Backpack Square Top Mountain

Rate this Adventure 15 miles 2400 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Jake Hougaard

Lose yourself in the serene, captivating power of the landscape with light blue glacial rivers and lakes and fishing near your campground and at Granite Lake.

You have two options when starting from Green River Lakes Campground, located 52 miles north of Pinedale, WY, (21 of these miles are on a washboard dirt road). The first option is to start backpacking from the campground and follow the trail that runs alongside the first lake, up the river and past the second lake. The second option is to canoe across two of these incredible, glacial water Green River Lakes, and pull these canoes up part of the river that runs between the lakes. The second option takes a lot less time and is perhaps even more beautiful than backpacking the trail.

At the end of the second lake, the trail runs close to the river and has a few good areas to set up and camp for the night. From there, backpack up the mostly flat trail for about 6 miles towards the mountain, hiking along the river. There is lots of wildlife in the area, and with the mountains to either side, your surroundings will captivate you until you reach a bridge to cross onto the other side of the Green River. There are more places to camp in a meadow there.

From there you begin the tough hike up to Granite Lake, with a gain of roughly 1300 feet in elevation in under a mile. This takes about an hour to an hour and a half traveling at a steady pace. From Granite Lake, the trail to the peak of Square Top gets steep and tough, but is still manageable and well worth the view. Part of the hike requires crossing and climbing a rock field that isn't too steep, but it becomes easy to lose the trail so stay aware of the markers that guide you back to the trail after the field.

To the summit from Granite Lake takes 3-4 hours and the view is breathtakingly incredible. It is occasionally hard to find the trail if there is still a lot of snow, but there are a lot of ways to make it up, it's just a little bit harder without the trail. To reach the face that you saw as you hiked in takes about 15 minutes walking across the top, and it really is mostly flat on top.

The hike down requires care because of the steepness. Also, it can get stormy in the afternoon, so be careful not to get stuck up on the mountain late in the day, because the clouds come in and cover everything in front of you. It is not advised to backpack up to Granite Lake with just a day pack, due to the strenuousness.

You can hide your fishing gear at Granite Lake so that on your way back down from the peak of Square Top, you can fish for a few hours and still make it back to camp before sundown. While the fishing is good up there, it is probably not worth the hike in if you're only going to fish.

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Tags

Camping
Fishing
Photography
Kayaking
Backpacking
Hiking
Lake
River
Scenic
Wildlife

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