- Location: Pinedale, WY
- Length: 3 mi (Winter)
- Water Access: None (Winter)
- Usage: Light (Winter)
- Highlights: View of Half Moon Lake, Windriver Range
- Safety Concerns: Care should be taken with ice depth. I have found no official ice-depth reports
The Wind River Range in Pinedale, WY has a number of trails open for snow shoes or cross country skis year round. In our ventures south of Jackson, we have found the range rather open although range closures do exist in areas and many a Forest Service road turns into snowmobile track.
The paved road to Fremont lake, however, remains plowed and open year round giving easy access for a wintertime hiker.
Half Moon Lake lies south of Fremont Lake. Both can be accessed via Fremont Lake Road, paved route leaving Pinedale and heading north-east. This route is plowed year-round. Proceed some seven miles along the route until it diverges. A sign for the Half Moon resort is posted upon this fork. Turn right upon it and proceed down a gravel road. The fork is plowed, although poorly and I suspect only by chance of the private residences on the western lake shore. Signage indicts these private drives and are rather aggressive reading “Trespassers will be shot.”
Past the private drives is the campground, boat docks, and eventually parking for the resort. The latter being the furthest one can get in the winter to the trailhead itself.
We returned to Half Moon lake several times in February. The lake is frozen, and although there are snowmobile tracks across it, the many weeks of above freezing weather gave us ill ease at walking out far from shore. Likewise, the warm weather left sections of the trail devoid of snow requiring us to remove snow shoes and embark upon foot only to find the snow returning in depths of four to five feet a hundred yards further.
The view is rather beautiful. The frozen lake a smooth expanse rising into a pine covered hill on the far side. The eastern shore and trail are devoid of trees giving it a highlands desert feel. The rocky soil covered in sage of
various types and much sign of elk and deer.