by Clint Gilchrist
August 1, 2004
Big Sandy is the main trailhead for the southern end of the Wind River Mountains with access to the popular Cirque of the Towers and the Highline trail system that reaches all the way to Union Pass at the north end of the Wind River Mountains.
Big Sandy trailhead and campground are about 57 miles from Pinedale, with about half paved and the other half dirt road. The last 10 miles is a narrow road that is usable by almost any vehicle this time of year, but it has to be taken slow. Plan on a couple hour trip one way.
There are 12 developed camping spots at the trailhead with parking, tables, restrooms and fire pits. On Sunday, August 1, 2004, only three of the camping spots were being used. For those who donít want to camp, Big Sandy Lodge has 10 guest cabins just a couple miles from the trailhead. There are also numerous undeveloped camping spots along the way. The trailhead is busy this time of year. On Sunday at 3 pm we counted 72 vehicles at the trailhead from 21 different states.
There is a lot of history along Big Sandy Creek. The first Mountain Men in the valley traveled down Big Sandy Creek to reach the Green River and gave the creek its name in 1825. Just after the Mountain Man era, John Fremont and Kit Carson visited the area in 1842 on a government expedition. In 1858, the Lander Trail was created along the creek as a short cut for the emmigrants on their way to Oregon. Thousands of wagons traveled the trail during the last half of the 1800's. There are several historical markers along the way marking this rich history.