Introduction to camping at Wiggins Fork
The following document was created by Gene's eldest daughter Lanora. It is a complete introduction to camping at Wiggins Fork. It includes directions to the Double Cabin Campground as well as information on what to expect and helpful tips on what to pack.
DOUBLE CABIN CAMPGROUND
Double Cabin Campground is located in the Shoshone National Forest. The Shoshone National Forest was set aside in 1891 as a part of the Yellowstone Timberland Reserve and is the first national forest in the United States. It consists of some 2.4 million acres of varied terrain ranging from sagebrush flats to rugged mountains. The higher mountains are snow-clad most of the year.
The campground is remote. GPS Coordinates: 43.80618, -109.56005. Elevation is 8,053 feet. It sits at the border of the Washakie Wilderness. The nearest town is Dubois, Wyoming. The campground it just 25 miles from town, however it takes about an hour to reach the campground from town. The road to the campground is grated gravel, not paved. Most of the road is still only 1 1/2 lanes wide so passing a horse trailer or an RV coming down can be a minor problem. The road is best driven in the daytime and not when it is raining.
From Dubois, turn right on N. Horse Creek Road, following the road for 12 miles before turning right to continue on the road. Drive Horse Creek Road for another 12.6 miles, following the signs to the campground.
This rustic campground is deceivingly remote, located at the end of the road, the 14 sites give you the perfect place to set up camp before heading out for day trips into the wilderness. Surrounded by the Absaroka mountains, this place is as wild as you can get, while still having the comforts of your car and being somewhat close to a town.
The campground serves as a base camp. There are 14 camping sites. The Forest Service does charge a fee of $15/nights with a maximum stay of 2 weeks. There are very few amenities. There is potable water that is dispensed from a hand pump at the center of the campground, and there is one outhouse-type bathroom. The camp hosts keep this stocked with toilet paper and keep it clean.
Each campsite also has a safe fire pit, a picnic table and a flat area for a tent. If you would like firewood, it is best to buy some in town to bring it, unless you want to bring a chainsaw!
This area is especially perfect for hikers, as two trails head north right out of the campground, leading into the pristine wilderness. Many people come here to go rock collecting, however if you are not interested in collecting rocks you can fish, hike, photography, hunt for waterfalls, backpack, or just read a book by the campfire.
Please note: There IS NO CELL SERVICE up here. In order to get a signal, we have to drive at least 30 minutes back down the mountain toward town. Town has very slow service as well. There is an internet café and wi-fi at the laundromat where we can check in.
WEATHER: The best time of year to go is the last week of July and the first couple weeks of August. This is when the weather is the best, as well as the rivers are low and passible. The weather can vary, but generally the daytime temperatures are highs of between 65-85. It can get to just below freezing at night with frost and fog in the mornings. There is usually a small rain shower in the late afternoon daily, but it can also rain pretty hard on occasion and we have also had hail.
FLORA & FAUNA: The insects are pretty mild. Occasionally there are mosquitos or horse flies, but they move pretty slowly. We usually bring bug spray. We have never encountered poison ivy, but it can grow here. The most dangerous plant is probably the thistles, but they are easily avoided. There is plenty of opportunity for wildlife viewing. We have seen Moose, Deer, Badgers, Mountain Goats, Bears and many more. I have only seen harmless snakes. The campground is full of friendly squirrels, chipmunks and BEAR SAFETY: This place is home to both Grizzly Bears and Black Bears. We’ve seen both almost every year and have never had a problem, however we always take the correct precautions. The bears here are very well fed as there is an abundance of nature here, but it is best to understand how to handle it if you do encounter one.
- Someone in your group should always have bear spray.
- Most people in the group should also have bells on their backpacks as they hike.
- Please read about what to do if you encounter a bear: https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/nature/bearreact.htm
- We keep a clean camp.
- All dishes, stoves, garbage, food containers, cosmetics and toiletries are properly stores in the car or bear boxes when not in use.
- CROSSING RIVERS: These are fast moving mountain streams and crossing them on foot can be dangerous. The depth of the water is dependent on the amount of snow over the winter and the weather. Generally the rivers are not crossable on foot without considerable effort moving up and down stream until July, when the waters start to recede. The rivers are usually easy to cross in August. Crossing:
- You must wear boots you can walk in wet.
- The general rule is if the water is over your knees don't do it.
- It is always good to have a walking stick or another person to cross with.
- Look for a place where the river is split and as wide as possible.
- Mark or be aware of where you cross. The river will look different and can change on the way back.
- On warm sunny days increased snow melt can cause the river to rise in the afternoon.
- Likewise sudden storms up river can cause the river to rise.
- Always plant one foot firmly before picking up the other.
- Most hiking is on maintained trails, but can involve some steep inclines and walking over fallen logs. Some people do a little bit of hiking up very steep slopes or hike up creek beds to get to more remote areas in order to collect rocks.
- Do not hike or climb directly below or above someone. When ascending or descending, the group needs to stagger a bit. Many times a rock or something else can get dislodged and roll down. When this happens, warn the people below.
- Gear for day hikes:
- It is best to have at least one walking stick, even if you are incredibly physically fit. The stick can help you make sure that the terrain is safe before stepping on it, and can provide stability when walking down steep inclines.
- Hiking is like skiing. When going down slopes, always keep your feet perpendicular to the incline.
- We generally go on day hikes, leaving around 9am and returning before 5pm.
- No one in permitted to hike alone. Ever. Always use the buddy system.
- Always bring enough water and extra snacks. The ranchers often let their cows graze up in the fields, so water from the streams is not considered safe to drink.
- Day packs can be small, but it is best to carry at least a few things with you:
- Your lunch and snacks
- More water than you will think you need
- Small first aid kit
- Toilet paper
- Matches or lighter
- Rain gear
- A knife
- Sun protection (sunglasses, sunscreen, hat, lip balm)
- HAT! We highly recommend everyone wear a hat. Not only does it keep the sun off, but prevents your face being scratched by branches, and is a nice thing to have when there are those small afternoon rain showers.
- HIKING PANTS! Despite it being summer, we do not recommend hiking in shorts. Often you are hiking through some foliage, or over logs. Pants protect you from scratches. Jeans are also not recommended, as they are too heavy when wet.
- Hiking boots: Generally, any sturdy boot will do as long as it fits well. Some people “double sock” to prevent blisters, since we do hike wet. Some hikes could be done in sneakers, but they won’t provide as much protections and it is not recommended.
- Wear layers.
- Pace yourself: It takes quite a few days to adjust to the altitude. It is best to take small hikes and slowly increase daily. Don’t be afraid to let the group know that it is time for you to turn back. We want everyone to be safe and have fun. Injuries happen when people push themselves too far.
- You can prepare for the higher altitude a bit before arriving:
- Stay very hydrated in the days before you arrive and during your travel there.
- Avoid drinking alcohol before arrival.
- Be sure to have NSAID pain relievers
- You can prepare for the higher altitude a bit before arriving:
- At least one person in the group needs to have the radio, and one person back at camp has the other. This is used for emergencies, or if the group is running late. The group hiking is required to check in with home base at an agreed upon time.
BASE CAMP GEAR
- Your options are tents or some sort of RV. RVs can be rented in Denver, fully stocked with kitchen gear and bedding, so you may want to look into the costs of that versus renting gear.
- Your tent should have a rain fly!
- OTHER GEAR
- Flashlights and/or Lanterns (solar!)
- First Aid Kit
- Water bottles/Coffee mug/portable coffee or tea maker
- Day packs with water bladders
- Hiking poles
- Bear bell
- Sleeping bags
- Camping chairs (we have extra)
- Solar charger for phone (camera!)
- Waterproof case for phones
- Multitool or knife
- Pocket mirror