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Big Sandy Llama Basecamp

Highlights

  • In just 4 days thoroughly explore the high peaks and alpine lakes of the Continental Divide
  • We maximize our hiking time without having to move camp each day
  • Challenge yourself on long, adventurous day hikes from camp
  • Soak up rejuvenating solitude and scenery
  • See two of the most scenic spots in the Winds: Deep Lake and Cirque of the Towers
  • Sleep under one of the most vivid night skies you've ever seen
  • Enjoy our exceptional backcountry cuisine and expert guides


Description

This 4-day llama trip into one of the most stunning sections of the Wind River Range is one not to be missed! We pack an amazing amount of scenery and adventure into just 4 days. Since it's a "llama basecamp" trip we'll stay in the same camp for 3 nights, allowing us to maximize our hiking time without the need to break camp each day. We'll enjoy big Wyoming meals and the wonderful companionship of each other and the llamas as we explore mountain lakes, creeks, rivers, and the magnificent mountain cirques of the Continental Divide.

Our hike takes us from the west side of the Wind River Range to a large, serene lake where we set up our camp for the 3 nights. Our day hikes on days 2 and 3 take us to a stunning lake at the base of an awe-inspiring cirque, and to a high pass for views into Cirque of the Towers, one of the most photographed backcountry areas in Wyoming. Speaking of photographs, don't forget your camera on this trip because the views are abundant and endlessly picturesque! The final day we'll hike back out the way we came in.

Don't miss this amazing trip into some of North America's most beautiful and wild mountains. Give us a call at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to learn more or book your spot today!


 


Wind River Range Photos

Photos 1 and 2 by Michael Ancira

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Shuttle to Trailhead: 2 hours
Hiking Mileage: 7 miles
Elevation Gain: 700 feet feet


This Wind River Range Llama Trek begins with pickup at your hotel in Jackson Hole (custom trips can also originate from Pinedale, WY). We'll drive through stunning mountains and along the west edge of the Wind River Range before arriving at our trailhead. After packing up and completing a llama orientation we'll start off on our 7-mile trek to our 3-night basecamp.

Our hike takes us along a major river then higher up into forests and meadows that eventually dump us out at a large, serene mountain lake surrounded by meadows, forests and wetlands. We'll hike a mile along its shores to the east side of the lake, where we'll make our home for the next 3 days. Our views north, south and east look up at massive domes, cirques and towers. Our view to the west is open and permits us to fully soak up the evening sunsets over roaring campfires and hearty backcountry dinners.


Day 2

Hiking Mileage: 8 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 900 feet

After a big breakfast we'll begin our hike south to one of the most stunning alpine lakes in the Southern Wind River Range: Deep Lake. We'll pass Clear Lake and enter into an alpine world where we look down on the forests and lakes we previously hiked through. Eventually we'll arrive at Deep Lake. Ringed by sheer, dominating cliffs and massive peaks the lake sits in a cirque that is at once humbling, inspiring, and beckoning. One of the most photographed backcountry lakes in Wyoming, Deep Lake and the surrounding cirque will amaze our senses while we enjoy a hearty picnic lunch. In the afternoon we'll turn around and hike back to camp for a cozy campfire and big Wyoming dinner.


Day 3

Hiking Mileage: 8 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 1100 feet


You're in for yet another Wind River treat today! We'll get started early to beat the afternoon thunderstorms that frequently move in on the higher peaks. Today we turn north and ascend past two fantastic lakes (North Lake and Arrowhead Lake) to Big Sandy Pass, which is perched along the Continental Divide at nearly 11,000 feet. It's a strenuous day that offers big rewards. We'll pass below some of the Divide's most impressive peaks including magnificent Warbonnet Peak (12,369 feet). At Big Sandy Pass we'll gaze into Cirque of the Towers, a view you'll never forget. We'll pick a comfortable spot for lunch and then head back to camp for a final, celebratory evening before our hike out.


Day 4

Hiking Mileage: 7 miles
Elevation Loss: 700 feet
Shuttle to Jackson Hole: 2 hours


On our final day we'll enjoy a relaxing morning, pack up camp, and - with our llama companions carrying the bulk of our gear - hike back out the way we came. Once at the trailhead, we'll say our good-byes to the Winds and watch as they float by as we drive back to Jackson Hole. With a fond farewell, we'll drop you off at your hotel for much-deserved showers and relaxation.


Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary park restrictions, campsite availability, weather, road closures, guest ability/injury, and natural events like fires and flooding.

Trip Details

What's Included

  • Pack llamas to transport the majority of gear and food and a dedicated llama handler
  • One or more professional, knowledgeable, certified Wind River hiking guides (max guest to guide ratio is 6:1, not including the llama handler)
  • Top-of-the-line tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and technical backpack
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • Roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Jackson, Wyoming to the trailhead and back
  • Bear safety equipment including bear spray cannisters and food-hanging gear
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and your kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Waterbottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-15% of trip cost)
See the Packing List page for more information.


Meals: What To Expect

All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.


Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:
  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Sierra Designs or Mountain Hardware tents
  • Sierra Designs sleeping bags
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki trekking poles
  • Mountain Safety Research cooking stoves
  • Mountain Safety Research cookware
  • Bear spray cannisters and food-hanging gear
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Satellite phone


What Gear To Bring

We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are two 1-liter waterbottles per person, either a headlamp or flashlight per person, and a lightweight waterproof stuff sac for your clothes and belongings. Basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.


What Clothes to Bring

Please refer to the trip packet for a recommended clothing list (we email you a detailed trip packet when you inquire and when you register). All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots (reliable brands include Montrail, Lowa, Merrell, Vasque, and Salomon), rain gear, and non-cotton clothing layers. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

NOTE: See the Packing Lists page for more detailed information on what clothes and gear to bring on your hiking tour. The trip packet you receive when you contact us will have the most accurate clothing and gear list for the tour you're interested in.

Trip Logistics

Where Do We Meet?

You'll meet your hiking guide and group at predetermined hotel in Jackson, Wyoming for an orientation meeting at 5:00 PM the evening before the trip begins. The next morning we'll pick you up at your hotel for transport to the trailhead. For private trips, you also have the option to originate your trip in Pinedale, Wyoming.

Check out our Travel Resources page for information on flights, shuttles, discounted lodging and more.

Safety Considerations

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional Wyoming hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT's, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We've developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and most tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.


Guides

Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, training in llama-handling, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.


Group Size

Every llama trip has a dedicated llama handler/wilderness guide. The standard ratio of guests to guides/handlers on llama trips is 1 guide/handler for 1-4 guests; 2 guides/handlers for 5-9 guests; and 3 guides/handlers for 10+ guests. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 800-715-HIKE (4453) and we'll answer all your questions.


Weather Around Yellowstone

Being a Northern mountain environment, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is prone to sudden temperature and weather shifts. This is an exciting aspect of being in Wyoming's mountains. On trips in June, snow is a slight possibility, and the rest of the summer you're likely to get rained on at least once during your trip. To be fully prepared, please follow the recommended clothing list closely (this list comes as part of your trip packet when you register). See below for average summer temperatures around Yellowstone:
     
Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)
     
 
Month
High
Low
 
June
70°
42°
 
July
80°
47°
 
August
78°
45°
 
September
68°
37°