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may the repellent force be with you
The Scab Creek Trailhead offers an excellent lesser-traveled route into the Wind River Range backcountry. Dream Lake is an excellent destination and base camp for backcountry exploring and fishing. However, the highlight for many may be the sprawling meadow flanking the upper reaches of the South Fork of Boulder Creek.
The trail begins by climbing immediately from the trailhead as it ascends a steep slope of sagebrush on its way to the cover of the forest that the trail will remain under for much of the hike. The steeper initial climb levels out around two and a half miles, and then the trail gently climbs through the forest on its way to Dream Lake. The trail passes several small meadows, tarns, and subalpine lakes on its way to Dream Lake. At approximately four miles, the Toboggan Lakes are the first notable lakes to appear then one will pass the popular Divide Lake at a little over six miles in, and shortly after that, one passes the larger of the Lightning Lakes, which lies adjacent to a scenic meadow that offers the first views of the Wind River Range's dramatic granite skyline.
The trail will continue to meander through a pleasant forest of lodgepole pine, subalpine fir and whitebark pine, among others for nearly another two miles before the massive meadow area of the South Fork comes into full view. The sprawling meadow along the South Fork of Boulder Creek with its backdrop of Pronghorn Peak, Mount Bonneville and Raid Peak offers some of the finest scenery in the Wind River Range. A split in the trail and a signed junction is reached immediately after descending into the meadow. Take the left fork to Dream Lake. An easy ford of a few channels of the South Fork will present itself shortly after the intersection, and then it's a generally direct line to Dream Lake. If backpacking, find one of the many available campsites and set up your temporary home for the night or multiple nights. Strong hikers can take advantage of the excellent trail and gentle grades and complete this as an ambitious 22-mile day hike.
Campsites must be at least 200 feet away from a lakeshore or forest service system trail and 100 feet away from streams, creeks, or springs.
Bugs are a predominant theme of Wind River Range backcountry travel. Prepare accordingly, Deet, Permethrin, bug nets, force fields, etc. There were several major downfall areas along the trail to Dream Lake, however, established reroutes have been made by outfitters. Some of the reroutes are a little meandering because they need to be horse-friendly, but they are easy to spot and follow. There is an excellent "fee free" campground at the trailhead with potable water and outhouses.
Check out the Official Route and Triplog.