Equestrians, backpackers, RVers, and tent campers will find excellent camping opportunities at the Scab Creek Recreation Area. The Bureau of Land Management property managed out of the Pinedale Field Office at Scab Creek Recreation Area is situated at 8200 feet in elevation, in the foothills at the base of the Wind River Mountains in Wyoming.
There are two separate camping areas, one for equestrians and large RVs and one for smaller RVs and tent campers. The recreation area also serves as a staging area for backpackers and day hikers heading out on the trails that lead into the Scab Creek Wilderness Study Area and the Bridger-Teton National Forest. The campground is open from May to mid-November, and available on a first-come, first-serve basis, with no fee for overnight camping.
Scab Creek Recreation Area is natural, secluded, and well treed with lodgepole pine. The wilderness area around Scab Creek Recreation Area comprises 7636 acres and is adjacent to the Bridger Wilderness and Bridger-Teton National Wilderness to the north and east. An extensive hiking trail system joins the wilderness areas Lakes dot the region, providing excellent backcountry fishing opportunities. Visitors should be prepared with plenty of bug spray, as there are biting flies and mosquitoes in the region, and be alert and take precautions when storing food, as this is known as bear country.
Travelers in the Scab Creek Recreation Area region will find some local services, including a service station and store, in the town of Boulder, 15 miles away, with more services and amenities available at Pinedale, Wyoming, 27 miles to the west. Because the nearest services in Boulder and Pinedale are about a 30 and 45 minute drive away respectively, ensure your vehicle is fueled up, well maintained, and has adequate fluid levels for the trip.
The area is closed between November 15 and April 30, and may be blocked by snow until later in May depending on weather conditions. Check with the local BLM office for road conditions and accessibility. The gravel road is rated as good, and generally well maintained, but can have washboard sections or become rutted in wet weather. RV units and tow trailers will need to slow down on the gravel road to avoid jostling contents.
Located adjacent to the staging area for the Scab Creek Trailhead which connects to wilderness areas and national forests to the northwest of the site, the Scab Creek Recreation Area provides campgrounds and facilities for equestrians, backpackers, picnickers and overnight camping on site.
The recreation area is located at high elevation in the foothills of the Wind River mountains and is surrounded by majestic lodgepole pine trees. There are nine sites here with fire pits and picnic tables and two areas, one for smaller RV units and tent camping, and one for equestrians and larger RV units. The campground is open from May 1 to November 15 but the season may be shortened due to inaccessibility from residual, or early snowfall in the region.
Camping is on a first-come, first-serve basis, and is free of charge for a maximum stay of 14 days. The equestrian area has corrals for livestock, a stock water pond, and there is a parking area and vault toilets. There are no hookups, potable water supply, RV dump station, or other amenities on site.
Bring appropriate storage containers for food, as this is bear country, and food should be stored separately from campsites and in odor-proof sealed storage containers. Also, have plenty of bug spray on hand as biting flies and mosquitoes are prevalent in the area.
The Scab Creek Trailhead is located adjacent to the Scab Creek Recreation Area which is a popular staging area with a with a parking lot for the trail. The trail extends into the adjacent national forest and wilderness study areas where it connects to an extensive network of hiking trails.
Hikers and backcountry campers are warned to be aware this is bear country, keep your eyes out for these large predators. Bear bells which make noise as you trek down the trail may help prevent you from accidentally startling a bear, and food should be stored in odor-proof containers and located away from overnight campsites.
The bugs are thick in the pine forests and riparian areas in the wilderness areas, so be sure to bring lots of bug spray! Also, ensure you have an adequate water supply for your hike and are aware of the location of water sources in the region.
Equestrians make use of the extensive trail system in the wilderness region. The Scab Creek Recreation Area provides separate parking for equestrians and backpackers/hikers at the trailhead here. There are also corrals for equestrian camping. A stock water pond is on-site for livestock.
The trail sees medium traffic during the peak season when it's accessible between May and mid-November, so horseback riders should keep their eyes and ears out for hikers on foot and not use excessive speed around blind corners. There are lots of biting insects so bring insect repellent for you and your horses so you both don't go “buggy”.
Numerous lakes are distributed throughout the wilderness areas along the trails from the Scab Creek Recreation Area that provide excellent backcountry fishing opportunities. Anglers will really enjoy fishing for trout in these lakes.
Since you need to hike into the lakes and ponds, fishing from the shore is your only option, unless you want to pack in an inflatable kayak. Some of the more popular lakes accessible from the Scab Creek Trail are Divide Lake, Dream Lake, Middle Fork Lake, and Halls Lake. Be sure to have a valid Wyoming Fishing Licence even when backcountry fishing.
The White Pine Ski Resort is less than an hour's drive north of the Scab Creek Recreation Area, and numerous world-class ski resorts, including the Jackson Hole resorts, are about a two hour drive further northwest in the mountains. The White Pine Ski Resort lost its lodge in a fire, but they are up and running with temporary facilities and provide groomed runs, lifts, equipment rentals, and lessons. Many larger ski resorts to the northwest provide more on hill facilities and accommodations.
Nordic Ski areas in the national forests northwest of Scab Creek Recreation Area have hundreds of miles of cross country and snowshoeing trails. Trails wind around the base of mountains, and through valleys and passes lined with pine, spruce, and aspen trees.
Trails near recreation sites may be groomed, so you can glide along easily in the winter wonderland. However, backcountry trails will not have tracks set, and may be tough “slogging” in deep snow. Find a trail suitable for your ability and fitness level, dress in layers, and be sure your equipment is in good repair, especially if heading out on backcountry trails.
Looking for something completely unique to enjoy this spectacular wilderness area during the winter months? Why not try dog sledding? Local experienced dog sled outfitters are available in the region that can take visitors out on one hour, 1/2 day, full-day, and overnight tours with “yurt” camping.
Tours are available in the Teton and Shoshone National Forests near Jackson Hole. This is a one of a kind experience to explore the Continental Divide with an experienced guide, via dog sled, with a pack of energetic sled dogs.