The Encampment River
begins in Colorado, and flows northwesterly through the Sierra Madre
Mountains into the North Platte. Much of the river flows thru BLM or
Bow National Forest land and partly Encampment River Wilderness.
Wyoming's smallest Wilderness,
approximately 16 square miles, is a strip less than one mile wide in
the southern portion that widens to about five miles near the northern
boundary. Throughout the canyon, the river runs from wild rapids to
peacefully placid stretches, and is home to brook, rainbow, and brown
trout (the fishing can be worth the hike). Sagebrush grows on the open
slopes, and the canyon is full of riparian vegetation.
The Encampment River Trail runs the length of
this narrow, rugged river canyon and is one of the main
attractions of the Wilderness. The lower five miles are
relatively easy to hike, although the terrain becomes
increasingly difficult in the remaining 10 upper miles. The
trail receives moderate use by hikers. Along the way you'll pass
ruins of old cabins and mining operations. You may see members
of a large wildlife population: mule deer, elk, Rocky Mountain
bighorn sheep. The river runs wildly over rocks, creating rapids
that only expert kayakers dare to attempt.
Fishing the Encampment is rewarding, but
can be difficult as many holding areas requires some extensive hiking.
The river varies from about 20 to 40 feet in width and is not too
deep. In late spring and early summer the lower section of the river
is floatable. The remainder
of the year the Encampment can be fished with hip waders.
Access: There are
several access area available, however a majority of the anglers will
elect to use two the first being at the south end, which allows you to
fish the upper stretches of the river in Medicine Bow National Forest.
This area can be reached by leaving Riverside and traveling west on WY
Hwy 70 to Forest Road 550. This access is near Hog Park Reservoir. The
second access is at the north end, very close to the town of
Encampment. This part of the river is on BLM land, and there is a BLM
campground close to the river.
Encampment River provides some good brown and rainbow fishing in an
remote and peaceful wilderness environment.