The Wind River Range in Wyoming is home to more than 40 peaks that are all over 13,000 feet tall. This range also includes Gannett Peak, Wyoming’s tallest mountain at 13,804 feet.
If mountain climbing isn’t your thing, don’t despair, there is truly something for everyone in the Wind River Range. Enjoy camping, hiking, fly-fishing, and simply being in one of the most gorgeous spots in the country.
Physical Geography of the Wind River Range
The Winds, as the locals know them, run for 100 miles northwest to southeast. Two extensive national forests and three wilderness areas comprise most of this mountain range, and all of them are located inside the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Geologically, the Winds are made up of granite batholith, a type of igneous rock like granite that’s made deep beneath the earth’s surface. This igneous rock can be over 100 square miles in size, which is why much of the Winds’ foundation is hard granite.
Cirques are another feature of the Wind River Range. These are almost perfectly round lakes formed by glaciers moving through the landscape. The most famous cirque in the Winds is the Cirque of Towers, a high-altitude lake in the southern section.
Quite a few rivers meander through the Winds. The Big Sandy and Green Rivers run south from the west side of the mountains, and the Wind River, also known as the Bighorn, runs east into the Shoshone Basin.
Wildlife in the Wind River Range
When you’re hiking and camping in the Winds, you may see a grizzly bear. Take the proper precautions like storing your food correctly at night to prevent bears from investigating and carrying pepper spray as a deterrent.
There is also pronghorn, bighorn, and elk in the area, as well as mountain lions and wolverines. Bald eagles and falcons are just two of the 300 types of birds in the area, and the rivers teem with trout.
When you start into the Winds, you hike through beech stands until you’re walking through forests, mainly pine and spruce forests, which smell fantastic.
Hiking and Camping in the Wind River Range
Two hikes on either end of the spectrum are Silas Canyon, an excellent hike for the whole family, or Cirque of Towers, which requires more skill and probably a compass.
The central route of the Winds runs for 80 miles along the Continental Divide. Craggy granite peaks tower over alpine meadows and forests. There are some great day-hikes in the Winds, but the most spectacular way to see this mountain range is by backpacking in and staying a few days.
Try Titcomb Basin for a classic 30-mile round trip to see the whole range of ecological and geological diversity. You can also hike the Cirque of Towers, whether you’re just hiking into marvel at the granite towers or you’re using the campground as base camp before you climb.
The Final Word
Hiking and camping in the 100 miles of the Wind River Range in Wyoming is an unforgettable experience. You can find advanced trails leading to remote lakes and campgrounds, or take the kids on a relatively easy trail, ending up at a lovely spot in a meadow.
Banner & Oak offers excellent outdoor gear for the lover of the outdoors. Before you head out on your next great adventure to the Wind River Range, be sure to pick up something from Banner & Oak first.