An epic road trip to the West’s most iconic national parks, monuments and memorials is a very popular trend and—especially nowadays with inconsistent COVID rules from location to location–it’s comforting to know there are destinations that are open, one-of-a-kind AND practice COVID-safe protocols.
A fun and culturally fascinating stop near Yellowstone National Park is the Wind River Hotel & Casino located on the Wind River Indian Reservation near Riverton, Wyoming. The casino is only 200 miles from Yellowstone and boasts Vegas style table games and slots in a non-smoking, non-alcohol setting.
This story was created in partnership with the Wind River Hotel & Casino. All photos by Kurt Box.
The Northern Arapaho Tribe owns and operates the Wind River Hotel & Casino and the friendly and attentive staff are tribal members.
The pet-friendly hotel is modern and very clean. The rooms are large and comfortable. Be sure to visit the Northern Arapaho Experience Room just off the lobby. The experience room is a museum offering a fascinating look into the life and culture of the Northern Arapaho tribe with authentic artifacts, clothing, weapons, shelter, artwork, dioramas and historic photos.
After getting settled in your room, head over to the casino (it’s attached) for table games such as poker, blackjack, roulette and craps, Vegas style slots and even a brand-new sportsbook. Responsible gambling is fun, so give it all a try!
You’ll work up an appetite, and you won’t have to look far to fuel your fun. The Buffalo Sportsbook looks and feels like the real deal–and it is. The large room is adorned with multiple large screen TVs, all tuned into various sporting events happening live. The Wind River Casino provides sportsbook rules and instructions when you enter, so after getting settled into the comfortable chairs and couches, you can place your sports bets in one of the many kiosks. Using the kiosks is quite intuitive and exhilarating. Then you can just sit back and enjoy food and refreshments from the café within The Buffalo Sportsbook while watching your team or athlete win you some big money … hopefully.
If you prefer a full-service, fine-dining restaurant to celebrate your recent sportsbook win (we’re optimists around here), The Red Willow Restaurant within the casino fits the bill. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, the Red Willow serves American food at affordable prices in a relaxed atmosphere.
One of the best ways to enjoy your Wind River Hotel & Casino experience is to sign up for a Rewards Card. With a Rewards Card, you can build points to earn benefits such as free slot play, entrance into drawings, and give-a-ways. If you’re going to play, you might as well play with a Rewards Card. Otherwise, you wouldn’t qualify for the free benefits. Rewards Cards are free and can be attained at the Customer Service counter within the casino.
The Wind River Indian Reservation is the closest native reservation to Yellowstone National Park and is well worth a multi-day stop while road tripping between national parks. While in the area, also visit the Reservation’s other businesses: the Little Wind Casino in Ethete about 15 miles from the Wind River Hotel & Casino, and the 789 Smoke Shop & Casino just a short drive down the road.
Currently, the Wind River Hotel & Casino requires protective face masks and other COVID-safe protocols (hand sanitation, temperature checks, encouragement to not shake hands or congregate too closely as well as all self-serve amenities are temporarily closed), making it a place you don’t have to wait to visit.