Day one, I ate breakfast at my parents’ house, finished packing and tweaking my gear organization and finally loaded rolled out at a leisurely 11am. I headed south up Hoback Canyon and in no time had climbed up out of the canyon into Bondurant and onto the high plateau. From there it was southbound towards Pinedale with a brisk tailwind (yay!) I stopped in Pinedale for water refill and lunch at one of my favorite spots there– Obo’s Market and Deli.
South of Pinedale in Boulder, WY I took a left off of the main highway and onto WY 353. About 11 more miles and the gravel began. The Lander cut-off road runs south along the west side of the Winds and is about 50 miles of stunning gravel with mountain views. I stopped for the night on some BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land and after dinner enjoyed a beautiful sunset from my sleeping bag and a night under the stars.
The next morning it was time for more gravel miles! There were some cows and a lot of pronghorn. After a couple miles on WY 28 I returned to gravel and detoured into South Pass City on more dirt to bypass the highway pavement. After another quick highway stint, I chose to take a small risk—Lake Louis Road into Lander. The small risk being that this road was technically still closed which means there may well be snow.
The risk paid off. No cars, stunning views, and only 2 short sections of snow that forced me to walk for about 30 meters each. Before I knew it I was descending dirt down towards Sinks Canyon and Lander. The dirt turned back into pavement and I dropped into the canyon. I stopped by the Sinks and the Rise and then rolled on into Lander. I had plans for ice cream after arrival with my friend and former coworker, Mark, and to my surprise he was outside his house (on the road into town) to greet me as I rolled in! I dropped my things at another friend’s house who was letting me stay in the basement for the night (social distanced!), showered and finally time for ice cream! Then I had a lovely rest of the evening in Lander catching up with several other friends from my NOLS(National Outdoor Leadership School) days.
Early the next morning I headed north into the Wind River Reservation. The lovely tailwind I had enjoyed two days prior headed south was now a stout headwind. By the time I got to Dubois, I was feeling it but a quick latte stop at The Perch Coffeehouse perked me up and I started the climb up Togwotee Pass and back across the Continental Divide. Thanks to COVID, all of the National Forest campgrounds were closed, but at the base of the pass, I headed up a Forest Service road and lucked into one of the best campsite views I’ve ever had—looking across the valley right at the Tetons and Mount Moran.
The final day was a ‘short’ ride back to Hoback through Grand Teton National Park. I opted to take the highway to get a little more family time in (read: a second ride of the day with them). In just a few hours I was rolling into my parents’ driveway to a most excellent dog welcome party with tired legs but a full and happy heart. While I’ll be bummed if racing continues to be canceled for the year, I also will welcome continuing to explore new territory and new adventures on two wheels!
|Circumvention of Wind River Mountains, Northwest Wyoming, USA
|Total trip distance (4 days)
|Ascent in metres
|A 4-5 day bikepack trip circumventing the Wind River Mountain Range in northwestern Wyoming. The route has few big climbs, but keeps you on the outskirts of the mountain range and through two mountain passes with spectacular views, wildlife, and passes through several towns making for easy resupply options.
|Best time to travel
|Late May-early October
|Type of terrain
|Mixed- pavement & gravel
|In summer the weather is usually warm and dry with possible afternoon storms. As with any high mountains however one should be prepared for snow and cold rain at any time of year particularly if trying the route early/late season.
|Little steep climbing. SRAM Red AXS 12 speed 10-33T, 46/33T
|32-40 recommended. Heavy tread is not necessary, gravel roads are relatively smooth and there is a large amount of pavement.
|Do not forget…
|Sunscreen- no tree cover, water purifier/filter. If camping near Togwotee Pass or other trailheads near the Winds it is bear country need to be prepared to hang food and have bear spray.
|Jackson Hole. SLC nearest international airport.
|Hotel / camp location
|BLM land off of Lander Cut-Off Road. Big Sandy and Little Sandy Trailheads are options. If desiring a shorter day, Pinedale WY has hotels/camping options.
|(Start / Day 0)
|Hotel / camp location
|Lander, WY– I stayed at a friend’s house, but multiple hotel options or free camping in city park
|Hotel / camp location (Day 2)
|I camped up Forest Road 30160. Also multiple campgrounds at the base of Togwotee Pass or along the pass.
|Hotel / camp location
|Finish in Jackson, WY
|(Day 3 / Finish)
- Day 1: https://www.strava.com/activities/3517356958
- Day 2: https://www.strava.com/activities/3517356944
- Day 3: https://www.strava.com/activities/3526329944
- Day 4: https://www.strava.com/activities/3526326329
Complete route https://www.strava.com/routes/2715281357451081946