The majestic Wind River Range of central Wyoming is striking, more wild and intriguingly mysterious than its sister range, the Tetons, and home to the best backcountry trail system in the state. Located on the backbone of the continental divide, the Wind River Range is a jagged and young range dominated by granite spires carved by massive glaciers, of which 150 remnant glaciers still exist. The Wind River Mountains feature fourteen of Wyoming's fifteen highest peaks, all over 13000 feet, including Gannett Peak, the highest peak in the state at 13804 feet.
The Wind River Range is extremely popular with day hikers, backpackers, big wall climbers and mountaineers alike, though it receives less traffic than one might expect even with a good number of trailhead access points, due to its sheer size and the high elevation of its terrain. The Wind River Range is most frequently accessed by foot rather than horseback due to the ruggedness of the terrain and visitors here should note that no motorized vehicles nor are mountain bikes are currently allowed on wilderness trail systems.
There are a number of excellent big wall climbing options and mountaineering opportunities throughout the Wind River Range which attract climbers from around the globe on an annual basis. The climbing here is so good that several world class guide outfits based in Jackson Hole (Exum and Jackson Hole Mountain Guides) offer custom climbing trips here for a variety of abilities. The area also served as inspiration for the creation of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), still based in Lander and currently offering the same Wind River trips it based its reputation on. Visitors should keep in mind that a variety of wild animals call the Wind River Range home and bear-country backcountry camping ethics should be practiced here. Wilderness areas allow for a variety of camping methods, from use of established camping areas to primitive 'leave no trace' options. Visitors should check with the local Forest Service Ranger Stations for more details on the specific trail systems and camping regulations that effect each separate wilderness area in the Wind River Range.