Wednesday, August 31, 2022
After spending my first night at the Spruce Mountain Fire Lookout Tower I got up extra early on Wednesday morning so I could drive to the nearby Snowy Range and hike to the summit of Medicine Bow Peak, which at 12,013 feet is the highest peak in this small but spectacular subrange of the Medicine Bow Mountains. After leaving the Fire Tower, I dropped down into the Centennial Valley and then followed the Snowy Range Highway, which is also known as the Great Skyroad, up to the Lewis Lake Trailhead near Libby Flats. As I passed through the small town of Albany, I swear I saw a Ringtail Cat cross the road in front of my Jeep, but it was too dark out for me to be 100% certain. I arrived at Lewis Lake just in time to catch the pre-dawn alpenglow and then a beautiful sunrise, but as I was making my way to the shore of the lake I had to give wide berth to a couple of moose that were grazing right near the trailhead.
Lewis Lake Reflection
Medicine Bow Peak at Dawn
Northern Snowy Range at Dawn
Sugarloaf Mountain Reflection
Libby Lake Morning
Sugarloaf Mountain & Medicine Bow Peak
Medicine Bow Peak Reflection
After watching the sunrise from the edge of Lewis Lake for a while, I continued hiking up the trail.
When I made it to the top of the saddle between Sugarloaf Mountain and Medicine Bow Peak, I took the right fork and started climbing steeply towards the top of the Snowy Range.
The view to the southwest from the saddle was pretty nice, too!
Medicine Bow Peak Trail
To the north I could see South Gap Lake and the Shelf Lakes below Browns Peak.
The southern end of the Snowy Range.
When I reached the top of the ridge I had a view of Elk Mountain to the northwest.
Once on top of the ridge it was a short boulder-hop to the summit of Medicine Bow Peak.
There was a benchmark on the summit, but it was damaged and mostly unreadable.
Looking back to the rocky summit as I started my way back down.
One last look at the southern Snowy Range as I hiked back down to the saddle.
Following the trail around Lewis Lake back to the trailhead.
I really enjoyed my morning in the Snowy Range and think I would like to come back for an easy backpacking trip with Diane sometime.