Pinedale is surrounded by three mountain ranges.
Situated in a bowl, Pinedale is encircled by the Wind River Range, the Wyoming Range, and the Gros Ventres. Unique opportunities for recreating and sightseeing abound here. The Wind River Range alone boasts over 2,800 square miles, including Wyoming’s highest point, Gannett Peak. The Wyoming Range has been ranked amongst the best snowmobiling in the country, and the Gros Ventre offers the headwaters of the Gros Ventre river as well as quieter exposure to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem than can be accessed via the Tetons and Yellowstone Park itself.
Wind River Range
Pinedale’s 2,800 square mile backyard.
Access to recreation is quick and easy in the Wind River Range. There are a half-dozen trailheads within 20 minutes from Pinedale, offering rapid exposure to this area. The Winds are known for steep, rocky terrain, sweeping vistas, and innumerable recreational opportunities. The Continental Divide Trail runs through the entire 100-mile length of the Winds, and backpackers, fishermen, and climbers have found this area to be one of North America’s greatest natural playgrounds.
The terrain, climate, and immense size make the Wind River Range unique. This range claims over 40 peaks with elevations above 13,000 feet, including the state’s highest mountain, Gannett Peak (13,809 feet). The Winds are home to nearly 200 active glaciers, including some of the largest glaciers in the Rockies. The glacial-carved terrain showcases several sheer granite walls and spectacular alpine lakes, which offer some of the best backcountry fishing in the United States. With snowmelt from significant snowfalls each year, beautiful wildflowers bloom throughout the summer months.
Wildlife abounds in the Wind River Range’s natural habitats. Aside from deer and antelope dotting the prairies surrounding Pinedale, this area is home to larger animals such as moose and elk, as well as both black and grizzly bears, mountain lions, and gray wolves. In 2011, Outdoor Life Magazine ranked Pinedale #2 in the top 200 destinations for true American sportsmen. Around 300 different species of birds also live in this area, and the innumerable lakes and streams are home to cutthroat, rainbow, brown, Mackinaw, brook, and the elusive and spectacular Golden Trout. The Green River gets its start here, and our over 1,500 alpine lakes provide fishermen unique backcountry fishing experiences.
Cirque of the Towers, located in the southern end of the range, boasts hundreds of pristine granite climbs in one central area. The Continental Divide follows the crest of the main peaks forming this bowl, and the Cirque boasts two climbs in Fifty Classic Climbs in North America by Steve Roper and Allen Steck. Climbing Magazine has featured various climbs in this area nearly a half-dozen times. Appealing to backpackers as well, the Cirque is easily accessed in under 9 miles of hiking, affording views and fishing for those not wanting to ascend its rocky faces.
The Wyoming Range lies on the Southwestern slopes of Pinedale, and is lush with forested vegetation and wildlife, and is a popular destination for hikers, hunters, and fishermen who wish for easier accessibility to more remote mountain destinations. Although it is not as rugged as the neighboring Wind River Range, its near 80-mile length is home to a number of peaks over 10,000 feet, trail networks including the Wyoming Range National Recreation Trail, and mountain biking, which is not available in the Wind Rivers.
In the winter, the terrain is perfect for snowmobiling. The Wyoming Range trails have been ranked within the top ten best trail systems in western states since 2000 by SnoWest magazine readers. Over 300 miles of terrain can be accessed in the Wyoming Range in the winter, many of which are consistently over 10,000 feet, providing pristine views of the snow-cloaked peaks in this area. In the greater Pinedale area, snowmachining enthusiasts have access to over 3 million acres of groomed and untouched powder trails.
Gros Ventre Range
Over 300,000 acres of tranquil wilderness.
The Gros Ventre Range encompasses Pinedale’s Northwestern side, and boasts a range of topography from meadows at 7,000 feet to rocky cliff-bands towering 11,000 feet overhead. Spectacular geological features speak of the past in this range, which is 280 million years older than the neighboring Tetons.
The hunting and fishing in the Gros Ventre Range is superb for sportsmen seeking solitude. Bordered by the headwaters of the Gros Ventre River, the Green River, and the Hoback and Snake Rivers, as well as the National Elk Refuge, this area is an important habitat for a variety of wildlife, from Grizzly Bears to Trumpeter Swans. The Gros Ventre Range appeals to those looking to get away from the hustle of the nearby Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. With over 250 miles of trails, outdoor enthusiasts can easily immerse in the wide-ranging topography of this quiet area. Many outfitters provide horseback trips and hunting guides for this area.