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Crater Trail

A mass of driftwood and logs piled up along the shore of Crater Lake in the Teton Mountains. Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming

The Crater Trail is a moderate 1.6 mile (one way) hike up to a small secluded glacial lake in the southern Teton Mountains. It’s a popular destination with locals thanks to its easy accessibility from Wilson, Wyoming, as well its connection to a larger trail network.

Crater Trail Description

From the parking area, look for the Crater Trail to begin on the southern end of the lot. The trail will immediately fork right. As the trail climbs up through the old forest, you’ll notice you’re paralleling Old Pass Road, the primary trail in the area. After making a quick connection with Old Pass Road before veering off again, you’ll begin to hear the sound of the rushing creek below.

As the trail continues to gradually climb, it becomes easy to forget that Old Pass Road is just above. You’ll pass through small meadows and dense woods as you maintain a steady climb. After gaining some elevation, the trail will level out for a bit as it moves away from the dominant trail above. Strong conifer smells overtake the Crater Trail as you cross a large meadow with Mount Glory rising high above.

The Crater Trail winding through a meadow in the Teton Mountains. Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming

Once you’ve passed through more meadows and woods, the Crater Trail reaches a creek crossing from the North Fork of Trail Creek. Two consecutive footbridges will safely get you over if you’re there early in the season. Just beyond the second bridge is a trail junction. Continue up the Crater Trail by heading right.

You’ll climb through the mature woods as the sound of the creek fades into the background. Just up the trail you’ll pass through a clearing for large power lines suspended above. Another junction waits on the other side of the clearing where you’ll want to head right again.

From here you’ll notice the trail widens for a bit where it will pass yet another junction, where you’ll want to stick to the right again. You’ll hike a bit farther up the trail where you’ll connect with Old Pass Road, where Crater Lake is nestled just below in a large hillside. Head down to Crater Lake to enjoy the tranquil view.

Creek Flowing Along Crater Trail
A rushing creek flowing alongside the Crater Trail in the Teton Mountains. Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming

Getting There

From downtown Wilson, head west on Highway 22 for 1.1 miles. Turn left onto Old Pass Road and follow that until it dead-ends at the parking area.

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All content © Copyright Mike Cavaroc, Free Roaming Hiker & Free Roaming Photography