Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
1,046.00 ft (318.82 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
9.00 mi (14.48 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.

Hiking in the Wind River Mountains of western Wyoming is a magical experience. Unfortunately, most of the hikes require at least two days to complete, making the range less accessible to day hikers. Silas Lakes is one of the few day hikes in the area and thus it’s one of the most popular for those coming from Lander.

Begin your hike from a well-maintained trailhead, complete with pit toilets and a horse pen.  Hikers, be aware this trail is both bike and horse-friendly, so keep your ears out for approaching cyclists and eyes out for some gifts left by any hooved visitors in the middle of the trail. For the 2.5 miles, the trail meanders gently uphill through well-managed forest terrain. You won’t find any undergrowth blocking the trail, though it is laden with rocks and granite boulders of varying sizes. You’ll definitely want to pay attention to your footing, but given the gentle slope of the trail, it isn’t overly strenuous. 

Just shy of two miles from the trailhead, you’ll come to the first of two forks in the trail.  Going left here will take you to Christina Lake and going right will take you on your way to Silas Lakes.  Don’t worry about missing a turn, as every fork is well signed by the Forest Service.

At this point, you’ll cross from Shoshone National Forest into the Popo Agie Wilderness, meaning there are extra rules and regulations about land use.  While it may be tempting to camp right on the shores of Upper Silas Lake, camping within 200 feet of a body of water is prohibited within the Popo Agie Wilderness. Be respectful of these rules and always practice Leave No Trace. Wyoming is a very dry environment and neglected campfires too often lead to wildfires in this region.

Continue on until you reach another fork. Follow the signed trail right toward Upper Silas or continue straight and descend downward about 0.25 miles to Lower Silas Lake. While Lower Silas is a peaceful little lake, its shores are less relaxing and it's far more marshy overall.  Compared to its larger cousin, it’s not that spectacular but for the minimal added distance, it’s worth the extra trek if you’ve never seen it.

If continuing right toward Upper Silas Lake, you’ll very shortly come to a large stream crossing (one of several on the hike). In summer and fall, when water levels are low, this crossing is as easy as making a half stride between boulders.  In the spring, however, when Silas Creek is still raging with snowmelt, this crossing has the potential to be a little dicey.

Another mile past this fork and you’ll arrive at Upper Silas Lake, a stunningly clear teal lake that lies in the shadow of Cony Mountain, one of the southernmost peaks in the Wind River Range. Not only is Upper Silas Lake a wonderful backcountry oasis, it is also a great mountian lake for fishing. 

If you go directly to the south shore (the first shore you come upon) of Upper Silas Lake, the hike is just over seven miles round trip. You can tack on another two miles to your entire journey by opting to visit Lower Silas Lake on the way and then also hiking to the farther north shore of Upper Silas Lake, which is where some great campsites are located, as well as an ample amount of huge rock slabs that overhang the lake. This makes the far shore ideal for resting, doing a little fishing, and even jumping in on a hot day. Most places are deep enough to jump, though diving is not recommended.

If you want to go even further, one can add a few more miles by continuing on a trail bound west from Upper Silas Lake to Island Lake, a crooked little mountain lake that will certainly afford you much more privacy than either Lower or Upper Silas Lakes.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

No

Open from

April 04 to November 20

Pros

Easy trail to follow. Shade and shelter throughout. Great fishing. Easy backcountry camping.

Cons

Unpredictable weather. Can get busy at the lake. Some stream fording may be required in spring.

Trailhead Elevation

9,423.00 ft (2,872.13 m)

Highest point

10,114.00 ft (3,082.75 m)

Features

Near lake or river
Wildlife
Fishing

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Biking
Horseback

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Adventures

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