Located in Western Wyoming, the Bridger-Teton National Forest offers more than 3.4 million acres of public land for your outdoor recreation enjoyment. With its pristine watersheds, abundant wildlife and immense wildlands, the forest comprises a large part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem – the largest intact ecosystem in the lower 48 United States. The northern border of the forest is shared with both Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. Recreational opportunities are certainly endless and many of the best hikes in Bridger-Teton National Forest are described below. Special places to visit if traveling to the forest include: the Wind River Range, Teton Wilderness, Gros Ventre Wilderness, Snake River, and more! Official Website.
|Nearest Metro Area||Jackson, WY|
|Area Size||3,402,684 acres|
|Established||July 1, 1908|
|Hiking Trails||2,500 miles|
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Trailhead Traveler’s Recommended Hikes in Bridger-Teton National Forest
(*** = Top hikes in Bridger-Teton National Forest)
Big Sandy Trail to Cirque of the Towers*** – 17.4 miles out and back
Starting from the Big Sandy Trailhead in the Wind River Range, this amazing backpacking experience starts out relatively level for the first 7 miles. Further, the trail gets extremely steep ascending to Jackass Pass and crossing the continental divide. Finally, descend to Lonesome Lake and you are surrounded by the picturesque Cirque of the Towers. Busiest in July and August, this trail is popular for backpackers and rock climbers alike. Certainly add this one to your bucket list if it’s not already there.
Goodwin Lake Trail – 6.2 miles out and back
The trail begins by winding through pine forest until reaching an open sagebrush hillside which it climbs fairly steeply but has spectacular views of the Tetons. The trail continues to climb through pine forest up to the ridge where it flattens out and cruises the ridge for a few miles. The trailhead is very close to Jackson, WY and can be very crowded on summer weekends.
Lower Green River Lake Loop*** – 6.3 mile loop
This loop combines the Highline Trail and Lakeside Trail to hike around the beautiful Green River Lake. Highline Trail offers great views of the lake and the flat-topped Squaretop Mountain while Lakeside Trail offers more of a forested experience on your way back to the trailhead.
Ski Lake Trail*** – 4.3 miles out and back
The trail starts just up the road from the kiosk and climbs fairly consistently through open meadow, pine forest, and aspen stands with beautiful views all around. The trail comes into a large meadow where you’ll cross a small bridge and come to the junction with the Phillips Pass Trail. Subsequently, take a left here to head to Ski Lake. Finally, the trail then climbs through subalpine fir forest until it eventually comes out at the lake, a spectacular spot on a hot summer day. The trail does continue past the lake into the upper drainage but is not heavily maintained and can be hard to follow in places.
Snow King Summit Trail – 4.0 miles out and back
Steep workout trail on a dirt mountain road right in Jackson, WY. Very popular daily hike with amazing views of the valley and the Tetons. In total you will climb about 1500′ in about 2 miles to the top but the views make it totally worth it.
Titcomb Basin*** – 29.4 miles out and back
This is another iconic Wind River Range backpacking experience that you’ll want to have on your bucket list! Beginning from the Elkhart – Pole Creek Trailhead, this route combines numerous trails on its way to the basin and Titcomb Lakes. Often thought of as the most beautiful part of the Wind River Range, the hike to Titcomb Basin has it all. You will pass through dense forest, open meadows, lakes, peaks, and likely some wildlife too. Although it is lengthy, there are just a few steep sections along the way. However, there are several great turnaround points for day hikers; most popular being Photographer’s Point at 4.5 miles from the trailhead.
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