A Hiker’s Guide to Gannett Peak


Reaching Gannett Peak is an ambitious endeavor. Any way you take to get to the highest point in Wyoming will require a multi-day hike through the vast wilderness of the surrounding national forests and ultimately one of the toughest climbs in the U.S. If you’ve been dreaming of scaling Wyoming’s highest point, then the Glacier Trail to Gannett Peak is for you. 

While following the Glacier trail, you’ll look down at jagged rocks and bask in vast views of gorgeous Wyoming’s Wind River Range. You’ll witness stunning high-elevation lakes, gorgeous flats, and seemingly endless switchbacks leading to the stunning high point of Gannett Peak. 

Gannett Peak

Nestled in the Wind River Range, Gannett Peak stands 13,804 feet tall. At about 25 feet taller than Grand Teton, it’s the highest point in Wyoming. If you’re planning the trek out there, know that it’s in a remote part of the Fitzpatrick Wilderness in Shoshone National Forest. So remote that the nearest town — Dubois, Wyoming — is roughly 45 miles away. 

Gannett Peak is the third-highest peak among the renowned “Triple Crown” county high points. To be a Triple Crown, peaks must possess a minimum of 5,000 feet of prominent elevation, a minimum of 5,000 feet of ascent by road in a passenger vehicle, and feature on the esteemed “Apex” list of the most challenging county high points in the USA. 

Gannett Peak holds the fourth position on this exclusive list, solidifying its reputation as one of the most secluded and prestigious peaks to conquer. Although considered a challenging route, this trail is great for backpacking, camping, and fishing. The best time to go is June through September. 

Glacier Trail to Gannett Peak

There are a few ways to approach Gannett Peak, but Glacier Trail is the most favored eastern approach entering through the Shoshone National Forest. It’s also thought of as the easiest path to the summit. 

At 53 miles in length, this trail is epic and not for the faint of heart. Expect to find boulder fields, loose rocks, rutted trail sections, holes, exposed tree roots, and possible snow as well as many river crossings. Some sections require climbing gear and the hopping and scrambling on rocks can be tasking on the knees. 

The stream crossings are an undesirable obstacle, with the added complication of getting wet as you go. And this trail features a minimum of 15 stream crossings. While most of them are relatively easy, a few can be pretty challenging. The Klondike Creek and Gannett Creek crossings, in particular, tend to pose the biggest obstacles for hikers.

The Glacier Trail then steeply climbs approximately 30 switchbacks and crosses Arrow Mountain, open slopes, and many plateaus and lakes before technical climbing begins. Approaching from other paths may make your summit day more than 12 hours but from the Glacier Trail, it typically takes eight to nine hours. There are many other approaches from the West, but with varying difficulty.

What Skill Level is Required

Any summit attempt of Gannett Peak requires a wide variety of mountaineering skills. Regarded as one of the most challenging state high points, Gannett Peak stands tall alongside formidable contenders like Denali in Alaska, Mount Rainier in Washington, and Granite Peak in Montana. It is not recommended to do the trail alone due to the amount of climbing and mountaineering required. You’ll need a variety of mountaineering equipment including crampons and ice axes to scale the peak.

The comparison of difficulty between these peaks remains a subject of debate, as it hinges on factors such as individual experience, skills, prevailing weather conditions, and other variables. However, with proper planning and preparation, the rewards of tackling this incredible trail are well worth the effort. Although a few mountaineers have been able to summit the peak within 24 hours, most people require three to five days.

Feeling the Highest Point in Wyoming

Although accessing Gannett Peak requires lengthy preparation, with a bit of training and some mountaineering prowess, this incredible Triple Crown is worth the effort, long days, and sweat to conquer this incredible Wyoming highpoint and gain the experience of a lifetime.

This article was originally published by 50campfires.com. Read the original article here.