|Difficulty||3 stars The trek to Lake Louise is easy, aside from the switchbacks and occasional steep elevation gain, but the route up to Whiskey Mountain gains nearly 750 feet per mile.|
|Time to Complete||5.0 hours|
|Distance||12.0 miles The trail splits 1/2 mile in, giving you the option for the lake or the summit. Start with the summit and hit the lake on your way back.|
|Seasonality||Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter Year round, but for advanced hikers during the snowy and icy winter months.|
Found at the northeast corner of the Wind River Range, Whiskey Mountain and Lake Louise are two of Wyoming’s hidden wonders. Whiskey Mountain is an excellent hike and home to the largest herd of wintering Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep herd in North America. Combined with the majestic views found at Lake Louise, exploring both of these trails in a day is a fine way to immerse yourself in the Winds.
What Makes It Great
The Wind River Range is part of the Rocky Mountains. Due to its relatively isolated location, it’s less popular than the Teton Range but just as beautiful. The Public Land in the greater Dubois area, specifically around Whiskey Mountains, is home to important habitat for numerous animals, including the Canada lynx, grey wolf and grizzly bear—so keep your eyes open and bring along bear bells / bear spray. Reaching the summit of Whiskey Mountain (11,157’) is hard work, climbing 3,800’ in four miles. Views from the top look out over an arid, colorful landscape. As bighorn sheep roam in the distance, the tops of snowy peaks in the heart of the Winds can be spotted above the colorful and vast swaths of land below.
Once you have your fill of the summit, hike back down to the junction and head toward Lake Louise. To get to this lake, be prepared to climb again. The ascent up to the lake gains an additional 1,000’ of elevation. After working your way up switchbacks, reach a fork that separates the Lake Louise Trail from the Glacier Trail. From here, you’ll enter a granite wonderland. The last section to the lake is on an exposed, non-technical, solid granite ledge that could be unnerving for those uncomfortable with exposure. Just beyond this is your reward: the rocky shores of Lake Louise.
Who is Going to Love It
This long day hike is perfect for experienced adventurers who want to take in a full day of epic scenery and tag a summit along the way. The landscape here is raw, rugged, and beautiful. Lake Louise is a contrast to the muted browns, yellows, and reds that decorate the craggy bluffs and rocky boulder fields. Beginners and less-fit hikers will find the loop a challenge, but if the weather is clear, it’s worth it, even if you’re cruising at a slower pace. The lake is also a fun destination for a quick overnight.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
To get to the trailhead from Dubois, head out on Highway 287 South for 5 miles. Turn right on Jakey’s Fork Road, staying left at the first fork toward the conservation camp on Trail Lake Road. At the conservation camp stay to the right and keep heading to the Glacier Trail trailhead.