The Gros Ventre Mountains & Wilderness
Page Summary: Find information regarding the Gros Ventre Mountain Range and it's wilderness, hiking, access, and highlights.
Page Index:Gros Ventre Mountains
The 300,000 acre Gros Ventre Wilderness, on the Bridger-Teton National Forest, became a part of the National Wilderness Preservation System in 1984. It is composed of high craggy peaks, glacier scoured valleys, and rolling sagebrush foothills. The name is from the French word for "big belly", and originated from Indian sign language meant to convey the idea of "always hungry". The higher elevations are usually free of snow around mid-July and open until mid-September. Elevations range from 7,000 to over 11,000 feet. Expect summer time temperatures to range from highs in the 70s-80s during the day to lows of around 30 at night. Afternoon thunderstorms with lightning and rain showers are common in the summer. It can snow any day of the year, so visitors should come prepared for a wide variety of weather and temperature conditions.
The Gros Ventre Wilderness area can be accessed from the Hoback Canyon near Granite Hot Springs to the south and from the Upper Green River to the east. Access to the northern portion is via Jackson and the Gros Ventre River. Roads to trailheads are single lane gravel roads that are passable to passenger cars, although higher clearance vehicles are recommended. Trailheads and parking areas are remote and primitive, with no services or phones. Cell phone reception within the wilderness area is spotty at best.
The area is home to elk, moose, deer, black and grizzly bear, and many other species. It is considered to be essential calving ground for the Jackson Hole elk herd. There are a variety of trails through the area that offer an exceptional backcountry experience in unspoiled, pristine country. Trails within the wilderness area are for foot travel. Mechanized vehicles, including mountain bikes and snowmobiles, are not allowed. Horses, mules and llamas are permitted. Views from the high country include the Tetons, Absarokas, Wind River Mountains and the Wyoming Range.
The Gros Ventre Mountains receive much less use and impact than the more well known Wind River Range. Backcountry visitors are asked to practice Low Impact Camping to protect the pristine values of the wilderness area. Dogs are allowed, but must be kept under control at all times.
The Gros Ventre Wilderness area has fewer lakes than the nearby Wind River Mountains, but still offers satisfying fishing experiences for several species of trout. For those who want a relaxing end to their backcountry experience, remote Granite Hot Springs makes a nice conclusion to a trip.
Licensed outfitters and guides offer summer pack trips, hiking, backpacking, llama tours and full service hunting trips. The area has seasons for elk, mule deer, grouse, mountain goat and bighorn sheep. For more information see wildlife page.