Backpack the Medicine Bow Peak Trail in the Snowy Range Mountains
Rate this Adventure Wyoming › Lake Marie Trailhead
Added by Grant Whitty
The Snowy Range is home to jagged peaks, panoramic ridge views, alpine lakes, wildflowers and cold temperatures. The Range is commonly used by day hikers, but rarely overnight backpackers.
Take the Snowy Range Scenic Byway to Lake Marie trail head. Lake Marie trail head is the farthest west trailhead and parking area in the immediate Snowy Range Area.
Parking in the lot there. I went on a Friday evening and there was one vehicle there. Double check you gear and tighten your hiking boots.
From the trail head head north east to a paved asphalt trail. This trail connects to one of the other parking areas. When you get to the second parking area you will see a cul-de-sac of picnic areas. Continue around the circle to the trail which is marked with a wooden sign.
This is the real beginning of the trail, there is no more pavement after this point. As you ascend you will first see two large lakes to your left. Continue past those for about a mile or two.
Soon you will come over a gradual ridge and see a few small lakes. You want the first one you see on the left, closest to the trail. There is one further down the trail that is closer to the saddle you will reach the next day, you don't want to camp there.
Walk of the trail to the left and towards the first unnamed lake. Between the trail and the lake, there are a few tiny flat spots. Look for an old fire ring made from rocks. Set up camp around here, use your judgment. Practice Leave No Trace and stay about 200- 300 feet away from the water/ trail.
The next morning continue up the trail to saddle. When you reach the saddle, there will be a big sign for the trail. Take the trail switchbacking to the ridge above you to the north.
After the switchbacks, the trail will gradually ascend towards the summit of Medicine Bow Peak (12,014'). You will come to a quick scramble towards the top and reach the summit.
Spend some time on the summit and then work your way back down. From here you can either go back the way you came or (what we did) continue the loop back around to the parking lot where you will park.
The rest of the trail down from the summit goes on the north side of the ridge, which is drastically different and more mellow than the south side you just came up. After the summit it is a very easy hike down. Depending on your speed down it should take about an hour and a half to two hours to get down from the summit if you follow the loop.
- Overnight Backpack (I use a 60L Osprey)
- Backcountry Stove
- Bear Storage for Food (Only Black Bears in the Snowy Range)
- 20-30 Degree Sleeping Bag (It gets cold year-round here)
- Sleeping Pad
- Camera, Wide Angle, Tripod, Filters
- Layers Layers Layers
- Hiking Boots
- Peanut Butter :)
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Photography
Are we missing something?Suggest an edit
ReviewsLeave a Review
Have you done this adventure? Have something to add? You could be the first to leave a review!
More Adventures Nearby
Hike to Avalanche Peak
Wyoming / Avalanche Peak Trailhead
Avalanche Peak is a short hike up to one of few peaks in Yellowstone National Park accessible by trail. At about 870 feet per mile it’s a leg buster.
Photograph the Elusive Beehive Geyser
Wyoming / Beehive Geyser
Located in the Upper Geyser Basin along the banks of the Firehole River is the world famous Old Faithful geyser which is typically seen as a "must do" on any trip to Yellowstone National Park.