Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
7,459.00 ft (2,273.50 m)
Trail type
19.10 mi (30.74 km)
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The Wind River High Route stretches nearly 100 miles across the stunning Wind River Range of Wyoming. It is arguably the finest high alpine route in the country. Along the way it spends 65 miles off trail, climbs nine mountain passes, traverses two glaciers and summits two 13,000’ peaks. While not technically challenging (nothing exceeds class 3 terrain) the route is extremely difficult. It is not for novice backpackers - hikers must be experienced with off trail travel and route finding, and be prepared to spend over a week in the remote Wind Rivers where the weather can change on a dime and the nearest bail out point is often more than a day’s hike away. The description below provides a brief overview, but is not a substitute for the official guide and map set by Andrew Skurka (available here).

Section 2 of the Wind River High Route begins from Big Sandy Lake, a popular hiking destination that is relatively easy to access. From here the trail climbs up and around North Lake, then up to Jackass Pass (with great views of Arrowhead Lake and War Bonnet Peak along the way).

From Jackass Pass you’ll have a stunning view of Lonesome Lake and the Cirque of the Towers. After descending to the lake the route then climbs up New York Pass. An alternate route is to take the easier (but longer) Texas Pass instead. Either way will take you down to the lakes on the other side of the ridge.

You’ll then have a nice trail as you follow Washakie Creek downstream before turning right and ascending up to Skull Lake. Around this lake is when you leave the trail and follow the East Fork River up a beautiful valley with towering cliff walls to your left.

Continue up the valley, past the lakes and to Raid Peak Pass (significant boulder hopping required). The route then descends to Jim Harrower Lake before climbing Sentry Peak Pass. Another beautiful new basin awaits you, with prominent Pronghorn and Dragon Head Peaks to your left.

Descend down past Lee Lake and to the massive Middle Fork Lake. This is where Section 2 comes to an end.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Epic views everywhere. Cirque of the Towers. East Fork Valley. Middle Fork Valley.


Off trail passes with talus hopping and short class 3 section.

Trailhead Elevation

9,705.00 ft (2,958.08 m)

Highest point

11,692.00 ft (3,563.72 m)


Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping


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