The United States Congress designated the Bridger Wilderness (map
) in 1964 and it now has a total of 426,484 acres
All of this wilderness is located in Wyoming
and is managed by the Forest Service.
The Bridger Wilderness is bordered by
the Fitzpatrick Wilderness
to the northeast and the Popo Agie Wilderness
to the southeast.
Jim Bridger, certainly one of the most famous mountain men in American history, is memorialized by this popular Wilderness in the Wind River Range of western Wyoming. This rugged piece of the Rocky Mountains, extending for approximately 80 miles along the western slope of the Continental Divide, contains a unique combination of jagged granite rock, alpine forest, and open alpine meadows. Serving as the headwaters for the mighty Green River, this wilderness holds 7 of the 10 largest glaciers in the Lower 48, more than 2,300 cold crystalline lakes and ponds, and numerous glacier-carved cirques, kettles, valleys, and hanging troughs. Gannett Peak, located on the shared boundary of the Fitzpatrick Wilderness, is the highest point in Wyoming at 13,804 feet, towering above a vast area of stark granite summits that were once thrust violently into the sky by enormous compressional forces within the earth. In addition to the Fitzpatrick Wilderness, the Popo Agie Wilderness and Wind River Indian Reservation also lie directly adjacent to this wilderness on the eastern side of the Divide.
More than 600 miles of trails provide access to this seemingly boundless area. At elevations ranging from 8,000 to 13,000+ feet, it can freeze any night of the year, even after warm, sunny summer days. Snow usually lingers on the high trails and passes until mid or late July, but the lower trails are normally open by late June. Visitors are warned to acclimatize to this high-elevation wilderness to avoid succumbing to high-altitude sickness, which is a life-threatening illness.
In July and August, mosquitoes and biting flies are pesky, making tents and repellant a must. Mule deer, moose, elk, bighorn sheep, gray wolf, grizzly and black bears are just a few of the many wildlife species found in this wilderness. Other Wilderness residents that you are likely to see include bald eagles, yellow-bellied marmots whistling from sun-washed rocks, little round-eared squeaking pikas, and beavers working busily in this water-rich wilderness. Visitors are required to store food and attractants properly to prevent habituating or encountering black and grizzly bears.