Route: Wind River Range Traverse (WY)

Wyoming, US

This Route is for mostly on-trail traverses between Green River Lakes and Big Sandy.  Largely off-trail trips are described under the Wind River High Route.

There does not seem to be an established standard for the route.  Generally the end points have been Green River Lakes and Big Sandy, and people use a combination of the Highline & Fremont Trails.  Here we archive some discussion from our old website:

Jim Knight (9/28/2010):

Bryce Thatcher and I did a traverse in the 80's from Big sandy TH to Green River Lakes TH, combining the Highline & Fremont Trails. Our ET was abt 38 hrs as I recall. Camping about halfway.

here's a copy of an article I wrote for Ultrarunning Magazine, posted courtesy of Irv Neisen, SLC. [unfortunately the article is no longer at this site]

good luck out there. may the force be with you.


Jeremy Humphry (9/29/2010):

Thanks Jim for the nice read.

The Climbing/Hiking Guidebook for the Winds by Joe Kelsey (second ed. 1994, page 16) says that if you use the Highline and Fremont, then it is 64 miles from Green River Lakes to Big Sandy Opening (72 miles if you use the Highline exclusively). I had always heard it was over 100 miles to cross the Winds. That is why I assumed the route had to keep going to Little Sandy or Sinks Canyon.

My new Beartooth Publishing map of the range shows distances at all trail junctions from Green River Lakes to Big Sandy adding to 65.2 miles. A possible route crosses Washakie Pass and onto the Lizark head Trail, past the Cirque of the Towers, onto the Middle Fork Trail ending at Sinks Canyon. That totals 94.4 miles. How are people doing over 100 miles?



Jim Knight (10/5/2010):

Hi Jeremy,

Good sleuthing. I too had always assumed the Winds were about 100 miles across. Stubborn legend now gives way to GPS fact! At the time, no one was linking stuff in a day or two, plus mileages and signs were vague. I remember getting lost and we had one crummy map. The mileage you suggest makes sense, given our time and the overnight gear. Doing it in a single push without bivy stuff would be a scream, given the new nav gear, clothing & nutrition. I'd certainly be up for doing it again. I haven't forgotten the mosquitoes, however. Ending in Sinks would be awesome if you wanted to do it in 2 very long days. I would think that 3 days would be splendid and allow for more sleep & rest in camp with less overall suffering. Thoughts?


Jeremy Humphry (10/8/2010):

Some more sleuthing in the Kelsey climbing guide reveals a shorter but obscure route over Texas Pass straight into the Cirque of the Towers. I would guess 90 miles total. 3 days sounds like a big load to carry and some bad bivies. From my nice warm house in Idaho, on my couch with a blanket, I think it will go in a single push, maybe a short nap with a foil space bag, carry a single 20oz bottle to dip, and bring some turkey sandwhiches. 30 hours max. Sounds easy, right?


Jared Campbell (1/31/2012):

I just noticed this thread. Ty Draney did a route from Green Lakes to Big Sandy in 2011. See report here : It isn't the fastest route possible, but that was never our intent. The best route is certainly NOT the fastest route in the Wind Rivers.



kyehalpin (12/29/2017):

My friend Ryan Burke and I did the Wind River High Route in 63 hours with two 6-7hr bivy naps, running a good portion of it. We went from Big Sandy to Green River TH. Might try to add on an extra twenty miles next year and go solo. [this trip is described under the Wind River High Route]

43.1835193, -109.6526115


Generally the "establishment" of routes are looked down upon in the Winds. I think most understand that there has been a lot of accomplishment but very few seek to document or talk about it. Of course, you can't keep the "me, me, me" people out forever. FKT for the entire range is 27 hours, Derek Collins. 


As far as the length of the range, you can do 100 miles. I did a 100 mile Crest traverse of the Winds that starts at Atlantic Peak and ends at Union Peak staying along the divide the entire way. I didn't name it but it's the highest and longest route in the Wind Rivers, you can't do the range in a more complete manner.