• Michael O'Keeffe

Lakes + Granite + More Lakes: Backpacking the Medicine Bow Mountains in WY

Last week, Chyna and I embarked on our first backpacking trip of the summer to the Medicine Bow Mountains in Wyoming. An easy two hour drive from Loveland it was a perfect opener as the mileage was short, the gain minimal, yet still allowed us to get used to high elevation (the trail stayed between 10,500-11,000ft). We ended up making a loop mostly on trail with a bit of off trail with a total of about 7 miles and 800 feet of elevation gain. We passed numerous lakes such as South Gap Lake, Lewis Lake, and Libby Lake. We ended up camping among the chain of lakes known as the Klondike Lakes. I was impressed with the geology of this range as it drew strong vibes to the Sierra of California (a favorite of mine). It is an interesting area that is a relatively flat plateau of forest and lakes with this one chain of 12,000 foot peaks standing above everything else. I imagine this spot gets quite busy but in late June on a weekday we had the place to ourselves minus a few friendly fly fisherman at the trailhead. A great way to start backpacking season off! Take a look at the photos below.


Medicine Bow Mountains Wyoming
South Gap Lake. It was insanely windy here!
Medicine Bow Wyoming
Pink mountain laurel carpet the alpine near South Gap Lake.
Medicine Bows Wyoming
The Klondike Lakes under Sugarloaf Mountain.
Medicine Bows Wyoming
Chyna admiring the dramatic granite peaks in the Medicine Bows.
Medicine Bows Wyoming
The dramatic sheer face of the Medicine Bows.
Medicine Bow Wyoming
Our camp among the Klondike Lakes under the guise of Medicine Bow Peak.
Medicine Bow Wyoming
A shallow lake reflects Sugarloaf Mountain.
Medicine Bows Wyoming
Exploring the many lakes around camp in the evening light.
Medicine Bows Wyoming
A shallow calm lake near camp.
Medicine Bows Wyoming
Looking back the Klondike Lakes. Notice the little icebergs.
Medicine Bows Wyoming
I couldn't get over the peaks!
Medicine Bows Wyoming
The bright granite reminded me of being in the Sierra in California.
Medicine Bows Wyoming
Classic alpine country. Rugged rock bands, scattered stands of krummholz, and patches of lingering snow.
Medicine Bows Wyoming
Columbine bloom at the pass.
Medicine Bows Wyoming
Beautiful sun rays as seen from the pass beneath Medicine Bow Peak.
Medicine Bows Wyoming
Brown Mountain's flat top towers above the Klondike Lakes.
Medicine Bows Wyoming
Early wildflower blooms.
Medicine Bows Wyoming
Camp under the Medicine Bows at sunset.
Medicine Bows Wyoming
A pool of snowmelt among the stunning white granite boulders.
Medicine Bows Wyoming
The following morning was beautifully peaceful despite the overwhelming mosquitoes.
Medicine Bows Wyoming
Looking back the Klondike Lakes once last time.
Medicine Bows Wyoming
A pair of lakes in the morning sun on the hike out.
Medicine Bows Wyoming
Sugarloaf Mountain above Libby Lake.
Medicine Bows Wyoming
A last glimpse at the sheer granite cliffs and snowy couloirs.

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