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4-6 week dispersed camping trip in Wyoming

Original Post
Katie Rogers · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 0

Hello all,

I’m planning a dispersed tent camping/backpacking trip from approximately mid/late April thru mid/late May this year. I’m focusing on northwestern Wyoming. I am considering a number of areas, but it’s hard to decide so I wanted to see what more experienced campers think. I’m considering some places in the Gros Ventre Wilderness, National Elk Refuge, Shadow Mountain, maybe Shoshone National Forest? Possibly even as far as Wolf Flats in Targhee. I know these are all very broad areas… as you can probably tell, I’m pretty overwhelmed with possibilities.

I know spring time has high bear activity, so if any of these places has lower bear activity relative to other places that would be preferable. Considering the duration of our trip, we’ll likely have to relocate once or twice (I think you have to move five miles every two weeks or so in most of these places).

What I’m looking for:

Beautiful views of the Tetons and/or surrounding mountain ranges (I’m here for the nature!) And I’m hard to impress… I want drop-dead STUNNING views

Enjoyable and beautiful hiking


Something (very) near water

Any kind of cell phone signal is preferable, but not necessary

Relative proximity to some kind of road/civilization, in case we need to restock on supplies

Something backpack-able… we’ll likely get a friend to drive us from Jackson and drop us off, but after that we’ll be without a vehicle. I don’t mind a several hour hike to camp.

It would be great to be near hot springs and/or some other things to do for fun

And most importantly, it has to be free!

I know that’s a big list and a lot to ask… I don’t expect to get everything I want, but I want to make the most of this trip. Any stories, experience, suggestions, or advice is much appreciated. Thank you!

Skibo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 5

There's going to be way too much snow in the Tetons for any backpacking, with snow likely on the valley floor at that time, with loads more higher. No trails will be open--backpacking starts to get good there in July or later.

Jimmy Downhillinthesnow · · Bozeman, Montana · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 10

Hey Katie,

The Tetons are getting hammered with snow this year. I believe Jackson is approaching 500" for the season, and will have over 600" by the time the year is out. It's weird--the Bozeman area is below average for snow this year, but Jackson has been pummeled. It could very well still be snowing in April, and there will still be meters of snow on the ground.

Unless you're stoked on snow camping and getting around on skis (which is awesome!) I'd suggest a more southerly destination. Perhaps Northern New Mexico would fit the bill. Check it out.

Stagg54 Taggart · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2006 · Points: 10

Gila Wilderness in New Mexico is pretty awesome. should meet a lot of your criteria.

Jimmy Downhillinthesnow · · Bozeman, Montana · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 10

I second the Gila. First official wilderness area in the US. It's gorgeous and has killer hot springs too. Plus, you get to eat New Mexican food--best regional cuisine in the country.

John L · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 173

I can't think of any place in mid April to mid May that would be completely free of snow for a backpacking trip in Wyoming for the area you are describing. You could do a trip out in the Laramie range but you would not be near the Tetons. It's a really beautiful area but we still get snowstorms in SE wyoming in April. If you shifted your months to mid-May to mid-June then that would be more realistic.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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