Half Moon Lake
Page Summary: Half Moon Lake hides in a forested pocket behind the ridge of Half Moon Mountain, just 10 miles northeast of Pinedale.
Half Moon Lake, 10 miles from Pinedale, hides in a forested pocket behind the imposing ridge of Half Moon Mountain, just northeast of the town. A commercial resort as well as Bridger-Teton National Forest facilities offer a wide range of recreational opportunities in this intimate and scenic setting.Fishing, boating, camping and hiking are very popular at Half Moon. Brown trout, brook trout, rainbows, whitefish and Mackinaw (lake trout) await the angler on this jewel of Wind River Mountain lakes. A National Forest boat launch and campground provide picnic tables, some trailer pull-throughs, vault toilets, fire grates, and refuse container. There is no drinking water. The campground is located in trees and willows adjacent to the lake. A sandy beach on the water's edge is great fun for the little ones to play on and build sand castles. Water activities include canoeing, water skiing, personal water craft and inner tubing. The road from the campground makes a pleasant walk or relaxed mountain bike excursion along the lake's edge. Bring your camera, as deer are very common in the area and frequently seen from the road.
Half Moon Lake Resort offers a full-service marina, restaurant, and bait & tackle shop, where souvenirs and t-shirts are also available. Pack trips, hunting and fishing guides, rental boats and party barges, as well as overnight accommodations in the resort's cabins, are available by reservation. Newly renovated log guest cabins are secluded among the trees on the slope rising behind the resort lodge. The cabins offer guests a gorgeous view of the lake and forest, and make a wonderful honeymoon getaway for a couple, or basecamp for a family wanting a quiet vacation in the mountains.
Beyond Half Moon Lake Resort, the trailhead at the end of the dirt road is the starting point for a variety of hiking adventures, from an hour's stroll or day hike to strenuous backpacking into the high country. A hike along the northern lakeshore takes in sagebrush hillsides, aspen stands and pine forest, with summer wildflowers or blazing fall colors brightening the air. Adventurers may want to explore the inlet territory above the northeast corner of the lake, where Pole Creek spills down from Fayette Lake via a small waterfall. There is no bridge crossing this stream, so if you choose to cross be prepared to get wet or cross carefully on horseback. Several rugged trails give access to the high country and Bridger Wilderness; for more information contact the Pinedale Ranger District office.
Half Moon Lake is also a winter destination for ice fishermen, and when conditions permit, ice skaters. Half Moon Lake Resort is a good place to warm up between trips out on the ice. The resort hosts an annual youth hockey tournament on the lake just outside the lodge, and sometimes maintains a small rink for freestyle skating.
To reach Half Moon Lake, take the Fremont Lake Road north out of Pinedale. The turnoff for Half Moon Lake is approximately 8 miles from town. A narrow, winding gravel road descends to the lake and skirts the north shore, bringing you to the National Forest boat launch and campground in two miles. A half-mile further is Half Moon Lake Resort. A Forest Service trailhead and day-use picnic area lie just beyond the Resort. If you plan to fish, be sure to pick up current Wyoming Game and Fish Department regulations for the area when you purchase your fishing license.
Large trailers and RVs are not recommended on this road beyond the boat ramp. The road to Half Moon Lake Resort is plowed in the winter when the resort is but some vehicles may have difficulty on snow packed, steep grades. Four wheel and all wheel drive vehicles are recommended in the winter. In the summer, sedans will have no trouble on the gravel road.
For information about National Forest facilities, call the Pinedale Ranger District at . For information about Half Moon Lake Resort visit www.halfmoonlake.com.