Big Sandy Cirque of the Towers
ElevationAscent: 2,320' 707 m
Descent: -2,320' -707 m
High: 10,781' 3,286 m
Low: 9,100' 2,774 m
GradeAvg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 38% (21°)
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“A beautiful run passing several lakes and views of one of the most beautiful cirques in the U.S.”— Tomsen Reed
The highlight of the trail is at its culmination where you ascend to the knoll by Jackass Pass and can see almost the entire Cirque of the Towers and its associated peaks and pinnacles.
If you are looking for a shorter days on the trails, after you have spent some time at the beautiful Big Sandy Lake, you can simply retrace your steps back to where you started. If you are feeling more adventurous - continue on!
From the north side of the lake, you start switchbacking up through some steeper terrain and cross a stream on your way up to North Lake (also known as Lake 10105), and then the terrain starts to get even rockier and involve some short sections of scrambling. As you go around North Lake, you'll descend to its head below Mitchell Peak and then ascend again as you go around a rocky ridge. After a short but strenuous ascent, you'll reach a junction in the trail.
Either path you take from this junction will lead to Jackass Pass, but if you take the path to the left, it involves more scrambling over some very large boulders on the west side of Arrowhead Lake. If you take the path to the right, there is less scrambling (but more elevation gain and loss).
Assuming you follow the map and take the path to the right, you get up to a point where you can see Arrowhead Lake, where you'll again need to descend to get to the final uphill portion to go up to Jackass Pass. If you go up just a little bit farther to the knoll above (to the southwest of) the pass, you can get amazing views of the Cirque, the glaciers that sit below the towers in the cirque, as well as views of Lonesome Lake and some other alpine lakes.
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Land Manager: USFS - Bridger Teton National Forest Office