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A Hiker’s Guide To Medicine Bow Peak: Wyoming

The Medicine Bow Peak area in Wyoming offers superb mountain views. We loved it so much, we went back to visit again. The first year, we went on a 2 day backpacking trip. The second time, we were just rolling through for a short visit, so we did a different hike that offered incredible views of the mountain peak. 

Jake on Lakes Trail Loop Over Lookout Lake
Lakes Trail Loop Over Lookout Lake At Medicine Bow Peak

In this guide to the Medicine Bow area, we will cover a few different hikes that offer a stunning view of the Medicine Bow National Forest Area. Whether you want to just drive right up and walk a couple hundred feet to enjoy the view or want to spend a whole night up in the mountains enjoying the many views along the route, there is a hike for everyone in this area of Wyoming. 

Map Of Medicine Bow Peak:

Use this map for reference for trailheads, trails and lakes. 

Medicine Bow Peak Wyoming Map
Map From AllTrails

Lakes Trail to Medicine Bow Peak Loop:

Medicine Bow Peak
Medicine Bow Peak

The Lakes Loop Hike is 6.7 miles with 1,712 feet elevation change. The first portion of the Lakes Trail Loop hike travels below the Medicine Bow Peak to your left, meandering along small and large lakes. 

Jake Looking Out On Medicine Bow Peak Trail
Jake Looking Out On Medicine Bow Peak Trail

You will then come to a fork in the trail, where you can continue on Lakes Trail or turn left up to Medicine Bow Peak Trail. This is where the steep part of the trail begins. The trail is a bit rocky, although there is a clear path that leads to the top. Once you reach the top, you will be hopping along boulders, but shortly after reaching the summit, you will again come to a maintained trail. 

For the third portion of the hike, you hike along the top of the rim starting at Medicine Bow Peak, and winding along the smaller nearby peaks. The rim itself is a bit too steep to hike, so the trail sits just downhill from the edge. You can see for miles to the West and to the North. There are lots of lakes and alpine meadows below. But the best views are still yet to come.

Us On The Home Stretch Of Medicine Bow Peak Trail
Us On The Home Stretch Of Medicine Bow Peak Trail

In the last section, you begin your descent, bringing you closer to the rim. Once you reach the edge, a dramatic view opens up overlooking Lake Marie, Mirror Lake and Lookout Lake. The hike back down to West Lake Marie Trailhead is steep and rocky. So be cautious as you climb back down to the parking lot. 

Lakes Trail

Or for a shorter, less strenuous hike, you can hike the Lakes Trail as an out-and-back. It includes most of the stunning views of the Snowy Range, but without the big climb up and along the rim. There are many different viewpoints along the trail where you can stop and enjoy a snack or picnic lunch. 

Or if you are simply committed to climbing the tallest peak around, then Medicine Bow Peak Trail is only 3.2 miles, but a rocky 1,200ft elevation climb up to the summit at 12,020ft!

Watch Our Vlog About Hiking Medicine Bow Peak

Join along on a fun hiking adventure in the stunning Medicine Bow Peak Area.

Youtube Screenshot For Hiking Adventures At Medicine Bow Peak Two Roaming Souls Channel

North Gap Lake & South Gap Lake:

North Gap Lake at sunset, a picture from hiking up the other side to get a birds eye view
North Gap Lake

Two of the prettier lakes in the area that don’t border the main Medicine Bow Peak are North Gap Lake and South Gap Lake. But beware, because it is often windy up at these two lakes. The hike is an out and back hike that is about 4 miles long. You can park in the Gaps Lake Trailhead parking lot, but do note that during the summer season, the lot fills up fast. 

South Gap Lake
South Gap Lake

This hike is an out and back hike. The hike is about 4.5 miles long with 254 elevation change. Follow Gaps Lake Trail until you reach both South and North Gap Lake. There are many great stops along the way where you can eat a snack or have a picnic up at one of the lakes. 

If you want to follow a GPS tracker, use this map from AllTrails. And if you want to extend the journey, you can also hike to Cutthroat Lake. The hike is about an additional 3 miles roundtrip past North Gap Lake. 

Browns Peak Loop to Lakes Trail:

Beginning Section Of Sheep Lake Trail
Beginning Section Of Sheep Lake Trail

The Browns Peak Loop to Lakes Trail is an overnight backpacking we did with some friends. It’s not an official trail, but rather a combination of trails. Most of the trails in the area are too short for a proper backpacking trip, so this 15 mile combination was perfect for an overnight. We think it’s a great way to see all the coolest parts of the Medicine Bow Peak Area. There are a handful of great spots to set up camp along most of this hike.

We completed this trip as a thru-hike by self-shuttling a car to the end destination. We started at Brooklynne Campground going counter-clockwise on Browns Peak Loop and then transferred to the Lakes Trail to finally finish the hike at West Lake Marie Trailhead. The key transition is when you reach Gap Lakes Trailhead, you must switch to Medicine Bow Trail.

Hiking Medicine Bow Peak On Sheep Lake Trail
Hiking Medicine Bow Peak On Sheep Lake Trail

In this hike you will start off hiking along flat plains with a few little lakes/ponds. The trail is well-maintained, mostly flat and easy to follow. About 6.5 miles into the hike you will encounter North Gap Lake. 

Camping Along North Gap Lake

There is a great spot along the lake where you can set up camp and enjoy a stunning view of the lake. Or if you want to continue further you can climb the ridge over to South Gap Lake. But personally, we think North Gap Lake is cooler! And if you are feeling adventurous, you can go for a swim in the alpine lake!

Jake Diving Into North Gap Lake
Jake Diving Into North Gap Lake

The second portion of the hike is by far the coolest section. After North Gap Lake, you will climb over he pass to South Gap Lake where it can be very windy. You hike along the edge of the lake on large boulders. There is a maintained trail on the other side of the lake leading you up to the saddle overlooking both North and South Gap Lakes. Climb. 

Shortly after getting on the other side of South Gap Lake you constantly encountering lakes around every turn. And in the distance the famous Medicine Bow Peak appears.

Once you reach Gap Lakes Trailhead, you transfer onto Medicine Bow Trail, which then connects to Lakes Trail.

Stay on Lakes Trail until you reach West Lake Marie Trailhead.

If you don’t have the option of carpooling then from Gap Lakes Trailhead, you can just complete Browns Peak Loop back to Brooklynne Campground (where you started).

Lake Marie Lookout:

Lake Marie Lookout On Lakes Trail In Medicine Bow Peak
Lake Marie Lookout On Lakes Trail In Medicine Bow Peak

If you are not looking for a strenuous hike, but want to enjoy the Medicine Bow Peak, park at the West Lake Marie Trailhead and walk up to one of the best views in the area. There are many benches, picnic areas or spots where you can set up a nice camp chair to have a great day.

We also noticed a few fishermen along the shoreline. So bring along a fishing pole and maybe catch yourself some dinner if you enjoy fishing!

If you want to get a little exercise, there is a paved path that follows along Lake Marie for about .4 miles. It is also wheelchair accessible!

The paved path connects to Mirror Lake Picnic Area. Which is another good parking area for people who just want to enjoy the beauty without a strenuous hike.

Don’t forget all the backpacking essentials. Check out our post:

Ultimate Backpacking Checklist

Takeaway | A Hiker’s Guide To Medicine Bow Peak: Wyoming

Medicine Bow Peak Area

The Medicine Bow Peak area is such a stunning area to hike. And the best part about this specific area is there are tons or different hikes that you can adjust to your hiking ability. If you get the chance to travel along the Southwest side of Wyoming be sure to add this area to the list! We hope you find a hike that suits your ability within this Hiker’s Guide To Medicine Bow Peak. 

While you are in the area, you don’t want to miss Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park!

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