Explore and learn about Wyoming with summer group outings
This year my recreation resolution is to get out and explore more of Wyoming. My summer check list includes hikes in the Big Horns and both ends of the Wind River Range But those are just the areas I know I want to explore. I’m often amazed at the vast opportunities for recreation that span the state and sometimes am unsure of even where to start when plotting a venture into a new area, allowing instead favorite trails and mountain ranges to lure me back. This year I vowed to get out of the car in the beautiful areas I see when driving across the state.
To help plan your summer adventure, check out the organized outings by groups like the Wyoming Wilderness Association, the Wyoming Outdoor Council, the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance and the Wyoming Association of Churches. These are opportunities to not just take a trail in a new area, but to also learn something about the landscape and wildlife.
The Wyoming Wilderness Association has offered group outings since 2004, said Jennie Trefren, the BLM outreach coordinator with the organization. Each year the organization has expanded the line-up to meet increased demand.
The group picks areas that highlite the natural beauty of Wyoming, but also show the importance of protecting wild lands.
“It’s one way to draw awareness of these areas that is also very fun,” she said.
The goal is to get people out in areas they might see from the car window, like the badlands of Dubois, and enjoying what makes Wyoming special.
The organization’s outings are more than just hikes. Some are stewardship projects to foster a sense of ownership in the land. Others teach skills, like fly fishing, or this year’s new yoga on the Oregon Buttes.
It’s a chance to see wildlife, learn backcountry skills and even study archaeological sites.
The Wyoming Association of Churches, with the Wyomng Outdoor Council is offering excursions to the Red Desert. If you think of deserts as desolate and lifeless, you havn’t visted Wyoming’s Red Desert. The free outings will showcase the diverse ecology, geography and human and natural history of the area.
So check out the options below, mark your calendars and hit the trails.
Wyoming Wilderness Association Outings
Friday, May 31 through Saturday, June 8
Doug Lorain Statewide Tour
Kicking off the Hiking Season: Special workshops and hikes with hiking book guru, Doug Lorain, author of “Backpacking Wyoming”. WWA is sponsoring a statewide tour where Doug will share his recommendations for the best outdoor trips from the hundreds of hikes and backpacking excursions he has taken throughout Wyoming. All events are FREE.
Sheridan: Friday, May 31, 5:00-7:00pm, presentation at Solitude Clothing and Mountaineering, 38 S. Main St 2. Saturday, June 1, 9:00am, 6-mile roundtrip hike in Rock Creek recommended wilderness. (difficult)
Casper: Sunday, June 2, 4:00-6:00pm, presentation at Mountain Sports, 543 So. Center St.
Lander: Monday, June 3, 5:00-7:00pm, presentation at Main St. Books, 300 Main St.
Cody: Tuesday, June 4, 5:00-7:00pm, presentation at Sunlight Sports, 1131 Sheridan Ave.
3. Wednesday, June 5, 8:00am, 5-mile roundtrip hike into the Trout Creek roadless area. (difficult)
Jackson: Friday, June 7, 7:00-9:00pm, presentation at the Old Wilson Schoolhouse
4. Saturday, June 8, 8:00 am, 6-mile roundtrip hike on Cabin Creek Trail in the Palisades Wilderness Area. (difficult)
Saturday—Sunday, June 1-2
Dubois Badlands Stewardship Day (moderate)
Join facilitators, Jared Oakleaf and Brandon Thielke for trash and wildlife waste clean-up in the Dubois Badlands WSA. Presentation and dialogue with law enforcement officer, Tom, regarding stewardship followed by the clean-up. On Sunday, join Friends of the Dubois Badlands for a 3-mile hike led by local experts Bruce Thompson and Meredith Taylor focusing on the flora, fauna and geology of the area..
Wednesday, June 19
Bridger-Teton NF, Palisades WSA, Wolverines and Climate Change (difficult)
Join wolverine experts, Jason Wilmot, Executive Director of the Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative, and Renee Seidler, Field Biologist for the Wildlife Conservation Society on this strenuous high-elevation hike to learn about wolverines, their habitat and how the changing climate is affecting this wilderness-dependent species.
Saturday, June 22
Bighorn NF, Rock Creek Recommended Wilderness, Gilead Fire Regeneration and Flower Hike (difficult)
Join BNF Forester, Tony Saba and Sheridan College Professor and Biologist, Ami Erikson for a tour of the first season of new life in the Rock Creek Recommended Wilderness after last summer’s Gilead Fire scored a mosaic burn in the canyon and parks of this special area. Be sure to pack your camera to record a living example of a most natural process of nature. 6 miles roundtrip.
Saturday June 22
Shoshone NF, Wood River Horseback Ride (difficult, intended for backcountry/ experienced horse and riders only)
Barry Reiswig, WWA Governing Council member will lead riders on a horseback tour of the Dick Creek Lakes area up the Wood River, to explore an important backcountry area. Riders can expect spectacular views of the Wood River and Franc’s Peak roadless areas. Participants must provide own experienced horse, well-trained for backcountry riding. Rentals may be available.
Saturday-Sunday, June 29-30
Bighorn NF, Rock Creek Recommended Wilderness, Wildflower Painter’s Weekend (easy)
WWA and SAGE (Sheridan Artists Guild Et al) are partnering up to host Joan Hoffmann, extraordinary oil and watercolor artist from Colorado and Vermont, and Kathryn Turner, award winning native Jackson Hole plein air painter in a 2-day painting workshop working in the Rock Creek area, painting vistas at two historic guest ranches—THE HF BAR RANCH AND PARADISE GUEST RANCH—both located near Buffalo, Wyoming. Artists will travel on Saturday to the HF Bar Ranch, then on Sunday to Paradise Guest Ranch to paint under the guidance of these two extraordinary artists. Both ranches border the amazing Rock Creek recommended wilderness area. $40.00/day fee includes lunch at each ranch. Examples of the artist’s work and info available on their web sites: http://www.joanhoffmann.com and http://www.turnerfineart.com
Saturday, June 29th, HF Bar Ranch painting with views of Rock Creek from the East Face.
Sunday, June 30th, Paradise Guest Ranch painting the world famous Fan Rock and other Rock Creek views. OPTIONAL: Some folks will camp out near Hunter Corrals the night of the 29th. All participants are welcome to join in the campfire fun, but you’ll need to bring your own camp set up and food.
Saturday, June 29
BLM, Sweetwater Canyon Women’s Fishing Outing (moderate)
Join local fishing guide, George Hunker, at 7:00am to receive instruction and the opportunity to fish one of the most magnificent waterways in Wyoming. Equipment and transportation provided. Limited to 6 participants.
Sunday, July 7
Bridger-Teton NF, Gros Ventre Wilderness, Climate Change and Cougar Biology Family Hike (moderately difficult)
Linda Merigliano, the BTNF’s Recreation/Wilderness Program Manager and Marilyn Cuthill, Craighead Beringia South cougar biologist and educator, will lead this 6-mile roundtrip day hike to beautiful Goodwin Lake in the Gros Ventre Wilderness. We will learn about wilderness stewardship, cougar ecology and the impact of climate change on our wild public lands. (Not recommended for children under the age of 9.)
Saturday, July 27—Wednesday, July 31
Shoshone NF, Trout Creek Fence Removal Project, Phase Two (hard work & difficult)
Join WWA for a 5-day collaborative stewardship project with the US Forest Service and the Backcountry Horsemen, removing barbed wire fence in the Trout Creek roadless area northwest of Cody.
2013 is the second year and Phase Two of a much-needed project enhancing wildlife corridors and backcountry recreation in this beautiful area. This is a strenuous outing with a work purpose, so participants should be prepared to spend a full day backpacking or riding in to the location, 3 days on-site working and a full day to return. The spectacular views, camaraderie and fulfilling work will be worth the extra effort!
Saturday, July 27
Bighorn NF, Rock Creek Ranch-to-Ranch Picnic Outing (difficult)
Spend a full day with HF Bar Ranch owners, Margi Schroth, (also WWA board member) and Lily Bliss following a 10-mile FS trail from Paradise Guest Ranch to the HF Bar Ranch through wide alpine meadows overlooking the Ant Hill, Seven Brothers and Cloud Peak, taking time to view alpine wildflowers and mountain birds and some of the most intriguing Rock Creek scenery. The finish follows the South Fork of Rock Creek down through a deeply cut canyon that will take you through over 30 million years of geological uplift and lots of tempting swimming holes along the way.
Saturday, August 3
Shoshone NF, North Fork, Grizzly Bear Ecology Tour (difficult)
Join Chuck Neal, retired U.S. Dept. of the Interior ecologist on a five-mile hike into grizzly bear country and learn from Chuck, who calls himself “a student of grizzlies and their habitat for 30 years”. This popular, annual adventure fills fast and provides an amazing all-day expedition into a Shoshone roadless area. The first half of the trip is a steep uphill climb at Chuck’s monumentally fast pace, then be ready to learn about the ecology and biology of grizzlies.
Saturday, August 10
Bighorn NF, Devil Canyon Roadless Area (difficult)
Jack Smith, life-long trekker and environmental scientist, leads this hike into the wild north of the Bighorn National Forest. The Devil Canyon roadless area boasts of thirty four thousand acres of undeveloped and primitive land in a landscape unique to the west slope of the Big Horn Mountains. Primitive trails and steep slopes throughout approximately eight miles roundtrip. Camping available on first-come basis at Porcupine Creek Campground; must bring own gear and food.
Saturday, August 17
Bighorn NF, Rock Creek Recommended Wilderness Family Hike (easy)
This family (children welcome) and elder venture will introduce you to the Rock Creek area, walking over rolling hills along the base of Rock Creek and into the South Fork Canyon. Total distance is 2-3 miles round trip over unsteady earth. Children must be attended by adults. Slow pace assured and all ages welcome.
Saturday, September 7
Shoshone NF, DuNoir via Bonneville Pass, Picnic on the Pass (moderate)
Join Dick and Judy Inberg on a 6-mile, roundtrip, hike which will bring participants to the top of Bonneville Pass overlooking the DuNoir recommended wilderness area. With early autumn colors, hikers will see spectacular views of the volcanic cliffs and the meadows at the top of the pass and enjoy a picnic.
Saturday, August 10
BLM, Oregon Buttes, Red Desert Yoga Hike
Hike to the Oregon Buttes in the northern Red Desert for an afternoon Kundalini yoga session with facilitator, Annie Reber.
Wyoming Outdoor Council
Friday, June 28
McDougal Gap hike in the Wyoming Range
Check out stunning views of the Wyoming Range on this short day hike that leaves at a to-be-determined time. This hike takes place in the 44,720 acres threated by oil and gas development in the Wyoming Range.
Saturday, July 20
Lookout Mountain hike in the Wyoming Range
Hike the northern portion of the the 44,720 acres of the Wyoming Range threatened by oil and gas development with a trip to the top of Lookout Mountain. Meet at Daniel Junction gas station and drive out Horse Creek Road to the Lookout Mountain trail head.
Visit www.wyomingrange.org for more information and to sign up.
Wyoming Outdoor Council with the Wyoming Association of Churches
Saturday, June 1 and July 6
Red Desert day trips
Visit some of the Red Desert’s most famous features, like the Oregon Buttes, Honeycomb, Alkalai RIm, Boar’s Tusk and sand dunes on this excursion that starts about 8 a.m. leaving from a rest area about 40 miles south of Lander near the Sweetwater River and ends around 6 p.m. Vehicles need high clearance and you should wear good shoes for several walking opportunities at various stops. For more information, or to register, call Julia Stubble at 307-332-7031 or email email@example.com.
Biodiversity Conservation Alliance
Saturday June 1 – Sunday June 2
Jack Morrow Hills Tour
Camp in the Northern Red Desert and enjoy hiking and visiting features like petroglyphs, dunes, The Boar’s Tusk, The Pinnacles, Honeycomb Buttes and Steamboat Mountain.
Saturday June 8
Adobe Town Tour
A day trip to Adobe Town with short hikes to an overlook on the Skull Creek Rim as well as a loop hike among the spires and arches of the Adobe Town Rim.
Saturday June 15 – 16
Powder Rim Tour
A two-day adventure with camping along the high divide at the southern end of the Red Desert, visiting important big game migration corridors and juniper woodlands rich with bird life seldom seen in Wyoming.
Saturday June 22 – June 23
Red Creek Badlands
A two-day trip with camping visiting overlooks of the crimson-banded badlands of a potential wilderness to the east of Flaming Gorge Reservoir, as well as a short day hike in the Tepee Mountains.
Saturday June 29 – June 30
Ferris Mountains and Dunes trip
A two-day trip to Wyoming’s wildest and most pristine mountain range, at the northeastern edge of the red Desert, with a foray to the dune fields at its base.
Saturday, June 15
East Fork hike
Hike into this area of premier grizzly bear habitat on the Shoshone National Forest with a local grizzly bear researcher. Moderate to strenuous hike with some steep sections, about 6 miles round trip.
Saturday, July 20
Gros Ventre hike
Hike into this spectacular valley, investigate two elk feed grounds and discuss efforts to phase out the feed grounds. Easy hiking terrain, about 4 miles round trip.
Saturday, August 3
Palisades Wilderness Study Area hike
To get a nice overview of the area, we’ll hike up to the Red Creek overlook, and discuss WSA management and the proposed Palisades fuel reduction project in particular. Moderate terrain, about 8 miles round trip.
Saturday Aug. 10-11
Wyoming Range hiking and camping weekend
Hike and explore the heart of the Wyoming Range, and visit areas where the oil and gas leasing is under review. Day hikes on Saturday and Sunday, barbecue and car camping on Saturday night.
— “Peaks to Plains” is a blog focusing on Wyoming’s outdoors and communities. Kelsey Dayton is a freelance writer based in Lander. She has been a journalist in Wyoming for seven years, reporting for the Jackson Hole News & Guide, Casper Star-Tribune and the Gillette News-Record. Contact Kelsey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follower her on twitter @Kelsey_Dayton
If you enjoyed this story and would like to see more quality Wyoming journalism, please consider supporting WyoFile: a non-partisan, non-profit news organization dedicated to in-depth reporting on Wyoming’s people, places and policy.