Page Summary: Fremont Lake, nestled at the base of the Wind River Mountains, offers recreational opportunities and facilities.
It should come as no surprise that Fremont Lake is the recreational hub of Sublette County's Pinedale area. Only 3.2 miles from Pinedale, this stunningly beautiful, pristine and mostly undeveloped destination offers easy access to outdoor activities summer and winter and is a focal point for popular annual events. Fremont Lake is Pinedale's municipal water supply and provides irrigation water and fish habitat for many miles downstream. Conscientious use of the lake by recreationists helps keep this rare resource clean.
Surrounded by timbered foothills and a backdrop of spectacular snowy peaks, Fremont Lake is 12 miles long, half a mile wide, and 600 feet deep, making it the second largest natural lake in Wyoming and one of America's deepest. A classic example of glacial geology, the lake was scooped out by an ancient glacier and is dammed at the lower end by a terminal moraine. The lake is named for explorer and military man John C. Fremont (1813-1890), who surveyed the area in 1842 while mapping most of the Oregon Trail.
Surrounded by the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Fremont Lake beckons to us all, visitor and local alike. A few summer homes dot the shore and one privately-owned resort is located at the lower end of the lake; the rest is public land. Wildlife is abundant and easily spotted by the patient observer. Expect osprey, pronghorn, moose, black bear, eagles, mule deer, water birds and more. Two boat docks are accessible by paved road and Fremont Lake Campground, one of the Bridger-Teton National Forest's most developed facilities, is located on the eastern shore. Sandy Beach, a small natural beach where the water is relatively shallow, is just off the main access road, and is an ideal place for families and young children to enjoy the scenery, sand, and a swim in the warmer waters near shore. A picnic area is adjacent and helps keep the beach area clean. No dogs are allowed on Sandy Beach.
The dark blue waters of Fremont Lake are famously cold, and provide rich habitat for diverse species of fish. Anglers test their skills against rainbow, brown, and lake trout as well as Kokanee salmon. Fishing derbies in summer and winter, hosted by the Pinedale Boat Club, draw many families and individuals. The Fremont Lake Sailing Regatta is held each August to the delight of avid sailors and spectators. Watercraft of all kinds are allowed on Fremont Lake, with boats up to 35 feet launching from the Lower Boat Dock when water depths are normal. Kayakers, canoers, wind surfers and water skiers also share the lake.
Wind is common on the lake most afternoons. In the summer, afternoon storms tend to come from the west and whitecaps are likely. Boaters should also watch carefully for rock outcrops that can lurk in shallow water some distance from shore.
At the south end of Fremont Lake is a short dirt road leading to the CCC Ponds, a fish and wildlife habitat interpretive area. It has a large parking lot, vault toilets, paved and unpaved bike/walking paths, and benches at quiet spots where you can observe fish, water birds and many other species of wildlife. A larger, developed bike path loops from the parking area down to the Pinedale cemetery on Fremont Lake Road. The CCC Ponds are a good place to take the kids fishing on a sunny summer afternoon, or to enjoy a quiet morning walk, run or bike ride. Early June sees Kids' Fishing Day at the CCC Ponds, when government agencies and Trout Unlimited get together to teach kids (and their parents!) proper fishing techniques, simple fish biology, and fishing ethics. The CCC Ponds also serve as an "outdoor classroom" for local science teachers, who arrange field trips so students can grasp basic theories of ecology, wildlife biology and hydrology.
Many amenities are available at Fremont Lake in the summer, making it possible to enjoy a "civilized" outdoor experience. Fremont Lake Campground has drinking water, trash disposal and large RV sites. Vault toilets are common at developed recreation areas around the lake. Lakeside Lodge Resort and Marina offers food, lodging, RV camping and a private boat dock. All the conveniences of Pinedale, including emergency services, are just a few miles away, and because the lake is so vast and open, cell phones on boats usually work. The terrain surrounding Fremont Lake is made up mostly of very large boulders, so dispersed camping opportunities are relatively rare. Better places for dispersed camping exist further up Fremont Lake Road, above the turnoff for Half Moon Lake Resort.
If you do choose to camp in an unofficial site, the Pinedale Ranger District asks visitors to Fremont Lake not to make a dispersed camp within 200 feet of the lakeshore or any water source that drains into the lake. All visitors should use vault toilets whenever possible or bury human waste more than 200 feet from water sources. Pet owners should clean up after their dogs. Boats and trailers should dispose of black or grey water at appropriate facilities, not in the lake. Fishermen should place fish viscera in the trash for proper disposal. As elsewhere in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, visitors are asked to pack out what they pack in.
If you cut firewood or create a lean-to from available timber, please use only dead and down wood. Collect only as much firewood as you need - don't leave a stockpile "for the next guy." Dismantle lean-tos and other structures before you leave.
Horses are not advisable near Fremont Lake due to the rocky terrain. There are no corrals and few trails appropriate for riding. Elkhart Park Trailhead, at the top end of Fremont Lake Road, has a corral, large parking area, and pack trails.
In winter, ice fishermen, snowmobilers, cross-country skiers and skaters often find perfect conditions on Fremont Lake for their passions/pastimes. A parking/turnaround area is cleared of snow at a fork in the access road, not far from where it leaves Fremont Lake Road. The left fork of the access road is plowed to the Lower Boat Dock on the south end of the lake. Fremont Lake Campground is closed in the winter, and camping on the ice is not allowed.
To reach Fremont Lake, take Fremont Lake Road just east of Faler's General Store. At 2.5 miles, you will reach an overlook with an historical marker and great view of the lake. At 3.2 miles, a sign will direct you to turn left for Fremont Lake. After you turn onto this access road, there is a fork with signs pointing the way to the campground, Sandy Beach, CCC Ponds and other features.
Stop by the Pinedale Ranger District Office for current information on boating and fishing regulations, lake conditions and campground availability. Please use common courtesy towards other recreationists, obey regulations and observe all posted signs. Always bring safety and first aid equipment with you and wear a life vest when you are on the water. Observing these rules helps keep Fremont Lake clean and safe for all users.