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Photo: Alex Wood

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Middle Fork Loop

Highlights

  • Hike for 5 days in one of North America's most impressive mountain ranges
  • Soak up rejuvenating solitude and scenery
  • Enjoy a day hike into a stunning mountain cirque along the Continental Divide
  • 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

This 5-day/4-night llama-supported trek is an amazing way to experience the backcountry of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Our focus is the high mountain lakes, rivers, and meadows of the vast and scenic Wind River Range south of Yellowstone National Park. This is world-class hiking and fishing country; for those interested, every camp provides the opportunity for fantastic trout fishing!

Leaving from Jackson Hole, we'll shuttle to our trailhead and begin our adventure. Our route takes us from one pristine mountain lake to another, strung together by valleys and rivers that run along the western spine of the Continental Divide. Our camps are in perfect locations next to lakes, at the edge of meadows, and near rivers and creeks. The night sky from these remote mountains is an amazing sight to behold!

Don't miss this incredible wilderness experience! Call us at 1-800-715-HIKE to reserve your spot today.


 


Wind River Range Photos

Photos by Russ Nordstrand

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Shuttle to Trailhead: 1.5 hours
Hiking Mileage: 6 miles
Elevation Gain: 1600 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 takes us by a plethora of lakes and creeks, including the scenic Toboggan Lakes and Little Divide Lake, which is a stunning body of water surrounded by open parklands. Throughout the day the jagged peaks of the Continental Divide frame our eastern horizon, providing a backdrop like no other for our first day in the mountains! Our camp is near the shores of Little Divide Lake, where your guide will prepare a hearty and delicious dinner to celebrate our first night.


Day 2

Hiking Mileage: 6 miles
Elevation Gain: 250 feet

We'll have a relaxing morning and big breakfast before breaking down camp. Then it's back on the trail for an extraordinary day of hiking! Today's hike leads us beneath Dragonhead Peak (12,205 feet) and much closer to the serrated, 12,000+ foot ridge of the Continental Divide. We'll pass Lightning Lakes, Crescent Lake and Dream Lake as well, each one a worthy destination in and of itself. Tonight's camp is on the shores of Sandpoint Lake, a serene setting tucked beneath the towering summits of the Divide.


Day 3

Hiking Mileage: 8 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 450 feet


Today is a layover day to spend as you wish. Your guide will lead those interested on a day hike to Middle Fork Lake, the namesake of this trip. Middle Fork is one of the most picturesque lakes in the Wind River Range. It lies in a cirque beneath the Continental Divide and is surrounded by giant, granite cliffs. Snow fields line the creases of the granite walls, and the water in the lake is a deep blue that often reflects the sky with near perfect clarity.

Other options besides hiking today include world-class fishing in the nearby lakes, shorter walks near camp, and/or just relaxing and enjoying this extraordinary place.


Day 4

Hiking Mileage: 4 miles
Elevation Loss: 300 feet

Today is a fun one that includes off-trail hiking and more beautiful scenery. We'll hike past more lakes, including beautiful Junction Lake, then break off trail and head through virgin country to the confluence of the Middle Fork and South Fork of Boulder Creek. We'll set up camp in a quiet, serene meadow at the junction of these creeks. The junction of these two creeks provides an excellent opportunity for trout fishing.


Day 5

Hiking Mileage: 8 miles
Elevation Loss: 1450 feet
Shuttle to Jackson Hole: 1.5 hours


This morning is all about appreciating the journey we've been on for the past four days. We'll prepare a great breakfast while the fishermen in the group have one more opportunity to wet a line before we head out. Our final hike continues off trail to Lightning Lakes, where we'll link back up with the trail and follow it back to our trailhead. Then it's a relatively short shuttle back to Jackson Hole where it's off to much-deserved showers!


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°