White Rock Mountain (left), Squaretop Mountain (center), and Big Sheep Mountain (right)
One of the most famous views in Wyoming is looking south-east from the Green River Lakes towards a dramatic mountain that is beautifully framed by the walls of the glacial valley leading up towards it. The summit appears perfectly flat, with near vertical cliffs rising up from the surrounding lowlands in spectacular symmetry. This mountain is not White Rock but is rather the more famous Squaretop Mountain and is not the focus of this page.
White Rock Mountain is the mountain that forms the left (or northern) slopes to frame this majestic view. It has ragged white and brownish cliffs on its southern flanks and more gentle northern slopes that are a mixture of conifer forest and alpine meadows. It is one of only a few peaks in the Wind Rivers that can be hiked up in a fairly casual day trip from the trailhead. As an added attraction, its surroundings comprise one of the most beautiful spots in the entire state of Wyoming.
The last couple hundred feet of the peak are a steep tower of mostly solid rock. There are magnificent views of both the Green River Lakes to the west, and the higher peaks of the range to the east.
The cliffs making up the southern side of the peak are sedimentary in nature, not granite as is found in the central peaks of the Wind Rivers. There are two steep bands within the southern cliff. The lower is made of Bighorn Dolomite and was deposited 425-450 million years ago. There is a less steep zone made of the Darby Formation, then the higher steep band is composed of Madison Limestone, formed some 300 million years ago.
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.
View East from the summit of White Rock Mountain
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 travelling 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. To access the peak, it is quickest to work down one of a couple trails leaving from the lot and cross over a good and new bridge to the east side of the Green River. From here, walk a couple miles south-east along the Highline Trail to just before the end of Lower Green River Lake where the Clear Creek Trail branches off to the left. Access to White Rock is easiest turning up this, passing by Clear Creek Falls, then taking the Slide Lake Trail to the northeast side of the peak. One can also admire White Rock's wonderful sedimentary cliffs by continuing up the Highline Trail past Upper Green River Lake rather than turning onto the Clear Creek Trail.
Green River Lakes from White Rock Mountain
A somewhat longer but beautiful approach can also be made along the southwest shore of Lower Green River Lake using the Lakeside Trail.
Red Tape and Other Concerns
White Rock Mountain is located in the Bridger Wilderness Area, so consequently, Motorized vehicles, mechanized equipment, and such things as snowmobiles, bicycles, hang gliders and chainsaws, are prohibited.
Campfires are allowed below tree line, if you use downed timber for fuel.
Cell phone reception is poor to spotty here as is often the case with mountain areas.
I encountered the highest concentration of mosquitoes that I have ever experienced on the approach to White Rock Mountain in July. Many people go to the Wind River Range in August or early September for this reason. Bug dope would be a good thing to carry with you not only for the mosquitoes but also for noseeums and ticks...
This part of Wyoming is bear country, and there have been situations with grizzly bears here. It would be prudent to carry a can of bear spray (available in Pinedale) with you and know how to use it.
Sunscreen, sunglasses (and an ice axe in early season) are all also of great use when visiting the peak.
Within the Bridger Wilderness Area, it is possible to camp as long as you stay more than 200 feet from lakes and trails. Being bear country, you should use bear proof containers to store food when in the backcountry. Permits are required for scout or church, or school groups, as well as campers bringing livestock. Contact the Pinedale Ranger District (307-367-4326).
White Rock Mountain from Lower Green River Lake. Photo is by PinedaleOnline.com and is used with their permission.
There is a Forest Service campground (Green River Lakes Campground) located at the outlet to the Green River Lakes. It has 39 sites and is open from June 15th through September 15th. The 2006 fee for camping was $12 per night. White Rock Mountain is visible across the Lower Green River Lake to the east from this campground. One should be aware that this campground is closed at times for the Forest Service to remove beetle killed trees and to keep the area safe, so it is advised to call them for the current status of the campground.
There used to be lodging in the vicinity of the Green River Lakes campground but this is no longer available. In addition, such popular spots as the Elk Ridge Lodge and the DC Bar Guest Ranch as well as the Place Restaurant have all recently closed. The closest lodging is in one of several hotels in Pinedale, or alternately a hotel in Daniel.
White Rock Mountain is within Sublette County. Their webpage can be accessed here.
Pinedale Online is a great resource for the area and can be contacted by clicking on the link or calling 307-360-7689.
I would like to thank Dawn Ballou from Pinedale Online for all of her helpful comments in regards to this page and for granting permission to use two of their pictures as well. I would also like to thank my parents for bringing me to this beautiful place long ago in 1977.