Here in the northernmost extension of the Southern Rocky Mountains, the Encampment River flows north out of Colorado, past the town of Encampment and into the North Platte River. Along part of the river's canyon lies Wyoming's smallest Wilderness, approximately 16 square miles, a strip less than one mile wide in the southern portion that widens to about five miles near the northern boundary. Throughout the canyon, the river runs from wild rapids to peacefully placid stretches, and is home to brook, rainbow, and brown trout (the fishing can be worth the hike). Sagebrush grows on the open slopes, and the canyon is full of riparian vegetation. The Encampment River Trail runs the length of this narrow, rugged river canyon, one of the main attractions of the Wilderness. The lower five miles are relatively easy to hike, although the terrain becomes increasingly difficult in the remaining 10 upper miles. The trail receives moderate use by hikers. Along the way you'll pass ruins of old cabins and mining operations. You may see members of a large wildlife population: mule deer, elk, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. The river runs wildly over rocks, creating rapids that only expert kayakers dare to attempt.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Encampment River Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.
Wyoming Wilderness Act of 1984 - Public law 98-550 (10/30/1984) To designate certain lands in the state of Wyoming for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System, to release other forest lands for multiple use management, to withdraw designated wilderness areas in Wyoming from minerals activity, and for other purposes