This itinerary was created by Robin Smathers, a finalist in Travel Wyoming's 2019 Fly Your WY Road Trip contest. The winner of this contest will receive a trip to Wyoming's Wind River Country.
Explore some of Wyoming's most beautiful mountain ranges along this three-day road trip that follows the Rockies to Tetons route, starting near the Snowy Range in southeast Wyoming, winding through the Wind River Range and ending at Grand Teton National Park. Be sure to take in the stunning sights – and fascinating history – along the way.
Day 1: Discovery on the Road to Dubois
Your trip begins in southeast Wyoming, just across the Colorado-Wyoming border. Enter the the Snowy Range, which includes the 12,005 ft. Medicine Bow Peak, through its gateway city of Laramie. Leave early enough to catch the rays of the rising sun stretching over the herds of antelope among the cattle in the scenic valley outside of town. You can continue along I-80, or if you'd like to get closer to the mountains (and have a vehicle that allows for it) take WY-130 W toward the Snowies.
Plan a coffee stop or late breakfast in historic Centennial, home of a Union Pacific railroad depot museum. From here drive west into Medicine Bow-Routte National Forest, stopping off for a hike or scenic vista. Nothing compares to picnicking amid majestic 360° views in the crisp air beneath glaciers at Mirror Lake. Keep a lookout for mule deer, moose, marmots and coyotes as you ease down from the breathtaking elevation into Saratoga, where you will get glimpses of the Overland Trail.
Reconnect with I-80 to US-287 to continue north toward Lander, passing Muddy Gap, Independence Rock and Split Rock, where early Mormons trudged with all their belongings on handcarts toward Salt Lake City. Feeling adventurous? Take a short detour south along WY-28 W to the restored ghost town of South Pass City and the Carissa Gold Mine on the edge of the Oregon Trail. You can take a self-guided or guided tour of the Carissa Gold Mine, which made South Pass City a gold boom town in the late 1860s. There you will also find a monument to Esther Morris, the first woman Justice of the Peace in the United States and a woman often cited in Wyoming’s leadership in the early suffrage movement.
After your detour, continue to Lander with a stop at Sinks Canyon State Park, where the Popo Agie River spectacularly disappears into the mountain then reappears one mile down the road at The Rise. Next, relish dinner at The Oxbow, a Lander family restaurant specializing in a fresh salad bar and a diverse menu of your favorite comfort foods. As you continue northwest to Dubois, pull off the road at Fort Washakie to visit the unique gravesites of Sacajawea – the memorable guide of the Lewis & Clark expedition – and Chief Washakie, famous for his battle at Crowheart Butte, which rises on your right as you near your destination. Approaching Dubois through the vividly red Absaroka Range, the new National Museum of Military Vehicles stands on your left.
Sinks Canyon State Park
Finally, arrive at the Longhorn Ranch Resort, nestled beneath scenic rock formations of the Absarokas, or choose from a variety of Dubois lodging options. After settling into your cozy western-decor room, you might partake in a little evening fishing in the Wind River or, if it’s a Friday summer night, don your cowboy hat & take in the Dubois Rodeo.