White Rock Mountain provides one of the few Wind River Range car to car dayhikes. The summit and its views are spectacular, and the entire trip can be accomplished in a full day by people with reasonable fitness. Much of the hiking is on well maintained trails, and the remainder is largely on alpine meadow with solid footing. The route described here does have a few stretches of bushwacking through thick brush, and there are a few moves of class 3 climbing as one approaches the summit.
White Rock and Square Top Mountains from the Green River Lakes. Photo is by PinedaleOnline.com and is used with their permission
From the Town of Pinedale, drive six miles west on US 191 or alternately, drive about the same distance east on US 191 from the town of Daniel. Turn north on Wy 352, and basically follow this road for 46 miles until it ends at the Green River Lakes Campground. The name of the road switches to Roaring Fork Rd. after 25 miles but you stay driving on the main road. The last 23 miles or so is an unpaved gravel surface but is fine for 2 wheel drive vehicles.
This road does not generally open for traffic until June (after the snow, ice and mud has subsided), so it is advisable to call the Forest Service
(307) 739-5500, or Pinedale Online
307-360-7689 if you are trying to go early or late in season to see if passage is possible. Additionally, there are no services on this road, so any food, gas, bear spray, spare tires, and other necessary items should be picked up before leaving Pinedale.
If you are traveling south from the Jackson area along Rt. 191, a number of miles can be saved by taking the dirt Forty Rod Road left (east) a few miles after crossing over the Green River, and following it until it intersects Wy 352 where you turn back north to reach the trail head.
There is a clearly marked turnoff to the left just before the campground that leads to the trailhead parking.
The beautiful meadow above Clear Creek Falls.
From the parking area, take one of a couple trails down and east to a bridge that crosses onto the east side of the Green River after only a couple tenths of a mile. Once on the East side of the river, turn right and follow the Highline Trail as it traverses above the Lower Green River Lake for a little over two miles to a trail junction. Alternately, it is possible to take the beautiful Lakeside Trail along the more forested western shore of the lake, then wrap around the end of the lake and arriving at the same spot. This is a longer route but has pretty views.
Turn left on the Clear Creek Trail, which climbs up a short hill, passes Clear Creek Falls, then enters a beautiful meadow. Approximately one mile from the start of the Clear Creek Trail, and in the middle of this meadow, there is another trail junction. Turn right onto the Slide Lake Trail. Immediately after the junction, this trail crosses Clear Creek, then crosses thick meadow growth to the edge of the steep slopes to the south. In places here, the trail is overgrown and hard to follow. There are outstanding camping sites in the vicinity of this meadow.
At the edge of the timber, the Slide Lake Trail works east for a short distance until it crosses Slide Creek. It then turns steeply up the forested slope and climbs approximately 1000 vertical feet in about a mile to another beautiful meadow northeast of White Rock Mountain. Be sure to check out the spectacular waterfalls along the way.
The suggested route is shown in red. An alternate for the off trail portion is indicated in purple.
A suggested route to the summit leaves the trail at the far end of this meadow. Before leaving the trail, look southwest to the slopes of White Rock Mountain, and a fairly obvious line of avalanche slides should be visible, starting at the top of the mountain and extending all the way down to Slide Creek. Turn right and walk through a short forested grove (again great camping spots) to Slide Creek. In 2009, there were log bridges across the two channels of the creek at this point. Once on the western side of the creek, follow an old slide path up the northern slopes of White Rock Mountain. I first took this route in the 1970's and at that point, it was possible to climb the entire slope in meadows and stable rocks. As of 2009, it is necessary to pass through a few growths of thick forest between the various slide paths as you work your way up the increasingly steep northern slopes of the peak. Depending on the exact route taken, it might also be necessary to cross a few patches of talus.
Eventually, the thick timber on either side of the slide path diminishes, and the climbing becomes a stroll up steep but very stable grass. There will likely be some snow in early season in the gully that forms the upper portion of the slide path but it can most likely be avoided. The angle of the slope eases as one approaches the north-south ridge that forms the crest of White Rock Mountain.
The very summit of the peak is a sharp cone of fairly stable rock. This can most easily be climbed staying on or to the left of the crest. There are a few moves of third class climbing just below the summit, but once there you can sit back and bask in the stunning view of the Green River Lakes below you and the high peaks of the Wind River Range to the East. The route from the trail to the summit is roughly one and a half or two miles depending on the route taken. Return by the same route.
It is also possible to climb the peak from the start of the meadow after the 1000 foot climb leading past Slide Creek Falls. There is a continuous band of meadow leading up to the ridge, and then along the ridge to the summit. The one caution that I would have for this route is not getting caught in the swift current of Slide Creek and tumbling a thousand feet down the waterfall.
Using either route, the car to car hiking distance is somewhere in the range of 12 or 13 miles.
Approaching the summit come on the North Slopes Route. The summit cone; ascent is best up the left side of the crest.
For the climb, all that is needed is standard hiking garb for climbing a high mountain and maybe an ice axe in early season.
Because this is bear country, it is advised that you bring bear spray. I would also highly recommend bug dope as the mosquitoes are plentiful for much of the summer.