FKT: Matthew Matta - Solitude Trail 038 (WY) - 2021-09-18

Route variation
Standard loop
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
20h 49m 55s
GPS track(s)

On September 17, 2021 I ran the Solitude Loop in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming. I’ve been looking at this trail for over a year and it looked like there would finally be a good weather window when I would be available so I drove out from Minnesota. I parked near the Spear-O-Wigwam towards the north end of the loop, then hiked the 3 miles in to the loop. I finally started on the loop at 7:52 am, going in the counterclockwise direction.

I didn’t see anyone for the first several hours. I saw a few hikers on the southern end of the loop, near the trail for Cloud Peak, and then several elk hunters on the east side. They were surprised to see someone with a running vest and seemed worried about me when I told them what I was doing. I saw one moose and several deer and smelled another large animal, moose or bear perhaps.

The trail was hard to follow in places and doesn’t always match up with the Trails Illustrated map. The gpx file on the route description is pretty close. The hardest spots to follow are probably the high areas on the east and north sides of the loop where you’re basically following large cairns without much evidence of a trail in places. I’m guessing the trail is around 61 or 62 miles (my watch read 59.9) since my watch seems to cut trail mileage short in battery saver mode. This is closer to what Ryan and Emily had for mileage. My last 20 miles were in the dark and I lost a lot of time there. I got back to the start at 4:42 am. I went through roughly 4 liters of water and 2800 calories. The weather was pretty much perfect, with highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s. I know I could shave off several hours next time with better planning.