Middle Fork Loop
- 5 days of hiking in "The Winds"
- Rejuvenating solitude and scenery
- Day hike into a stunning mountain cirque
- Pristine campsites
- Fantastically vivid night skies
- Exceptional backcountry cuisine
- Great fishing if applicable
This 5-day/4-night llama-supported trek is an amazing way to experience the backcountry of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Our focus is the high mountain lakes, rivers, and meadows of the vast and scenic Wind River Range south of Yellowstone National Park. This is world-class hiking and fishing country; for those interested, every camp provides the opportunity for fantastic trout fishing!
Leaving from Jackson Hole, we'll shuttle to our trailhead and begin our adventure. Our route takes us from one pristine mountain lake to another, strung together by valleys and rivers that run along the western spine of the Continental Divide. Our camps are in perfect locations next to lakes, at the edge of meadows, and near rivers and creeks. The night sky from these remote mountains is an amazing sight to behold!
The Wildland Trekking Company operates under a permit issued by the Bridger-Teton National Forest, and is an equal opportunity employer.
Trip Dates & Booking
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We may be able to add new trip dates.
- Shuttle to Trailhead: 1.5 hours
- Hiking Mileage: 6 miles
- Elevation Gain: 1600 feet
This Wind River Range Llama Trek begins in Jackson Hole, Wyoming where we'll pick you up at your hotel for transport to the trailhead. Our hike takes us by a plethora of lakes and creeks, including the scenic Toboggan Lakes and Little Divide Lake, which is a stunning body of water surrounded by open parklands. Throughout the day the jagged peaks of the Continental Divide frame our eastern horizon, providing a backdrop like no other for our first day in the mountains! Our camp is near the shores of Little Divide Lake, where your guide will prepare a hearty and delicious dinner to celebrate our first night.
- Hiking Mileage: 6 miles
- Elevation Gain: 250 feet
We'll have a relaxing morning and big breakfast before breaking down camp. Then it's back on the trail for an extraordinary day of hiking! Today's hike leads us beneath Dragonhead Peak (12,205 feet) and much closer to the serrated, 12,000+ foot ridge of the Continental Divide. We'll pass Lightning Lakes, Crescent Lake and Dream Lake as well, each one a worthy destination in and of itself. Tonight's camp is on the shores of Sandpoint Lake, a serene setting tucked beneath the towering summits of the Divide.
- Hiking Mileage: 8 miles
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 450 feet
Today is a layover day to spend as you wish. Your guide will lead those interested on a day hike to Middle Fork Lake, the namesake of this trip. Middle Fork is one of the most picturesque lakes in the Wind River Range. It lies in a cirque beneath the Continental Divide and is surrounded by giant, granite cliffs. Snow fields line the creases of the granite walls, and the water in the lake is a deep blue that often reflects the sky with near perfect clarity.
Other options besides hiking today include world-class fishing in the nearby lakes, shorter walks near camp, and/or just relaxing and enjoying this extraordinary place.
- Hiking Mileage: 4 miles
- Elevation Loss: 300 feet
Today is a fun one that includes off-trail hiking and more beautiful scenery. We'll hike past more lakes, including beautiful Junction Lake, then break off trail and head through virgin country to the confluence of the Middle Fork and South Fork of Boulder Creek. We'll set up camp in a quiet, serene meadow at the junction of these creeks. The junction of these two creeks provides an excellent opportunity for trout fishing.
- Hiking Mileage: 8 miles
- Elevation Loss: 1450 feet
- Shuttle to Jackson Hole: 1.5 hours
This morning is all about appreciating the journey we've been on for the past four days. We'll prepare a great breakfast while the fishermen in the group have one more opportunity to wet a line before we head out. Our final hike continues off trail to Lightning Lakes, where we'll link back up with the trail and follow it back to our trailhead. Then it's a relatively short shuttle back to Jackson Hole where it's off to much-deserved showers!
Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes.
- Pack llamas to transport the majority of gear and food and a dedicated llama handler
- One or more professional, knowledgeable, certified Wind River hiking guides (max guest to guide ratio is 6:1, not including the llama handler)
- Top-of-the-line tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and technical backpack
- Use of trekking poles
- All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
- Roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Jackson, Wyoming to the trailhead and back
- Bear safety equipment including bear spray cannisters and food-hanging gear
- Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
- You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and your kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!
- Clothes, raingear, and footwear (Oboz hiking shoes and boots recommended)
- Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
- Waterbottles and a headlamp or flashlight
- Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-15% of trip cost)
All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.
For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.
We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.
We provide all group gear which includes the following:
- Deuter or Osprey backpacks
- Sierra Designs or Mountain Hardware tents
- Sierra Designs sleeping bags
- Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
- Leki trekking poles
- Mountain Safety Research cooking stoves
- Mountain Safety Research cookware
- Bear spray cannisters and food-hanging gear
- Company-issued first-aid kit
- Emergency communication device(s)
We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are two 1-liter waterbottles per person, either a headlamp or flashlight per person, and a lightweight waterproof stuff sac for your clothes and belongings. Basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.
Please refer to the trip packet for a recommended clothing list (we email you a detailed trip packet when you inquire and when you register). All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, and non-cotton clothing layers. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.
NOTE: See the Packing Lists page for more detailed information on what clothes and gear to bring on your hiking tour. The trip packet you receive when you contact us will have the most accurate clothing and gear list for the tour you're interested in.
You'll meet your hiking guide and group at predetermined hotel in Jackson, Wyoming for an orientation meeting at 6:00 PM the evening before the trip begins. The next morning we'll pick you up at your hotel for transport to the trailhead.
Check out our Travel Resources page for information on flights, shuttles, discounted lodging and more.
Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional Wyoming hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT's, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We've developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and most tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.
Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with solid guiding backgrounds, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, training in llama-handling, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.
The standard ratio of guests to guides on llama trips is 1 guide for 1-4 guests; 2 guides for 5-8 guests; and 3 guides for 9-10 guests. Private trips can have can have up to 12 guests. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) and we'll answer all your questions.
Ideally you desire to be on a trip with llamas, by this we mean that a trip with stock animals is different than a backpacking trip in many ways. One big difference is that it takes time for your guide to get all the animals loaded and ready to go in the morning and to unload gear and care for them once we arrive in camp. Also the pace of a llama trip can be a bit slower than you would walk without a pack and you’ll be expected to hike with the group.
On a llama trip the animals tend to take on a focus of the trip. These trips are most rewarding when the clients want to interact with and help out with caring for the llamas. The tradeoff for not having to carry a large backpack is that llamas do require extra work from their guide/handlers. If you are choosing a llama trip solely on the basis of not having to carry a backpack and do not wish to interact with a llama, you need to speak honestly with your Adventure Consultant about this and potentially add another Wildland Guide to your trip to cover the extra workload of caring for the llamas.
Being a Northern mountain environment, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is prone to sudden temperature and weather shifts. This is an exciting aspect of being in Wyoming's mountains. On trips in June, snow is a slight possibility, and the rest of the summer you're likely to get rained on at least once during your trip. To be fully prepared, please follow the recommended clothing list closely (this list comes as part of your trip packet when you register). See below for average summer temperatures around Yellowstone:
|Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)|
Sleeping on this trip is in premier 1-person, 2-person or 4-person backcountry tents. Solo travelers, and anyone else who requests it, are issued single tents. Top-of-the-line self-inflating sleeping pads and sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided.
Fresh & Delicious
Meals from breakfast Day 1 through lunch the last day are fully included and prepared by your guide. We never use dehydrated backpacking meals, instead serving freshly prepared, delicious backcountry cuisine made with a variety of common and specialty ingredients that travel well in the wilderness.
In the Action
Of course campsites vary tremendously by destination, trip and even by the individual day of a trip. However, you can expect to camp in beautiful areas that put you right in the action to make the most of your backpacking adventure. We carefully design our itineraries with campsites in mind.