Red Gulch Alkali Backcountry Byway

The Route of Ancient Creatures

Over 167 million years ago, you would have been walking with dinosaurs on the shore of the Sundance Sea, where patches of deep ocean water alternated with dry land and areas covered with limy mud. Perfectly preserved dinosaur tracks were discovered here in 1997, completely changing the views of the formation of the sea and the paleo-environment that existed in the Middle Jurassic period in North America. Today, you can view dozens of dinosaur tracks at the Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite on the Red Gulch/Alkali Backcountry Byway, Route 49 between Shell and Ten Sleep. Along the Red Gulch Road, you can also see the red hills of the Chugwater formation, formed 230 million years ago, when the sea did cover most of Wyoming. Later, rugged, steep canyons, caves and unique table rocks were eroded by water and carved by wind. The massive Big Horn Mountains looming overhead were mere kids, at 60 million years old. Along the route, time comes closer with the evidence of Paleo-Indian mammoth hunters who passed this way 12,000 years ago and the piles of rocks left by sheepherders in the 1800s, as they tended their flocks on the hillsides. This is likely the most unusual scenic byway in all of Wyoming. Take your time, explore the ancient history and savor the remoteness of the place.

Itinerary Overview

Suggested Time:

4 Days | 3 Nights

This itinerary was created in partnership with National Travel Center.

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Red Gulch Alkali Backcountry Byway

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Red Gulch Alkali Backcountry Byway

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