What to Expect in the Wilderness

 Seasons and Weather

Winter-like conditions dominate the Bridger Wilderness for a majority of the year.  On average, high country trails are snow covered until early-mid July.  Trails are very wet in July, so be prepared.  Stream runoff peaks in June and high water levels continue into July and many of the larger streams in the Bridger Wilderness are not bridged.  Good weather usually continues into September, however nighttime temperatures consistently fall below freezing and the potential increases for snowfall.  October marks the end for fall conditions as snowstorms become more frequent and the snow begins to accumulate for the winter.  There is a potential for snow at anytime in the Bridger Wilderness.  Typically, June is the wettest summer month with numerous rainstorms.  July and August tend to be drier and warmer, during these two months afternoon thundershowers are typical.  Summertime highs fall between 65-85 degrees and lows are usually around 30-40.  Expect cooler temperatures after August.

 

Bear Awareness

The Bridger Wilderness is bear country. Please click here to learn about proper attractant storage and practices while camping and traveling in bear habitat.

 

Cell Phone Use

Cell phone use is very limited in the Bridger Wilderness and there are many areas where a signal cannot be obtained.  Be prepared for emergencies in case you can’t get a signal.

 

Altitude

The Bridger Wilderness is a high elevation area with most areas exceeding 10,000 feet.  Avoid the potentially harmful effects of high altitude by taking some time to acclimatize. 

 

Backcountry water

Water is plentiful in the Wind River backcountry.  While it looks clean and pure, it may contain harmful microorganisms, such as giardia, that can make you very sick.  Treat your water by using a filter, boiling for five minutes, or use iodine tablets.

 

Lightning

Lightning strikes frequently in the Bridger Wilderness high country.  Keep an eye to the sky and beware of the summer afternoon thundershowers.  In a lightning storm, avoid mountain passes, ridges, open areas (i.e. meadows), lone trees and mountain peaks. 

 

Domestic Grazing

National Forests were established to provide a variety of uses for the American people.  In order to make Wilderness a reality on National Forests, the Act had to contain provisions that allowed certain uses to continue in designated Wilderness, such as grazing.  Domestic sheep and cattle grazing occur in some areas of the Bridger Wilderness.  The Forest Service requires strict grazing practices to minimize resource impacts and interference with other visitors.  For information on grazing allotment locations and utilization dates, contact the Pinedale Ranger District.

 

Fall Hunting

Fall big game hunting is a popular activity in the Bridger Wilderness.  Hunting activity begins in September and continues on into October.  For information on hunt area opening dates contact the Pinedale Ranger District.  If you are traveling through the Wilderness during this time, wear an orange article of clothing or place orange flagging on your pack.