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Lakes, Cirques and Towers

Highlights

  • Enjoy a 7-day adventure in one of America's most impressive mountain ranges
  • Gaze from the Continental Divide into magnificent Cirque of the Towers
  • Explore remote mountain cirques and climb a backcountry peak
  • Soak up rejuvenating solitude and scenery
  • Camp on the shores of pristine mountain lakes and streams
  • Sleep under one of the most vivid night skies you've ever seen
  • Enjoy our exceptional backcountry cuisine and expert guides


Description

Our Lakes, Cirques and Towers trip travels through one of the most stunning parts of the Wind River Range. The regions we hike through are characterized by one fantastically picturesque valley after another. Since the last ice age, the glacial activity left these cirques ringed by massive granite walls and towers.

We approach the Continental Divide from the west, passing serene mountain lakes and rivers, and many towering peaks, enroute. On Day 3 we hike to Texas Pass (11,450 feet on the Divide) for one of the best vantage points from which to really see the impressive nature of the Cirque of the Towers, one of the most famous spots in The Winds. We'll be able to see all the major peaks and some of the glaciers, as well as the mountain lakes that occupy the bottom of the cirque.

We then continue on through more breathtaking country, paralleling the Continental Divide the whole way. On Day 5 we have the potential for an exciting summit attempt on Pyramid Peak (12,030 feet), the views from which are indescribeable.

This is arguably our most diverse, scenic and exciting llama trek we offer in the Wind River Range - call us at 1-800-715-HIKE to reserve your spot today!


 


Lakes, Cirques, and Towers Trip Photos

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Shuttle to Trailhead: 3 hours
Hiking Mileage: 7.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 900 feet


This Wind River Range Llama Trek begins in Jackson Hole, Wyoming where we'll pick you up at your hotel for transport to the trailhead. Our hike starts along one of the Wind River Range's major rivers, the Big Sandy, for a couple miles before we break off into a chain of wildflower-laden meadows rimmed by aspen and fir forests. From the meadows we'll get our first real glimpses of the high country peaks, our destination on this trip. Our camp is on the shores of Mirror Lake, a majestic mountain lake that offers good fishing. We'll set up camp and settle in for a cozy campfire and hearty dinner.


Day 2

Hiking Mileage: 4 miles
Elevation Gain: 250 feet

With the massive peaks of the Continental Divide framing our view to the east, we hike past a series of mountain lakes including Dad's Lake and Marms Lake, to a majestic, fast-flowing creek. More impressive peaks including Pylon Peak, Shark's Nose, and Overhanging Tower (all over 12,000 feet) begin to take shape and dominate the eastern skyline. We'll continue hiking to our camp at Shadow Lake, which lies beneath the Overhanging Tower and Bollinger Peak. At this point we are far into the wilderness and the solitude is inspiring. The afternoon is free for relaxation, fishing or light hiking around Shadow Lake.


Day 3

Hiking Mileage: 5+ miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 1200 feet


Today's hike takes us onto the spine of the Continental Divide for one of the best views in the Rocky Mountains: a look at Cirque of the Towers from Texas Pass! We'll get a relatively early start to make the most of our day, which is an unforgettable one. We'll hike directly up the Divide to Texas Lake, a beautiful high mountain lake tucked beneath massive granite peaks. From the lake we'll climb up to Texas Pass for an unparalleled view down the east side of the Divide and the Cirque of the Towers. Glaciers, soaring peaks, alpine lakes, and endless granite walls combine to make this one of the most picture-worthy views in America, so be sure and remember your camera!


Day 4

Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
Elevation Loss: 200
Elevation Gain: 300

As amazing as Day 3 is, this trip is in some ways just getting started! Day 4 takes us past more mountain lakes and past more impressive Rocky Mountain peaks to our camp at Mae's Lake. Some of today's highlights include lunch at Skull Lake, views of Bernard Peak and Mount Washakie, and a myriad of majestic creeks and meadows that provide fantastic opportunities to relish in the wonder of wilderness. Once at camp, we'll relax in preparation for tomorrow's big climb up Ambush Peak (12,173 feet).


Day 5

Hiking Mileage: 6+ miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 1500 feet

Today is another major gem of this trip! We'll have a quick breakfast and get an early start to beat potential afternoon thunderstorms, as we're heading high onto the exposed slopes of Pyramid Peak (12,030 feet). We first hike to Pyramid Lake, an alpine lake hemmed in between Midsummer Dome and Pyramid Peak, two impressive summits. We'll continue west below Midsummer Dome and work our way up the scree slopes of Pyramid Peak to its summit. The views from up here extend across the entire mountain range. We're also able to see Gannett Peak, which is the tallest peak in Wyoming.

After we summit we'll return to camp and have a relaxing evening, hearty dinner and roaring campfire in celebration of our amazing day!


Day 6

Hiking Mileage: 6 miles
Elevation Loss: 600 feet

Today begins our loop hike back to our starting point. We'll hike down the East Fork Valley, which is a broad valley characterized by big meadows and beautiful aspen forests. We'll cut over to Marms Lake, where we'll camp for the evening. Marms Lake provides another great opportunity for any guests interested in fishing.


Day 7

Hiking Mileage: 6 miles
Elevation Loss: 650 feet
Shuttle to Jackson Hole: 3 hours


Our final day takes us back to the Big Sandy River and our starting point. We'll keep our eyes out for moose, as the meadows and wetlands of this area are great moose habitat! A final shuttle ride back to Jackson Hole provides a wonderful opportunity to relax, take in the scenery on this amazing drive, and contemplate the life-changing adventure you've just completed.


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°