Hello board, im new here as well as to the world of backpacking, i have been in love with the outdoors my whole life and have always hunted, fished, hiked, and camped. Im looking to broaden my horizons a bit and do some serious backpacking. I am looking for suggestions of places to go (ie. trail heads, sight seeing, locations in general) in the wyoming area. I am thinking the bighorns, not really sure where or what part but i have drivin through there and like the area. i plan on being out 3-5 days with about 4 guys, we are young and acitve and pretty outdoor savy. Ideally i would like one location that will take up that time, provide a bit of a challenge and not be to overly popular or crowded. i have looked in the cloud peak area but it seems pretty strict on rules, such as camp fires, and things like that. any suggestions would help greatly or anyone or any sites, or phone numbers, would help as well. thanks a ton and i look forward to hearing from all of you.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
You'll find that any areas in the Rockies, or out here in the Cascades or Sierra, area strict about campfires. They are usually forbidden near or above timberline where the wood supply is scarce or nonexistent and where scars can take a lifetime to heal. They are also forbidden at any altitude in times of high fire danger, which often happens in late summer. I suggest you bring a stove (either buy a canister stove or make your own alcohol stove) for cooking and consider a campfire a luxury to be used only when appropriate--at lower altitudes in pre-existing fire rings and where there is plenty of dead and down wood available. All wilderness areas have rules about party size and about camping so many hundred feet away from trails and water sources. (Note that each wilderness area may have different rules.) They all require that you dig catholes well away from water for potty purposes, that you pack out all your trash and garbage including toilet paper, that you not cut green trees or cut down snags. The purpose of these restrictions is to preserve the wilderness for the next generation of backpackers. If you don't like these restrictions, I suggest you find a place other than the western mountains where the environment is a bit less fragile.
Also, if you're going to the Rockies, give yourselves extra time to acclimatize to the altitude. Either plan very short days, with no more than 1,000 ft. elevation gain per day, for the first 3-4 days, or spend a few days before your trip camping at lower elevations and hiking higher up during the daytime.
For online research, start with the websites for national forests (fs.fed.us) and national parks (nps.gov). Google is your friend.
Edited by OregonMouse (02/10/0912:45 AM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
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