Point 11,120 Overview
Point 11,120 lies in the Cloud Peak Wilderness of the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming. It is not located on the main crest of the range nor does it even have a name. It does, however, provide the perfect "small" climb for anyone who does not want to wander too far from Lake Helen or the trail. Not many people venture up here, as the the trail continues on past Lake Helen and on to higher and more remote country.
Lake Helen, Bighorn Mountains, Wy Sunset on Lake Helen, Bighorn Mountains
It only takes about an hour of bushwacking and boulder hopping to reach the main boulderfield and then another half hour or so of boulder hopping to reach the summit. As you climb higher, the boulders get bigger.
Very start of the first boulder field
Jeremy looking back at Lake Helen just before the boulders
Looking up at the summit from the boulderfield
The views from the top include all three lakes (Helen, Marion, and Mistymoon), Elk Mountain, Mather Peaks, Bomber Mountain, Cloud Peak, Black Tooth, and Woolsey. Elevation gain from Lake Helen is about 1,000 feet and 2,000 from the trailhead at West Tensleep Lake. It is a very easy climb and the view is rewarding. There are many other peaks on the same ridge to explore. Recommend this hike for anyone who wants a rewarding view in a small ammount of time with minimal effort involved. Good warm up climb for Cloud Peak.
Little brothers first time in the Rocky Mountains.
View from the top of point 11,120 above Lake Helen in the Bighorn Mountains, WY
To get there from the East take Powder River Pass, (Hwy. 16), over the crest of the Bighorn Mountains and down the other side. Just past Medowlark Lake, look for Forest Road 27 on the Right. Coming from Ten Sleep, one will find Forest Road 27 immediatley after Boulder Park Campground and on the left hand side of the road. Follow F. R. 27 all the way to the end where you will park at West Tensleep Lake. From here you will find the trailhead up the hill from the parking. At the very beginning of the hike the trail splits two ways. Keep left on trial 063. The other way will take you to mirror and lost twin lakes.
The trail is moderatley easy at first, crossing over meadows and small streams. After about 2 miles the mountains start to come in to view.
The mountains come into view in the meadow
After 4.4 miles, you will reach the shores of Lake Helen. This is a very good place to camp. To reach the summit of peak 11,120, dart off the trail to the left and up the hill immediatley after reaching the shore of Lake Helen. Once up on the mountainside, there is no maintained trail, so you are on your own from here.
The trail (063) can also be followed past Lake Helen to other numerous lakes, the Solitude trail, Lake Solitude, Cloud Peak, and numerous lakes and peaks. The trail is heavily used in the summer time so late spring and early fall are the best time to come depending on the snow conditions.
View of Cloud Peak from Lake Helen
A Self registration permit is required to enter the area. This permit must be kept at all times and is picked up at the W. Tensleep trailhead before you start the hike. The rangers have asked to see it every time I have been in the wilderness.
You may camp anywhere within the cloud peak wilderness as long as you are 100 feet from any lakes, streams, or water source. There are plenty of good spots at Lake Helen. When you first get to Lake Helen, break off the main trail and follow a smaller trail to the waters edge. From here you can walk a little ways back and find a great camping spot.
Breaking down camp at Lake Helen
Have also camped on the north side of the lake, but it is harder to find a spot here due to all the water. Numerous good spots are located up the trail towards Mistymoon Lake. No fires are allowed in the wilderness area above the 9,200 foot mark.