Joseph Hallenbeck
March 16, 2015

Trails: Sweeney Ridge

Filed under: Wanderlust


  • Location: Pinedale, WY
  • Length: 6 mi
  • Water Access: None
  • Usage: Moderate
  • Highlights: Spectacular view of the wind river range, Half Moon Lake and Pinedale
  • Safety Concerns: Steep embankments in areas

Sweeney Ridge Map

After venturing to Half Moon lake several times throughout February we decided to check out the cross country ski trails on top of the nearby ridge. We found these trails to be in much heavier use during the day time than aforementioned Half Moon, but for what they gave up in solitude we gained in views. Sweeney Road, an ungroomed cross country tail, is perhaps the most isolating and best for snow shoeing undisturbed with dogs.


View from Sweeney Ridge in February

Like Half Moon, Sweeney Road is accessed via the Fremont Lake road leaving Pinedale, WY. Proceed some ten miles up the road and passed the turn-off for Half Moon. The road is plowed up the resort and there are many pull offs for various groomed cross country skiing trails. The first pull off, however, is for Sweeney Road which is an ungroomed trail following a Forest Service road.

February Conditions

View from Sweeney Ridge in February

The groomed cross country ski trails appear to be under heavy use, however being ungroomed, Sweeney Road sees much more moderate usage. Furthermore, we found that many snow shoers appear to take the route for only some time before diverging upon their own paths. In our case we took a branch that looped out much closer to the ridge edge giving us a wonderful view of Half Moon lake, the wind river range, and the plains that spread out far below us to Pinedale.

If kept to the main trail the conditions are moderate and fairly easy going upon snow shoes. The diverging routes however can in places be rather steep and I imagine unsound if the snow top is icy and hardened. For ourselves the snow was ideal having a good layer of snow that we easily sunk into giving us a good grip upon the hillside.

"Trails: Sweeney Ridge" by Joseph Hallenbeck is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.