Don't let the name fool you, this climb is no cake walk. Cream Puff rises about 3,000 feet from Rt. 189 and, while small compared to some of the other peaks nearby, is a perfect mountain for a challenging day hike. You can park in the Bighorn Conservation Area (take a left on Rt. 189 just after passing Bryan Flats Road). And the route from there is up to you. An elk trail exists that is used by hikers, but it makes no attempt to take it easy on you as it goes right up the face of the mountain.
The Elk Trail starts off climbing this grassy ridge to the treeline.
Once you take the trail across the grassy ridge, it enters a forest of primarily Douglas Firs. Again, the trail makes no attempt to slowly gain altitude; the switchbacks that are present still go very steeply up the face of the mountain.
Upon exiting the forest, you'll find yourself in a mixed scree slope of loose shale. There are some nice overlooks here that allow you to see some of the other ranges present. Wildlife is also abundant, so keep an eye open.
The slope is definitely steep and the trail goes straight up it.
The trail continues upwards along some slightly exposed sections of the mountain. There is no real scrambling required, but watch your footing because a slip/fall could mean a long slide down the hill.
Towards the top of the mountain you'll find some gnarled, dead conifers standing watch over the mountain.
Soon you will find your way out of the tree line and on a small ridge to the summit, which is bare with the exception of a few small pines. I couldn't find any summit register.
Once at the summit, you have the option of following a ridge line to a few other summits in the area. Unfortunately I do not know the names of these, but they are very similar to Cream Puff and offer similar views/elevations.
The summit is bare, with the exception of a few small conifers.
To reach the trailhead at the Bighorn Reserve, take 191 from Jackson to Hoback Junction (about 13 miles). Take a left at the junction to get onto 189/191. Follow this until you pass Bryan Flats Rd. (watch for the big moose on the right) and you will see the small dirt road to the trailhead just on the left. If you enter the canyon, you've gone too far.
No red tape exists for this climb. Hiking and parking is both free and legal.
Since a lot of the slopes are very steep, camping might be difficult in this area save for a few exceptions. There are a few flat fielded areas on another ridge towards the bottom that would be ideal for camping. However, slightly past the entrance to the parking area on Rt. 189, there is a sign saying camping is restricted to campgrounds only.
There are a few campgrounds in the area, all on rt. 189.