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Wandering WY: Pathfinder Dam & Reservoir

Updated: Nov 8, 2020

I have that restless wandering feeling this summer. A need to be moving, seeing, experiencing, and soaking up the wonderful state I’ve called home for the last nearly 7 years! I’m moving away this fall and am already starting to feel the homesickness!

Many of the travels you’ve been seeing on the blog are spontaneous. I get that itch to travel, message my best friend to see if she is available, pack my day bag, fuel up the car, and hit the road! This trip was no different!

The Pathfinder Dam & Reservoir is a favorite summertime destination for locals and tourists alike. You can boat and fish on the reservoir, there are camping and picnic areas, as well as hiking trails in the surrounding area. You could even put your kayaks in below the dam at the mouth of what I think is Fremont Canyon and enjoy an afternoon float!

My bestie and I were only there for a hike around the rim of the canyon and over the dam so we just packed a few snacks and water for the trail. This hike is steep in some areas including what we jokingly dubbed the “staircase of death”.

However, there are benches all along the trail to take a breather if you need one. The view certainly makes it worth it!

Pathfinder is also one of those places to be especially watchful of snakes! We were lucky enough to only see a few geckos skittering across the rocks but could just as easily have come across a Rattlesnake sunning itself.

Directions from the highway are fairly well marked. We turned off the highway following a sometimes paved, sometimes dirt road for about 5-10 minutes before reaching the dam. You could start hiking at the top of the dam and follow the rim of the canyon down but we like coming in from the opposite direction.

When you come to the crossroads at the dam, instead of going right toward the dam, take a left instead. There will be a few turn offs then with various trails. We hiked the first one until its lookout over the dam before we came back and drove down to the entree of the day.

Keep following that road until you see the hanging bridge over the river then turn right onto the dirt road toward it. You will come into a parking lot with restrooms and the start of the trail. The trail itself I’m guessing is a little over a mile one way mostly uphill at the beginning.

We like to walk out on the hanging bridge for pictures but you actually walk the opposite direction up the hill to climb the stairs to the rim of the canyon.

Then you follow the trail along the rim until you get to the dam. If the dam is overflowing you won’t be able to walk across, but if not you can walk along the top of the dam and get great views down the canyon and up across the reservoir!

There are historical signs along the way giving you fun facts about the dam, when it was built, and how it has been maintained. I think there is an interpretive center somewhere in the area, but we didn’t make a point of going to it on this trip.

We had absolutely perfect weather! The sun was out and beautiful at the beginning of our hike then the clouds came and cooled us off for the hike back to the car. We even felt a few raindrops right as we reached the trailhead!

How was your weekend? Do you plan your travels or take spontaneous trips? What is your favorite local spot to visit?

Thank you, fellow adventurers! You can follow the lilmissbearpaw blog page on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @lilmissbearpaw for sneak peeks into upcoming posts and my adventures. This will also be a great place to share your own adventures!

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