Wind River Range, Wyoming Backpack
Our destination was Bomber Lake via the Glacier Trail/Bomber Lake Trail. This somewhat obscure trail generally follows Torrey Creek south through a valley, then narrows to a canyon before reaching the lake at approximately 8.5 miles. There were only about 15 cars at the trailhead. There were no bugs and the weather was clear. We started a climb up Whiskey Mountain and crossed a roaring Torrey Creek on a nice wooden bridge. The trail immediately gave way to spectacular scenery as we followed a valley and Torrey Creek towards Bomber Falls. We hiked in and out of conifer and through large meadows with mountains and cliffs to either side. We came to what I called the Dismal Forest because the trail was very faint or non-existent at times. We kind of wondered in a southerly direction through the forest until we came out into a meadow. Bomber Falls could be seen in the distance. I caught a small Garter snake which was blocking the trail, then let him go in the rocks.
Upon arrival, the falls are about 600 ft high and are hard to see. A tricky boulder scramble off the trail could get you some good views of the falls. But we decided against it and made a hard climb (600 ft in .5 miles) around the falls and broke out on top to a wonderful view of the valley. A short descent put us at our first campsite. We hiked a couple of hundred yards from the campsite and looked across the creek to see the wreckage of the WW2 era plane which crashed there in the late 1940s and for which the area is named
The next day found us making a dramatic creek crossing and then a 100 yard wide crossing of a boulder field (see picture). The trail pretty much ended where the boulder field began. The boulders were Lazy-Boy size with water between them. I am glad we brought trekking poles and without them, this would be have been a scary traverse. After the boulder field, the trail(?) ran directly between the river and the trees. After a while we quit looking for the trail and just followed the river. We broke out of the trees and walked through a marsh until reaching Dismal Forest #2...another area with a faint or no trail. We kind of got lost here but there was only one way to go as the valley turned into a canyon with sheer cliffs to either side. We picked up a game trail, followed elk droppings, and arrived at Bomber Lake. This is a spectacular area with 12,000 ft peaks and glaciers rising above a beautiful turquoise lake. The wind was blowing from the high glaciers making a nice combination of warm sun and cool wind. We pitched next to the lake in an established camp site and enjoyed a nice afternoon sitting by the lake looking at the scenery. We got up early the next day and hiked back to the trailhead arriving late in the afternoon. Time for a steak dinner!
We picked the Torrey Creek trailhead because it was supposed to be one of the least crowded. It was. We saw only 4 people in 3 days. The notorious insects were non-existent and the weather was perfect.....no late-afternoon storms. The Wind River Range is also nice because you don’t have the extreme altitudes like areas in Colorado. The trailhead was at 7,400 and Bomber Lake was at 10,400. We knew going in there would be places where the trail would be faint or non-existent. However, Bomber Lake sounded like a secluded place and we decided to test our route finding skills. It was a challenge that was well worth it upon arrival at the lake. I would recommend this hike to anyone at or above the intermediate level.