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Hay Pass Trail

Intermediate/Difficult
 5.0 (1)

Enjoy beautiful high mountain scenery climbing gradually through forest and meadows, passing lakes to barren Hay Pass.


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Map Key

5.0

Miles

8.1

KM

Point to Point

10,956' 3,340 m

High

9,864' 3,007 m

Low

1,106' 337 m

Up

23' 7 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

28%

Max Grade (16°)

Dogs Off-leash

Features Geological Significance · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

USFS rules, please:
- camp at least 200 feet away from lakes, creeks, and trails.
- leash dogs in crowded areas
- follow Leave No Trace Principles

Need to Know

The trail continues north on the east side of the Continental Divide, past Hay Pass, but is not regularly maintained on the east side of the Divide.

Description

Hay Pass Trail begins at the north end of Victor Lake, at the lake's inlet creek, where Victor Lake Trail #7115 ends. After crossing the lake's inlet creek from Victor Lake Trail #7115, pick up the trail that veers left/north following the creek upstream at the forest's edge. Climbing gradually, the trail moves away from the creek to go around the east side of a small lake in the grassy meadows at the 0.5 mile mark.

Continuing to climb very gradually, Hay Pass Trail runs through stretches of thin forest, willows, and grassy, rocky areas for the next two and a half miles. Traveling in the creek valley, a dramatic, steep, rocky mountain ridge forming the valley's west side is seen in the open areas. North Fork Peak is at the south end of the ridge, and Round Top Mountain is near the north end. The very north end goes to the Continental Divide forming the west side of Hay Pass.

At the 3.0 mile mark, Lake 10322 comes into view in the meadows ahead. The trail turns left to circle around the lake, crossing the creek again, which is this lake's outlet creek here. Then veering right, the trail follows the lake's west shoreline beneath the towering ridge to the west, And finally, the trail veers right again to go along the north side of the lake for a short ways.

Leaving Lake 10322 behind, at the 3.5 mile mark the trail bends left/north to climb more steeply on the rocky, grassy slopes towards Hay Pass that can be seen ahead. The shelf ahead on the left/west holds Beth Lake (Lake 10755). At the 4.2 mile mark, the Beth Lake output creek is reached. The creek is shallow and wide with no obvious trail across it. Aiming for the pass, cross the creek and look for trail on the other side. After another tenth of a mile, the climb eases. Impressive views of Beth Lake with Round Top Mountain and the rocky mountain ridge rising from its west shoreline are to be admired. Looking back/south, Mt. Victor is the massive mountain on the valley's east side.

Continuing to climb, the trail continues over the rocks with thinner grass now, towards Hay Pass. Hay Pass is soon reached and a whole other world east of the Continental Divide appears - the Middle Fork Bull Lake valley extending into the distance to the northeast. From the pass, climb the low ridge to the left/west to find more views - Dennis Lake and the Golden Lakes valley running northwest. A little further on the ridge, and one can look west to see the U-shaped notch Angel Pass with Angel Peak on its north side.

Flora & Fauna

At lower altitudes - grassy meadows, stretches of pine forest, sections of willows. Higher up - rocky, grassy meadows. Near and at the pass - sparse grass in almost barren, rocky ground.

Contacts

Shared By:

Joan Pendleton

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 1 vote

#2698

Overall
  5.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings

#79

in Wyoming

#2,698

Overall
8 Views Last Month
142 Since Aug 18, 2021
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

Round Top Mountain, 12,048 ft. (center) stands behind Beth Lake (Lake 10755) as we travel down (south) from Hay Pass on Hay Pass Trail. The ridge from the unnamed peak on the right, extends north/right to form part of the Continental Divide.
Oct 15, 2021 near Big Sandy, WY
Pretty, jewel-like Lake 10322 sparkles in the high meadows along Hay Pass Trail. Mt. Victor, 12,254 ft., is the double humped massif on the left. On the right North Fork Peak, 11,175 ft., is the prominent Peak.
Oct 15, 2021 near Big Sandy, WY
On the low ridge just west of Hay Pass, Dennis Lake and the Golden Lakes valley stretch into the distance to the northwest (left), to the far right/northeast is the Middle Fork Bull Lake valley, and Mt. Quintet is the massif ahead in the center.
Oct 15, 2021 near Big Sandy, WY
Dennis Lake from the low ridge on the west side of Hay Pass.
Oct 15, 2021 near Big Sandy, WY
Pretty meadows with a small lake ahead to the north, along Hay Pass Trail. Further north (center right) is Round Top Mountain, 12,048 ft.
Oct 15, 2021 near Big Sandy, WY
The Middle Fork Bull Lake Valley extends into the distance looking northeast down the east side of the Continental Divide from from Hay Pass.
Oct 15, 2021 near Big Sandy, WY

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Aug 12, 2021
Joan Pendleton