Summit a Wyoming 13'er, Cloud Peak

Wyoming West Tensleep Trailhead

Added by Ryan Manuel

  • Avoid the crowds and get amazing views from atop Cloud Peak
  • This trek is 23 miles Round Trip
  • 4000+ Elevation Gain/Loss
  • Duration: 1-3 Days

Although there is more than one way to access the peak, the most commonly used route begins at the West Tensleep Trailhead & Campground (44.258019, -107.215344) (Elevation: 9101 ft.) The trailhead can be reached from Buffalo, WY. Heading Southwest on Cloud Peak Scenic Byway (HWY 16) turn left onto Forest Road 27 at Deer Haven Lodge. Follow Forest Road 27 for about 9 miles to the trailhead and free parking area. The backcountry permit box can be found at the trailhead.

Begin the hike on Mistymoon Lake Trail #063 around the banks of West Tensleep Lake to a short ‘rock hop’ stream crossing. Follow the trail for 6.5 miles, passing Helen and Marion lakes and arriving at Mistymoon Lake (44.341909, -107.173955) Elevation: 10,240 ft. Follow the trail to the left around Mistymoon Lake to the Lake Solitude trail #038 junction. Follow trail #308 until just before the Paint Rock Creek drainage on the North side of the trail, where you will rely on rock cairns for the remainder of the climb until reaching the Cloud Peak Summit (44.382188, -107.173955) (Elevation: 13,179 ft.)

The trek is most enjoyable if you hike to Mistymoon Lake and camp on the north ridge above for a great sunset and sunrise. Day 2 traverse up to Cloud Peak in time for lunch and photos. Then head back down for another relaxing evening at Mistymoon. Day 3 hike from Mistymoon back to the trailhead. However, if you’re an experienced trailrunner/hiker, pack light and you can manage the entire 23 miles in a day!

This trip is well worth it if you enjoy avoiding crowds, captivating peaks, and glaciated lakes above treeline!

Cloud Peak (44.382188, -107.173955) Elevation: 13179 ft.

Mistymoon Lake (44.341909, -107.213678) Elevation: 10240 ft.

West Tensleep Campground (44.258019, -107.215344) Elevation: 9101 ft.

Pack List

  • 10 Essentials:
  • (Navigation) Topographic map (NatGeo Map 720) and assorted maps in waterproof container plus a magnetic compass, optional altimeter or GPS receiver.
  • (Sun Protection) Sunglasses, sunscreen for lips and skin, hat, clothing for sun protection.
  • (Insulation) Hat, gloves, jacket, extra clothing for coldest possible weather during current season.
  • (Illumination) Headlamp, flashlight, batteries.
  • (First-Aid Supplies), including insect repellent.
  • (Fire) Butane lighter, matches in waterproof container. Campfires are prohibited and pack stoves are required.
  • (Repair Kit and Tools) Knife or multi-tool, trowel/shovel, duct tape, cable ties.
  • (Nutrition) Add extra food for one additional day (for emergency). Dry food is preferred to save weight and usually needs water.
  • (Hydration) Add extra 2 liters of water for one additional day (for emergency) or Waterfilter
  • (Emergency Shelter) Tarp, bivy bag, tent, etc. insulated sleeping pad & bag.
  • A Camera!
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Activities:

Backpacking, Camping, Photography

Skill Level:

Intermediate

Season:

Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

23 Miles

Elev. Gain:

4000 Feet

Rating:

Features:

Forest
Lake
Scenic

Are we missing something?

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How to Get There

4 months ago

Fun but long and a little vague

I day hiked this in mid-July and it was great. While it is hot in the bighorn basin it was a great temperature around the lakes. I needed a coat for the finish of the summit even though I was moving fast because of high winds. The first 7 miles are pretty straightforward but once getting onto the Solitude trail, you should lookout for the trail to Cloud Peak right after passing the lake. I overshot it by about a mile and had to follow the Paint Rock river back to the trail, but was able to follow it after that. Basically head down into the drainage as soon as possible and you will find a trail leading you up the other end and onto the ridge.

4 months ago

6 months ago

Cloud Peak

I'm about to hit up the mountain this week. Thanks for the tips!

6 months ago

7 months ago

Cloud Peak

Very good description and explanation of the Cloud Peak adventure! I did this trek last summer and hope to do it again this summer.

7 months ago

over 2 years ago

In my next life I'm thinking about coming back as you!

over 2 years ago

Added by Ryan Manuel

Don't name your days. Live them.
 Backcountry Biologist
 Wildland Firefighter

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