Wyoming Backpacking Weather

Backpacking in Wyoming usually means exploring some very high country, including the Wind River and Absarokas mountain ranges. These two ranges in particular include unusually vast areas of high alpine landscapes over 10,000 feet in elevation, punctuated by 12,000-foot and 13,000-foot peaks. Even the Gros Ventre Range and the Tetons include considerable lands over 10,000 feet, and the more gentle but equally wild Yellowstone backcountry is also a vast highland, with extensive areas over 7500 feet.  What all of this elevation means in terms of weather is quite simple. It almost never gets hot, nights can be frosty any day of the year, winters are severe, and sudden radical weather changes can occur. Be prepared! Yet most summer days in the high country include plenty of sunshine with pleasantly warm temperatures and deliciously low humidity — that is, at least until the 5 PM thunderstorm hits with wind, rain, hail and an instant 20-degree temperature drop! But have no fear, though sometimes intense, these afternoon storms are usually short-lived, ending with beautiful after-dinner sunsets and stars slowly popping out of the clearing sky as the sweet-smelling post-storm nightfall sets in. One final word of caution. Summer in the Wyoming high country means July and August, not June and September. So on treks during the late spring and early autumn, expect a few of mother Nature’s meteorological curve-balls! A brief blast of winter may suddenly descend upon you, but it’s usually short-lived. Follow the Big Wild Personal Gear and Clothing List and you’ll be fine! And what is more magical than the first snowfall in September blanketing the high peaks of the magnificent Wyoming Wilderness?

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