New For Lakes
Page Summary: New Fork Lakes offer extensive recreational opportunities and facilities just 24 miles from Pinedale, Wyoming.
Want to get away to a remote, beautiful mountain lake, but don't want to drive too far from Pinedale? New Fork Lake, nestled at the base of the rugged Wind River Mountains, offers extensive recreational opportunities and facilities similar to Green River Lakes, but is only 24 miles from Pinedale. There are several Bridger-Teton Forest Service campgrounds with a variety of facilities, as well as dispersed recreation sites. The reservable large group area is an ideal place for outdoor weddings and family reunions.
Summer recreational opportunities at New Fork Lakes include camping, hiking and backpacking, trail riding and horse packing, wildlife watching, fishing and boating. Anglers can cast for brook trout, Mackinaw (lake trout), Kokanee salmon, and rainbows. New Fork Lakes is an access point for many trails in the Wind River Range and Bridger Wilderness. There are also opportunities for short strolls and day hikes. Moose often feed on the willows northeast of the lake, so bring your binoculars!
Forest Service facilities at New Fork Lakes campground (lower lake) include basic campsites, boat launch, vault toilets, and drinking water. Lake access is a short walk from any of the campsites. Farther up the lake, at the Narrows, campers will also find some trailer pull-throughs, refuse containers, public corral, and extra parking and turnaround space at the Narrows trailhead. The Narrows Campground sits overlooking the lake and most sites have pretty views of the water. A Campground Host is onsite in the summer to answer questions and help visitors.
A secluded large group site is tucked in the trees near the lower end of the lake and can be reserved for 25-150 people. It offers a pleasant forested setting in a large level area and includes banquet sized picnic tables, grills, vault toilets, boat launch, group campfire facility, and parking for up to 20 RVs with turnaround space. Drinking water and refuse containers are available at the Narrows. There are no hookups or dump stations for RVs. For fee information and reservations, call the Pinedale Ranger District at 307-367-4326 or visit www.reserveusa.com. This campground fills up quickly during national and local holidays, so reservations are strongly advised.
In the winter, the road leading from Highway 352 to the lakes is not plowed, but can be an ideal trip on snowmobile for ice fishermen. There is a large turnaround and parking area for trucks and snowmobile trailers near the turnoff for New Fork Lakes. Because a special Wildlife Winter Range area surrounds most of the north shore, snowmobilers should consult their snowmobile maps for season of use, open trail areas, and winter range closure dates. A high elk fence through the forest marks the boundary of this enclosure area, and gates off the road during times when the area is closed to human presence.
To reach New Fork Lakes, take US Highway 191 west from Pinedale. About six miles from Pinedale, you will reach the Cora turnoff at the junction of State Highway 352. Turn right, towards Cora, and keep going for about 12 miles. Turn right at the sign for New Fork Lakes. This last leg of the trip is on a good gravel road maintained by the Forest Service, and will take you either to the New Fork Lakes campground at the lower end of the lakes, or half way up the lakes to the campground at the Narrows.
Be sure to fill your gas tank before you go and always have a spare tire along. The nearest gas station is at the Daniel Junction on Highway 191, five miles north of the Cora turnoff, or back in Pinedale. Visitors should also be aware that their cell phones may not get reception at the lake or campgrounds due to the proximity of high mountains. Reception can be picked up again by driving a few miles back towards the main road.