Sunday, August 16, 2015

We Saved the Best for Last: Lost Twin Lakes

Our month in Buffalo, WY is drawing to a close and we find ourselves thoroughly enchanted with this state. It happens to be the least populated of all the states, leaving lots of wide open country to explore. While the western half of the state is known for its mountains, the east is typified by high plains. Buffalo put us right on the edge where those two ecosystems meet.

For our last hike in the Bighorn Mountains we drove about 55 miles to the west side of the range and the Ten Sleep trailhead. Ten Sleep Canyon and Creek got its name from an old Indian encampment that was "ten sleeps" from important points such as Yellowstone and Fort Laramie.

The 11 mile round trip (out and back) hike to Lost Twin Lakes starts out at 9,250 feet and tops out at about 10,500 feet, making this destination the highest point we've reached in the Bighorns. The trail has a few steep sections, always a bit of a challenge at this elevation, but the scenery is worth every single step. As you'll see, the colors on this day were vibrant (my photos are untouched). Even though after a month in the area we are ready to move on, a day on the trail like this one makes us appreciate the intense beauty of our country and the immense freedom we have to enjoy it in this singular lifestyle we live.

The first couple of miles climb through forest broken up by a couple of lovely stream crossings. 

Breaking out of the forest and leveling off a bit, we came to a meadow of astounding beauty.

We took a short detour to Mirror Lake, while not being very mirror-like at the moment,
was still quite a sight to behold.

We continued on, encountering more colorful, serene beauty every step of the way.

The rocky, rounded peaks of the Bighorns began to unfold ahead of us.

A fly fisherman casts his line in this pristine creek.

About four miles in we started to see the sheer cliffs that surround our destination...

As we drew nearer granite boulders and slabs dotted lush green meadows
and the cliffs grew more imposing with each step.

Lost Twin Lakes in all their glory!
There is a second lake just visible above the one in the foreground.

Looking back at the last valley we ascended.

As we made our way back the way we came the sun lit up our favorite meadow with such perfection
that more photos were required.

Buffalo has been a wonderful place to spend a month. It's got small town charm, the locals have been friendly and the proximity to the mountains ideal. Deer Park RV Park worked out perfectly for us, it's pretty and clean, the sites are large, park wifi is decent and Verizon signal is excellent. Even though we're right on the edge of town and about a quarter mile from I-90, it was pretty quiet and we even had good wildlife viewing from our site.

Today we head into Montana for a few weeks, but we're not done with Wyoming yet for this year...we'll be back to explore the western half of the state soon.

The Buffalo, WY cemetery is a pretty place to walk and even offers wildlife viewing!


  1. Both Wyoming and Montana are Big Sky States in my book. I love the east/west division of rocky mountains and rolling plains wheat fields.

  2. What a fantastic looking hike! We definitely have to return to Wyoming.

  3. Beautiful hike! Agree that Wyoming rocks!!!

  4. What a spectacular hike! And a gorgeous sky to top it off.

  5. Oh that trail is amazing! I need to plan a trip to Wyoming someday.

  6. How on earth with all the beauty this country has to offer can I ever decide where to go and when? You have sure opened new doors for exploring and I think Buffalo sounds like the perfect place to call home for awhile. We did visit the area surrounding Cody, and did our exploring on the Harley...hiking is so much better! I also love Montana and east Glacier NP. When Joe is cleared for yearly check-ups, I do hope to be traveling right where you are now!

    What a gorgeous hike Lisa! And safe travels to Montana....

  7. I can't believe you've been there a month already. What a beautiful place that I'd never heard of until you put it on my map. This hike really is spectacular, the lakes, the clouds, the Bighorns the meadow. It's just breath taking. Your pictures are outstanding. Love the one of you two. I can't imagine where you will go next that won't seem at least a little less perfect.

  8. We're with Gay and Joe in that we have seen many parts of Wyoming but on the motorcycle. We certainly need to get back to explore other areas with boots on the ground:) This was a beautiful hike. I love that you had water along the way, as well as, flat areas:) If one has an 11 mile hike ahead, it is nice that there isn't too much elevation gain. The lake is so pretty surrounded by the mountains. What a final hike to say good bye to the area. Thanks for enticing us to come that way:)

  9. What a spectacular hike! Love those richly colored meadows and the photo of you two in front of the lake with the mountains as a backdrop. Thanks for the great tips on hiking and exploring the area. Wyoming has been calling to us for a long time -- we hope to get there next year.

  10. You certainly saved the best for last, WY is so green and worth a visit from us next year. Once again we will follow your trail.
    Love the photo of you two near the lake, providing a good contrast to the background.