Crown Jewel of the Winds: Titcomb Basin, Wyoming, USA
By Nicole Atkins
Titcomb Basin is one of those destinations that will leave you changed. It’s nestled in the Wind River Range, in Western Wyoming. The primitive nature of the Winds has a way of arousing the deepest passions of your creative soul. With their jagged edges and unforgiving storms, they remind us who is in charge.
The Winds are notorious for unpredictable weather. So come prepared for any kind of adventure. The 15-mile trek to the basin can be hiked in a day. But to really appreciate the scenery, plan on spending 2-4 days making the ~30-mile round trip.
With a net elevation change of 1260 feet, it’s a moderate-to-difficult hike. You’ll start from the Elkhart Park trailhead in Pinedale, WY. Make sure you have a vehicle that can handle dirt roads.
After 4.5 miles you’ll reach Photographer’s Point. Prepare for some of the most beautiful mountain vistas you’ve feasted your eyes upon. Grab a snack and head downhill. In another mile, you’ll reach Eklund Lake and Barbara Lake. If you haven’t fueled up yet, you’ll want to. There’s a steep mile climb before you reach the next amazing viewpoint, looking down on Seneca Lake.
Some people set up camp at Seneca Lake. The Winds are home to bears and other critters so be sure to bear-proof your camping area. At this point, you’re 9 miles into your 15-mile trek so it’s a good stopping point.
Otherwise, continue past Little Seneca Lake. One more climb; after about 2 miles you’ll be looking down at your reward, Island Lake. She’s a beaut. Island Lake is another popular place to set up camp.
The push to Titcomb Basin is only another 3.5 miles of easy rolling terrain. Once you get there, drink it in. You can spend a day or so exploring the basin, or go beyond the basin to Gannett Peak (the tallest peak in Wyoming).
Take a dip in the lake if it’s a hot day, you earned it.
Give yourself time to deal with weather changes and mosquitoes (if it’s summer). They’ll eat you alive. Above all, take in the splendor that surrounds you.
When you’re ready, pack up camp and head back toward the trailhead. The story you’ll take with you is will be one of your favorites for years to come.