Arrive at the trailhead by 8 am. The hike in consists of around six miles of mostly-flat terrain, working in and out of trees and alongside a creek full of Brook and Rainbow trout. Given the hiking distance for the first day, we ask that clients limit their fishing to our extended lunch break. The hike to our campsite should take around 4.5 hours, including lunch and a fishing break. Once we have reached camp, fishing and hiking opportunities are open. Dinner will be served at 6 pm, unless other arrangements are made.
The weather in the Winds tends to deteriorate in the afternoons, so an early morning start is a must. Leaving from camp it is around six miles round-trip to Mitchell Peak, and the hiking is mostly off-trail through meadows, boulder fields and drainages with an elevation gain and loss of around 6,000 feet. Depending on party travel speed, it should take around 4 hours to reach the summit. Ideally, an early lunch will be served at the summit, but this is weather- and time-dependent. Due to the afternoon thundershowers that typically build in the late mornings, it is imperative that our party is off of the summit by noon and heading down to lower elevations. This is a great, off-the-beaten-path way to experience the Cirque of the Towers. No llamas will accompany us on this trip, so everything you need must be carried in your daypack. We should arrive back at camp before 7 pm, when dinner will be served.
Fishing, hiking or enjoying the views are all options before packing up in the afternoon and heading back to the trailhead.
General Trail and Backcountry Etiquette
There are general rules of trail etiquette that help maintain order, respect on the trail, and also help to prevent any injuries to animals or people. Our guides expect clients to obey these general rules and practice safe backcountry ethics at all times.
Llamas are more mobile, smaller pack animals, so when coming across a horse on the trail it is important to identify yourself and the llama and move off the trail to a lower patch of ground. While llama strings yield to horses, backpackers should yield to llamas. Basically, when two groups encounter on the trail, the larger of the two has the right-of-way.
Always ask before you approach or pet a pack animal, and use a calm, quiet demeanor around them. Dogs are wonderful companions to have in the backcountry, but when ill-behaved they can cause a lot of problems or injuries. Dogs should be kept on a reasonable-length leash and pulled in close when approaching llamas or horses, because even the best-trained animals can get excited when new animals are approaching.
We practice Leave No Trace ethics in all backcountry travel. Our clients are expected to do the same, so read up on ways to minimize your impact on the backcountry before your trip. Remember, if you pack it in you must pack it out. Guess what? Everybody poops and nobody wants to see yours. Bury it. Remember that we are guests of the Forest. We are granted access by a permit from the United States Forest Service and future trips depend on you. Please be respectful of each other and of the area. Rules and regulations exist for a reason, whether you find them valid or not.
The entire Wind River Range is home to both grizzly and black bears. Although an encounter is unlikely, consider carrying bear spray and know how to use it. Take extra precautions with your food-please don’t litter or leave food behind. No food or anything scented will be allowed in your tent (not even chapstick or sunscreen). Don’t feed any animals, even chipmunks. This protects both you and the animals in the area. Safety should be a group’s first priority-respect safe distances while in the presence of all animals.
Remember, we do not receive special or privileged use of the trails as a guided group. We are still required to abide by all trail rules. Please be polite to other trail users. If you have a question about trail or backcountry etiquette, please ask.