Trilobite Lake

Page Type
Wyoming, United States, North America
Route Type:
Hike, scramble, routefinding
Time Required:
Half a day
Class 2

Route Quality: 1 Votes

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Trilobite Lake
Created On: Apr 24, 2005
Last Edited On: May 31, 2006


The Trilobite Lake route is an alternative ascent/descent route to the summit of Mount Holmes. The route ascends the northeast ridge of Mount Holmes, and can be accessed from either the standard Mount Homes Trail route or the Grizzly Lake route. A semi-loop hike can be created by using this route in conjunction with one of these other two routes.

Caution: The Trilobite Lake trail is in poor condition and difficult to follow. There is considerable navigation required across meadows and areas of burned and downed timber. Progress may be slow and very tedious at times. Do not attempt this approach unless you are very confindent in your routefinding skills. The routefinding will be easier by using this route as an ascent route, with a descent by the standard Mount Holmes Trail route (southwest ridge descent).

For those who are confident in their routefinding abilities, this route provides a very scenic alternative to the standard route up Mount Holmes. Trilobite Lake lies in a forested basin to the northeast of Mount Holmes. The area appears to be seldomly visited, and offers a very scenic view of the northeast face of Mount Holmes as a backdrop above Trilobite Lake.


Distances and elevations are measured from the Trilobite Lake-Mount Holmes trail junction.

One-Way Hiking Distance: 3.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,666 ft.
Trailhead Elevation: 7,670 ft.
Summit Elevation: 10,336 ft.
Average Gain per Mile: 741 ft.

Route Description

The Trilobite Lake trail is accessed from either the Mount Homes Trail route or the Grizzly Lake route. Refer to these routes for details on reaching the Trilobite Lake trail junction. The junction is located ±5.5 miles from the Mount Holmes trailhead, or ±7.0 miles from the Grizzly Lake trailhead.

From the Mount Holmes trail, take the right fork at the signed Trilobite Lake trail junction. The trail begins by heading northwest, generally following the small drainage of Trilobite Lake. Use the drainage as a navigation aid if the trail is lost. There is much burned and downed timber along this section of the route, which will make the going very slow and tedious at times.

After ±0.5 mile the trail crosses a small meadow, followed soon after by a larger meadow. These will most likely be quite marshy through mid-summer. For navigation look for signs of worn paths through the meadows. There may also be orange metal trail markers on trees at either sides of the meadows, although it appears several of these are missing or destroyed by fire.

Beyond the second meadow the trail begins climbing a burned forest slope. If the trail is lost just continue climbing in a generally northwest direction, staying on the left (west) side of the Trilobite Lake drainage.

Eventually the trail enters unburned forest, slowly turns to the west, then finally arrives on the east shore of Trilobite Lake, ±2.3 miles from the trailhead junction. There is no formal trail beyond the lake, but signs of use trails may be seen continuing west.

Pass around the south shore of the lake, then ascend the slope to the west of the lake several hundred feet to an upper basin, which contains two smaller unnamed lakes. Here there will be a clear view of the remainder of the route, with the northeast face of Mount Holmes on the left and a long ridge descending down to the right (north).

Head for the lower right-hand side of the ridge. There will be some minor scrambing and boulder hopping involved, but no greater than class 2 unless you choose to make things more difficult. Once on the ridge it is simply a long class 2 boulder hop to the summit, gaining ±1000 vertical feet along the way.

Descent can be made by reversing the route, but the standard Mount Holmes Trail route is much easier to follow, and will offer different scenery.

Essential Gear

Map & compass and/or GPS, good routefinding skills are essential.

Water is plentiful for much of the hike; carry a suitable purification method.

Insect repellent is absolutely a must until late summer.