The Cirque of the Towers was my first ever backpacking trip into the Wind Rivers. Growing up in Wyoming I was kicking myself for not visiting this spectacular place years ago.
The hike from the Big Sandy
trailhead up to Big Sandy Lake is about 6 miles. The trail
remains relatively flat and skirts through the forest and several
large meadows along the way. Arriving at Big Sandy Lake you
finally get some nice views of the nearby peaks.
From Big Sandy Lake the trail
splits and to continue on to the Cirque of the Towers you take
the Jackass Pass trail up over the hill. The photo below is taken
halfway through Jackass Pass and the peaks of the Cirque are coming into view. Jackpass is a very unrelenting trail, you climb up a steep hill, just to go back down and climb up again.
Taking a break for lunch Warbonnet Peak can be seen behind me in the photo below. Warbonnet Peak takes on a much different perspective when viewed from the north.
Jackass Pass crosses the Continental Divide at 11,000 feet and you finally get a view of the Cirque and Lonesome Lake. From here the trail descends to around 10,000 feet to the lake. Most climbers head left towards Hidden Falls and camp closer to Pingora and Wolf's Head. Pingora is located directly behind me in the photo below and the east ridge of Wolf's Head Peak can be seen directly to the left of Pingora. Both of these are included in the 50 classic climbs of North America which has increased the popularity of the Cirque.
Mitchell Peak in the photo below rise to over 12,000 feet and marks the southern end of the Cirque. It was named after the legendary Wind River mountain man Finis Mitchell, he's the only person to have a peak named after him while he was still alive.
You can't help but feel small in the Cirque when standing in the shadows of Pingora.
The photo below is looking south from Lonesome Lake and Warrior I and Warrior II that make up Warbonnet Peak. The peaks got their name because the resemble Indians wearing headresses.
This waterfall I call Hidden Falls since it comes out of Hidden Lake. I'm not sure if this is the correct name but seems logical to me.
The Cirque is honestly one of the most beautiful place I have ever been in my life. Outside of the Winds and Yosemite National Park, I have never found anything that can match the beauty of this alpine environment.