WY – Tayo Lake +++, Southern Wind River Mountains, Popo Agie Wilderness

After enjoying a memorable morning at Lower Deep Creek Lake (see previous post for details on the hike to the lake), it was time to dry out my gear (snow fields create lots of condensation, as does setting up in the rain). Sunshine makes me happy! 

As my gear dried I watched the mackerel clouds. Did you know there are a ton of poems about these formations? I think this one is most appropriate, “Low’rin clouds, low’rin skies, Stay indoors if you are wise. Mackerel sky, mackerel sky, Never long wet, never long dry.” 

And after the storm, the flowers were heavy with damp, but all shiny and clean. 

Goodbye for now Lower Deep Creek Lake

It was time to head south on the Ice Lakes Trail #706, that is as soon as I could find it. 

I was trying to avoid this mess, home of the real trail.

After a bit of navigating, I found clear trail. I was prepared to turnaround if conditions were too gnarly.

There was plenty of snow around, but little on the trail that couldn’t be avoided.

Happy splashes of color could be found around every corner. It feels like spring, even though it’s the last week of July.

Blue or purple columbine, just like in Colorado. Stunning! 

And then I found a yellow one. 

Water was rushing gushing creating nature’s music and near constant wet feet conditions. 

This lake or pond was still partially frozen over and the entire surface was covered in a thin sheen of ice. 

Hello reflection! I believe this was Ridge or Cliff Lake

I climbed a hill to catch this view of Jug and Boot Lakes or maybe Ridge Lakes?

Cliff Lake? I was so distracted by the beauty I forgot to notate times on my maps so they’d coincide with my camera time. Please help me out if you know the correct names.

Since I promised myself I’d mostly stay on trail, I avoided further exploration of other lakes in the Ice Lakes Basin and instead headed up to the first pass where rain was threatening. Remember those mackerel clouds? 

The lighting was amazing as I watched the storm ebb and flow. 

I climbed off trail for better views. 

See my umbrella? I hid out under this rock and had lunch waiting out the storm, then climbed to the top of the boulders for more views. 

Oops I overshot and hiked down well below my umbrella rock. Look closely . . . I guess I needed those bonus miles. 

With the storm giving me a bit of a reprieve, I knew it was time to say goodbye to my roost and head to a protected area before thunder and lightning made an appearance. 

You know you’re going to be in for some technical descending when you see a sign like this. Should be fun with wet slick rock.

First easily unavoidable snow on trail. 

The views were outstanding. 

Then back to clear trails. 

As I rejoined the trail after my extra credit sightseeing at the pass, I met Bill who was also hiking south. He is an avid fisherman and was heading to Tayo Lake. It was on my possible list, so we decided to share some miles on this much less maintained trail (Tayo Lake #707). 

Bill taking a walk on the wild side, wildflower side that is. 

Bill caught a beautiful Golden Trout at stunning Tayo Lake. 

About 4:30am, Bill woke up and said I think we are about to get wet. We had to quickly put on our rain tarps as we both enjoyed the stars through the mesh of our tents sans fly. 

I got up to watch the storm. Found this great rock to lounge on while staying warm bundled in down and drinking hot beverages. Let the entertainment begin. Who needs a TV?

The storm commeth’, the storm goeth’, and Bill fisheth’.  Notice the iceberg in bottom left corner near Bill. When we arrived last night there were two large chunks of ice floating not far from shore; after the storm only one remained and it was headed toward the outlet.

To be continued . . .

Hike Details:

  • Date(s) Hiked: 7/26/17
  • Mileage: Approximately 8-10
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: Unknown, didn’t track but plenty
  • Trail Conditions:
    • Tree obstacles: none
    • Overgrowth: none on Ice Lakes Trail but plenty of Willow thickets on the route to Tayo Lake
    • Signage: good, plan for cairn and route finding on the Tayo Lake Trail
    • Terrain: moderate, plan for snow and muck travel
  • Water: plentiful
  • Camping: excellent
  • Solitude: Expect company on the Ice Lakes Trail but less likely on the Tayo Lake Trail
  • Bugs: plentiful but I didn’t need deet
  • Precip: expect thunderstorms in July
  • Temp: Overnight varied and seemed to fluctuate a lot from low 30’s to high 40’s; daytime highs were probably in 70’s.
  • Jan’s Cherry Picker Delight Scale: 4+++ cherries (out of 5) (would have been a 5 if I could have accessed Tayo Lake without mucking through bogs and bushwhacking through willow thickets)


  • Be prepared for altitude, elevation changes, weather changes, snow, bugs and navigation.



2 thoughts on “WY – Tayo Lake +++, Southern Wind River Mountains, Popo Agie Wilderness

  1. Pingback: WY – Stough Creek Lakes, Southern Wind River Mountains, Popo Agie Wilderness – Jan's Jaunts and Jabberings

  2. Pingback: WY – South Fork Lakes, Southern Wind River Mountains, Popo Agie Wilderness – Jan's Jaunts and Jabberings

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