Skyline Drive current conditions
The main road is blocked by snow not far past White Pine Ski Resort.
The ice has melted away form the shore of Fremont Lake.
Wind River Queen
Enjoy elegant dining on the Wind River Queen Paddlewheeler during the summer season.
End of April: Snow on the road, ice breaking up on Fremont & Half Moon Lakes
April 26, 2006
Here’s the latest condition report for Skyline Drive, Fremont and Half Moon Lakes, as of Wednesday, April 26th.
Skyline Drive road still has snow not far past the cross-country park beyond White Pine Ski Area turn-off. Some folks have tried to get up further, judging by the tracks, but no doubt they had to back down after going very far. We’re still several weeks away from Skyline Drive road opening up to the top.
There is still snow in the trees along the cross-country ski trails. The open portions are melting off fast. We saw license plates for Oregon and Vermont in the X-C parking area.
There were deer, antelope and rock chucks out and about and could be seen from the road on this drive. This road is always a favorite for easily seeing a variety of wildlife in the early morning and late evening and makes a great day drive.
Anyone who has never done this drive should put this on their list when they come here. The road is paved the entire 17 miles one-way to the end and has incredible views of Fremont and Half Moon Lakes along the way and of the Wind River Mountains at the top.
There is a Forest Service campground at the very top, plus wilderness trailhead access parking and horse corrals for those wanting to hike into the Bridger Wilderness. RVs and trucks hauling horse trailers will have no problem getting to the top and turning around. Once the summer season gets into full swing, the Forest Service will have a campground host on duty at Elkhart Park who can answer questions.
White Pine Ski Area is officially closed now for their winter sport season. They are still open for lunch and dinner Friday through Sundays. Call 307-367-6606 to make reservations. Once their summer season is in full-swing, they will be open for mountain biking with bike rentals and designated trails on the ski runs. The lifts will be specially outfitted to carry you and your mountain bike up to the top of the runs. They will also have a fun day camp for kids, horseback riding, llama trips and fishing trips into the wilderness.
Fremont Lake is still covered with ice, but it is breaking up and has melted away from the shore. The lower road to the Forest Service upper campground is open. There are a few snow banks along the way, but not blocking the road. There are campground spots open. The Forest Service won’t have the water turned on for several weeks yet, however you can get in and dry camp if you bring your own water and haul out your garbage. It’s a great place to go and have a picnic. Bundle the kids up for the brisk wind that comes off the lake.
There aren't any leaves on the trees or shrubs yet and won’t be until late May or June. Some low-growing, very early spring yellow buttercups are starting to bloom. Looks like deer spent a lot of time in the campground over the winter, judging by all the deer poop on the ground.
Both boat launches on Fremont Lake are freed up out of ice, but no place to go. Boaters will need to wait a bit to get out on the lake due to the main ice layer still on the majority of the lake. The Lakeside Lodge marina still is semi-iced in and should be free of ice fairly soon.
Lakeside Lodge is located on the lower shore of Fremont Lake. This is the only commercial business on the lake, making the boating experience seem still very remote and undisturbed. They have log guest cabin rentals, RV campground, marina, boat rentals, fine-dining restaurant and meeting facilities. The facilities are open April 15-December 15.
HALF MOON LAKE
Half Moon Lake is similar to Fremont Lake as far as ice conditions go. The majority of the lake still has ice, but it is melted away from the shore. Should break up and melt off completely in the next week or so.
The Half Moon Lake road is clear and dry to the trailhead. The road is in great condition, bladed smooth and dry. Looks in the best shape we’ve ever seen it (kudos to the maintenance people!). Beyond Half Moon Lake Lodge, the road has ruts from where people have driven in the mud. A sedan can probably get through, but take it slow. The trail has patches of snow and is wet in places. The beach at the Forest Service day-use area is dry and makes a nice place for a family picnic or taking the dog out to throw sticks in the water.
Half Moon Lake Resort is open Wednesday-Saturdays for dinner from 5-9 pm (call for reservations 307-367-6373). Their paddlewheeler, the Wind River Queen is still in dry dock until the ice comes off the lake.
Once the season gets into full swing, these folks will have cabin rentals, exquisite dining in their restaurant with deck views overlooking the lake, dining on their custom-built elegant paddlewheeler, boat rentals, horseback riding and wilderness fishing and pack trips.
Photos by Clint Gilchrist; story by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!