An exciting and cultural stop between Devils Tower and Yellowstone: Wyoming’s Wind River Hotel & Casino

Casinos can feel like a cookie-cutter experience—if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all, but that was not the case for Wind River Hotel and Casino. We even had the opportunity to experience one of their weekly traditional Northern Arapaho dance exhibitions performed by tribal members in colorful regalia and accompanied by a singing and drumming circle.
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Days on the road in a vast state like Wyoming can become exhausting (even if you’re sitting for hours) so when we found the Wind River Hotel and Casino on our drive between Devil’s Tower National Monument and Yellowstone National Park, my partner and I breathed a sigh of relief. Not only were we ready to get out and stretch our legs, but we were also pleasantly surprised to find great food, exciting games, and rich cultural history all in one place. In addition to the hotel attached to the casino, there is also ample RV parking with stunning views of the Wind River Mountains right from our site. The Wind River Hotel and Casino is the perfect oasis in the high desert plains of central Wyoming.

This story was created in partnership with the Wind River Hotel and Casino. All photos by Kirk Rasmussen.

Local History and Hospitality

collage of cultural experiences at the Wind River Hotel and Casino

The Wind River Hotel and Casino is on the Wind River Indian Reservation and is managed by local Northern Arapaho tribal members. When we arrived, I was excited to see how much local art and character was infused into the hotel and casino. There was even a bison statue there to greet us in the lobby!

Casinos can feel like a cookie-cutter experience—if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all, but that was not the case for Wind River Hotel and Casino. We even had the opportunity to experience one of their weekly traditional Northern Arapaho dance exhibitions performed by tribal members in colorful regalia and accompanied by a singing and drumming circle. It was such a special part of our stay and gave me even more appreciation for the uniqueness of this place!

In addition to the dances and art, we also explored the Northern Arapaho Experience Room, an exhibit that showcases local and historical artifacts from the Wind River Reservation and Northern Arapaho culture. We thoroughly enjoyed learning so much about the Northern Arapaho tribe and were really glad to be supporting a locally owned and operated business.

Sometimes it IS all fun and games!

Collage of gaming pictures at Wind River Hotel and Casino

As I mentioned before, coming to a casino can feel like a deja vu experience, and although the Wind River Casino has top notch slot machines and card tables that you may see in Reno or Vegas, it was the dealers and staff who made our time much more enjoyable! The dealers we had at the Black Jack and Craps tables were personable and patient in explaining the games when we needed help. The Wind River Hotel and Casino is still requiring masks but even under the masks you could tell we were all smiling and laughing together. We tried many different styles of slot machines, from the classic lever pull, to a fully interactive (vibrating chairs and all) Wheel of Fortune slot machine. I felt like I was in an arcade for adults! We were glad that we decided to apply for the handy rewards cards and use them at the machines rather than dealing with cash. Plus, the more we played the more points we earned to receive benefits and opportunities to be entered into different giveaways!

The other fun gambling option offered at the casino is The Buffalo Sportsbook. I had never done any sports betting before, but I thought “when in Rome!” and the comfy seating area and user-friendly kiosks made it enjoyable. We had a blast making bets, razzing each other, and celebrating over a delicious pizza, courtesy of The Buffalo restaurant, where The Sportsbook is located.

A Variety of Dining Options 

collage of photos showing dining options at wind river hotel and casino

Upon our arrival at the hotel and casino, we knew that before any slots or games, we had to fill our stomachs. We were worried that showing up at 10 p.m. meant that we were going to be stuck with vending machine snacks when we excitedly found that the Cee Nokuu Cafe was still open! I had my very first Indian taco—all of the classic taco fillings on fluffy fry bread. It seriously hit the spot, and was the fuel I needed for the rest of the night. The following day we were also able to get some coffee and pastries from the Cee Nokuu Cafe. The Buffalo, that I spoke of earlier, had the perfect food to pair with your favorite sports games: waffle fry nachos, freshly made pizza, and juicy burgers! To cap off our stay at the Wind River Casino, we got a table at the higher end Red Willow restaurant, situated right next to The Buffalo. The high quality food and ambiance was a nice complement to the bright lights and indulgent food experience in the casino. I think both of us would agree that the dining experiences we had were definitely a highlight of our stay! 

Making the Wind River Hotel and Casino a stop between the geologic (and cultural) wonders of Devils Tower and Yellowstone is entertaining, informative, and comfortable—a win-win for national parks road trippers!

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Photo credit: @trip_with_hari via Instagram

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