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Old 06-15-2021, 09:48 AM   #1
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Wind River Mtns?

Someday I'd like to visit the Wind River Mountains in Wyoming. Two years ago the wife and I drove up the Wind River valley and over Togwotee Pass on the way to the Tetons, but we had a destination to reach and didn't stop along the way. Maybe next year we might like to go back to that area and spend some time. I view it as a potential place for great scenery and wildlife without the yellowstone crowds. Am I right about that?

Looking at maps, I'm especially intrigued by the glacial lakes on the Pinedale side of the range, but I'm open to good spots on the Lander/Dubois side also. Ideally we'd like to camp "out in it" near fishable water and hiking opportunities, though at some point we might need a night with electric to fully recharge. Also wondering if such places require a lot of off-pavement driving to reach. I don't mind a reasonable distance on maintained gravel roads, but we can't do off-road/rough road, and would prefer to avoid hour-plus drives on gravel.

We like to travel during shoulder seasons to minimize crowds, but from a brief check of Forest Service campgrounds, it looks like they are open June through Labor Day. Also, climate data for Pinedale suggests we could run into freezing temps in May and September, so I'm wondering if we'd have to worry about our exposed drain lines freezing. Is this doable, or should we look at visiting during summer? And if so, would we be contending with crowds and full campgrounds?

All thoughts and suggestions appreciated.
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Old 06-15-2021, 03:42 PM   #2
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Really don't know how this year will turn out. If like last year, the woods will be busy!! The shoulder seasons are the best time (esp fall), and more likely you'd be able to find "primitive" spots in the Rockies. Summer would be the busiest, but can't predict.

Last summer (late) spent 3-1/2 weeks in Idaho, slight bit of Wyoming, and much of western Montana. Busy, busy, busy!! Worst thing was empty RVs with no one around in the middle of the week, just locking down a spot, and denying others the use of that spot!! A couple of weekends, no one came to some of them. Totally selfish. Was almost impossible to find a site near Glacier, but did luck out at a Nat Forest non-res CG. I'm seeing though, that some NF CGs are going to reservations and dropping the first come/first serve way of doing things. Guess that's the way it will be for awhile.

Good site to look for boondocking/primitive/free camp spots is:

https://freecampsites.net/
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Old 06-16-2021, 04:26 AM   #3
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I thought most NF campgrounds had the rule that you have to occupy the camp site the first night. I guess no one is checking to see if there are actually any people in the rig.
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Old 06-16-2021, 11:22 AM   #4
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Sorry, comments about empty RVs was directed more to dispersed, boondocking, ie no CG spots. Yes, the NFs have that rule, but most don't have a host, so more can go on between Ranger visits!!!

Also, early and late seasons bring with them the hunters!! Spring for turkeys, bear and fall for deer, elk, and bear. That will also load up the dispersed spots in many areas.
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Old 06-16-2021, 01:27 PM   #5
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Old 06-20-2021, 11:57 PM   #6
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I've spent a lot of time in the Winds and especially around Pinedale. A lot of gravel driving can be necessary. It's worth it unless something breaks.
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Old 06-21-2021, 04:53 AM   #7
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I've spent a lot of time in the Winds and especially around Pinedale. A lot of gravel driving can be necessary. It's worth it unless something breaks.
Thanks. Are we talking mostly smooth gravel or full of potholes?

Also, care to share any thoughts about camp site availability and September/May weather?
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Old 06-21-2021, 09:30 AM   #8
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Thanks. Are we talking mostly smooth gravel or full of potholes?

Also, care to share any thoughts about camp site availability and September/May weather?

Just to be clear, I'm not asking you to give up your favorite spots. Just asking about the general situation.
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Old 06-21-2021, 05:36 PM   #9
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I'm sure you know about this, but grizzlies in late summer enter "hyperphagia." The Wind River high country is known for grizzly activity.

Don't let that stop you -- I would go there in a minute, but bring spray.
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Old 06-21-2021, 06:40 PM   #10
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I'm sure you know about this, but grizzlies in late summer enter "hyperphagia." The Wind River high country is known for grizzly activity.

Don't let that stop you -- I would go there in a minute, but bring spray.
Yeah, that's part of the attraction of a place like that. I would definitely carry spray.
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Old 06-21-2021, 09:50 PM   #11
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Here's some info on the area:

https://windriver.org/experience/camping/

https://windriver.org/location-type/...s-campgrounds/

https://www.visitpinedale.org/things-to-do/camping

http://greater-yellowstone.com/Wind-...mpgrounds.html
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Old 06-21-2021, 10:38 PM   #12
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Pretty hard to make blanket pronouncements on gravel roads! LOL Go slowly!

For boondocking you have to do a lot of research but there is plenty.
For FS campgrounds just assume they're all full these days.

There were never grizzlies on the south side of the Winds but there is the occasional one now. They're rare on the north side.

Not sure what "September/May weather means". May-early June is good. Thunderstorms are July-August. September can be great but after mid Sept you never know except these days probably better than 30 yrs ago.
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Old 06-22-2021, 04:34 AM   #13
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Great info. Thanks!
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Old 07-03-2021, 12:09 AM   #14
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I was just there

I just spent several days at the Green River Lakes Dispersed camping. I had the last site just before the campground entrance.

It was a rough ride to the site. (2004 f250 6.0l diesel, 30Ft TT) Campendium reviews were dead on in stating that the "last 20 miles takes more than an hour..." but man, it was worth it. Simply stunning scenery. (..and this was AFTER a week in the Tetons!) Caught fish everyday of my 5 day license, and I'm no great fisherman... Saw a mom and baby moose, two dear swimming in the lake, and made eye contact with a large fox just a couple yards away. Water at the campground was delicious.

After the Green River Lakes, we moved to the other end of the "Winds" (as the locals say) and stayed a few days at Atlantic City Campground during which went up to Louis Lake for a day of sun bathing and swimming. The drive down from Louis lake through "Sinks Canyon" into Lander was like something from a James Bond movie in the Alps.. (not advisable with trailer attached)
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