Whether you hike to Blue Miner Lake just east of Sheep Mountain (aka Sleeping Indian) in the Gros Ventre Wilderness for its own sake, or en route to the Indian's summit, it's worth the trip.
What Makes It Great
The route (some 7-miles and 3,000-ish vertical feet one way) to Blue Miner Lake is signed, but a maze of horse trails created by the ranches around the Red Hills Campground can make it tricky to follow, especially at the beginning. Just before the Red Hills Campground, there’s a small parking area/trailhead on your right. Park and start from here.
The first part of the trail is easy to follow, but about 10 minutes in, horse trails and a lack of signs on the real trail begin to confuse things. When given the option, head west. You’ll climb up and over a couple of ridges before the trail commits to one and climbs up. A little over two miles in (and this feels like a very long two miles), the trail splits. A sign indicates Grizzly Lake to the right and Blue Miner to the left.
From this junction, Blue Miner is another five miles or so. The trail is fairly steep, but the scenery does a good job of distracting. Dog owners should know that after this junction, water is limited until you get to Blue Miner.
If you head for the summit of Sleeping Indian after stopping by Blue Miner, know that its flat, open summit is one of the best, albeit exposed, places in the valley to spend a night.
Who is Going to Love It
If you enjoy scenic hikes with lakes. With its Caribbean color, warm shallows, seclusion and scenery, it’s no wonder that many locals consider it at the top of “Jackson Hole’s Best Lakes.”
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From Jackson: Take 89/191 North, and at Gros Ventre Junction, turn right towards the town of Kelly. Go through Kelly and turn right on Gros Ventre Road. Stay on the road until you reach Red Hills Campground. The trailhead will be on the right just before the campground. There is lots of parking.