The Platte River Wilderness covers about 23K acres of the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest in southern Wyoming’s Snowy Range and was the site of a recent 3-day trip. Our original plan was for an area about 20 miles north near Medicine Bow Peak but a week before the trip there was still too much snow at that elevation so an alternate plan was hastily assembled.
We started at the Pelton Creek Campground and followed the Douglas Creek Trail north (downstream). Elevations were in the 8000′-8300′ range on the trail with the surrounding ridges up to 9000′. Much of the trail goes through a clear area well above the creek. With temperatures approaching 85 degrees we really appreciated any shade we came across. We camped along Douglas Creek about a mile south of the mouth of Devil’s Gate Creek, making about 6 miles for the day.
Our objective for day 2 was to hike up Devil’s Gate Creek to the remains of the Thompson Lodge. Unlike the Douglas Creek Trail, the Devil’s Gate Creek Trail goes through the woods. We spent a bit of time going over, under, and around occasional downfall before coming to this:We kinda figured out that we probably missed a turn where the trail crossed to the north side of the creek into a meadow (confirmed later) but by that time it was getting too late for us to pursue this and it looked like a storm was moving in. We headed back to camp – hoping to pack before getting any rain – and hiked back south about 3.5 miles before setting up camp again. We had only a couple minutes of light rain and then the clouds departed.
On day 3 we hiked-out the remaining 2.5 miles and headed home, with a cheeseburger break in Walden CO at the Antlers Inn’s River Rock Cafe. From there we took CO-14 east back into the mountains and the Poudre Canyon, following the Cache la Poudre River on its very scenic journey (for which I have no pictures!) toward Fort Collins.
We expected to see moose but didn’t. We did see a marmot and several bald eagles. We hiked-in on a Sunday and encountered several largish groups on their way out but the only other people we saw were a pair of fisherman headed for Devil’s Gate Creek on Monday. A final note is that one of the groups we encountered confirmed reports that the Platte Ridge Trail had so much downfall as to be unpassable.