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The Snowies: Backpacking & Fishing in The Snowy Range!
We made the 3 hour drive to the Snowy Range on a hot summer day to find the road to the trailhead completely blocked by huge drifts of snow. Apparently the cold wet spring we had in Colorado was even colder and wetter in Wyoming. Usually there are only a few lone patches of snow in the gullies and passes by mid-July. It was clear that we would have to adapt our trip to the conditions--not an uncommon occurance on wilderness trips.
We lunched by the highway, then saddled up and began walking the road toward Lewis Lake, climbing over drifts and seeing plenty of evidence of just how snowy the Snowies can be.
Still winter at Libby Lake picnic ground
With progress slow we decided not to try for the pass, but spent some time fishing at Lewis Lake (the fish were few and winter-skinny), then searched around for a camp spot. We finally found a place that was level but dry and called it a day.
At a group powwow the next morning we decided to head for the pass and see if the lakes in the basin below (our original destination) were accessible or snowed in. It was not to be. Not surprisingly, the snow got deeper and steeper as we climbed, and we decided not to risk crossing exposed snow slopes. Instead we enjoyed the view for a few minutes and turned back downhill, hoping to find a better camping spot.
The snow made for great views but tough hiking on the way up to the pass
With feet wet from the melting snow, we took the Lost Lake trail past a series of shallow lakes.
Hiking through the snow
We finally found a spot with great views, a few trees and a bit of dry level ground and settled in. The kids wasted no time in inventing wilderness games - daring each other to dunk their heads in the lake, staging barefoot races through the snow, making snow persons, and of course starting snowball fights.
Barefoot snow races - not for wimps
Badass hikers doing snow sculpture
Charlotte is unaware she is about to get pelted
Enjoying the end of a satisfying day
We decided three days in the snow was sufficient, and hiked out late on Sunday. The trip was not the one we planned--the wilderness had other ideas--but everyone had a good time and made the best of the situation. It wasn't the hike we planned, but it was a good hike.
The Snowy Range of Wyoming features a high-altitude rolling plateau with numerous fish-filled lakes and easy trails. This 4-day 3-night trip will allow backpackers of all skill levels to enjoy beautiful scenery, abundant wildflowers and excellent fishing.
Snowy Range trailheads are accessed from WY 120, approximate 50 miles west of Laramie. The Range is evenly split between Albany County on the east and Carbon County on the west.
Medicine Bow NF, Laramie Ranger District: (307) 745-2300