mile, take the left fork, which will lead you down a small hill and onto BLM land.

Just before the hike is a fantastic campsite if you decide to stay a few days. There are eight campsites at $10 per night. The campground includes a vault toilet. Bring your own water or filter from the river as there is no clean running water at the site. If you're just out hiking for the day, continue on past the campsite for a quarter-mile, and you'll see some parking on the left. Once parked, cross the river on the bridge and begin your hike! Overall, the Encampment River Trail is a nice, peaceful hike that can keep you busy for days, making you forget you live in a land of cars and busy people. Enjoy!

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

No crowds. Wildlife. Big river.

Cons

Long drive from major towns.

Trailhead Elevation

7,250.00 ft (2,209.80 m)

Highest point

7,500.00 ft (2,286.00 m)

Features

Vault toilet
Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Wildlife
Fishing
Big Game Watching
Horseback riding
Wildflowers
Bird watching
Old-growth forest

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Horseback
Biking

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Comments

If you hike this area, please complete a short survey about your experience!
Common Outdoor Ground, an outdoor nonprofit in Southeast Wyoming, is working with the Forest Service to develop a wilderness solitude score for the Encampment River and Huston Park wilderness areas and we need your help. We want to know what trailhead you went to, and how many people you encountered.
Check out our website commonoutdoorground.org, look us up on Facebook, or email Meghan at [email protected] for more information and to contribute to this project.
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