Trail & Route Comparisons

The utterly impressive upper East Fork, from just below Raid Peak Pass

The utterly impressive upper East Fork, from just below Raid Peak Pass

The Wind River High Route is most comparable in the continental US to the Sierra High Route and Kings Canyon High Basin Route. In all cases, expect extensive off-trail travel, extreme vertical change, and in general a high-and-lonesome wilderness experience. If you have thru- or section-hiked these routes or similar, you’ll love the Wind River High Route.

There are a few important differences between these routes, however. In the Winds, the summer weather pattern is slightly less friendly — it rains more, and it rains more often. Travel across snow and/or glacial ice is also guaranteed; it’s not just an early-season phenomenon like in the High Sierra.

The High Route should be of interest to thru-hikers on the Continental Divide Trail, which unfortunately follows a relatively lackluster route on on the west side of the crest. If you have time and the ambition, slow down through the Winds — it will probably be the highlight of your CDT experience. Be aware, however, that the High Route is several notches more intense than the CDT: you are not guaranteed of success; the uncertainty and the necessary mental engagement will work you over; and your daily mileage will be shopped in half, plus/minus. Read more.

This sight is typical of the Continental Divide Trail through the Winds. It's pretty but it's not in the action. On the other side of this far ridge lies the East Fork, pictured above. Don't miss it!

This sight is typical of the Continental Divide Trail through the Winds. It’s pretty but it’s not in the action. On the other side of this far ridge lies the East Fork, pictured above. Don’t miss it!

Leave a Comment