DISTANCE: 20.0 MILES
Trail Type: Out and Back
Start Location: 1K6 Mount Holmes Trailhead, 9 miles north of The Norris Junction
Total Hiking Time: ~10 hours
Crowd: 2 dayhikers
Animal Sightings: Chipmunks, Ground Squirrels, Marmots, Elk, Bear (likely a cinnamon black)
Low water all through the drainage – your best bet for fishing would be Straight Creek below Grizzly Lake. Easy hike, flat meadow, some shade. Up high in the Winter Meadows, we caught small brookies (our largest was 7″). Water was verrrry low, hot and still-fish flesh was mealy. Non-native trout tolerance area, but if you’re going to fish the high summer, kill the brookies — they’d be too stressed in this warm water anyway. Spruce moth and small caddis, good rises in the late evening and mid-morning—fishing was all up top.
Trailhead parking is tight but manageable. IC4 is right off the trail on the northern edge of the meadow, and a better basecamp for Mt. Holmes than IC5, which is across the meadow on the southern edge. We stayed at IC5, a classic, big stock camp — see Steph’s captions and follow the blazes. Both campsites allow wood fires. Stock up on fast-flowing water coming down from Trilobite Creek by the patrol cabin as water is low (and will be scarce in another month) the rest of the way up to Mt. Holmes.
Seeing so much of the Continental Divide in one frame (including the Tetons) is pretty spectacular. Shade is scarce, so take a break when you find some. Make some noise before you enter wooded high alpine parks around 8,500 feet — the best spots up high are reserved for the top of the food chain. Watch the skies — there’s a long stretch of bare mountainside to climb down if you run into a storm.