There is a reason why Riverton, Wyoming is called the Rendezvous City. It sits at a crossroad of the past and the present. Where Native tribes and mountain men would meet at the joining of the Big Wind and Little Wind Rivers, where modern-day industry and progress meet the Wild West, and where big-city amenities meet small-town hospitality.
Founded in 1906, Riverton may be one of the youngest towns in Wyoming, but it has grown up fast thanks to the proximity it has to, well, everything.
With a population of almost 11,000, the city has a number of great restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops. The historic downtown Main Street is packed with businesses and boutiques.
A little trip through the West
As the site of the fur trade’s 1830 and 1838 Rendezvous, Riverton played host to many of the legendary names of this early part of the exploration of the west.
Jim Bridger, William Sublette, Kit Carson, and Jedediah Smith are giants of the legends and lore of the mountain man, and they walked this ground. The city’s dedication to this history is unquestionable.
Every year, Riverton hosts the 1838 Mountain Man Rendezvous Days.
If there is one thing to add and subsequently cross off your bucket list, it’s this celebration of the earliest days of the history and exploration of the American West.
Held every July, it is a time-portal, of sorts, to experiencing everything that made up the lives of these remarkable men.
There are seminars on fire starting with flint and steel, dutch oven cooking, flint knapping, teepee set-up and organization, various trapping methods, historical information about the era; the list goes on. If the mountain man or Native tribes of the area lived it, you can experience it.
Can’t quite get here during the Rendezvous Days? Riverton has you covered. There are two unsurpassed museums, the Heritage and Wildlife Center and the Riverton Museum, and they both have fantastic exhibits dedicated to the area.
All this adds up to make Riverton a great base to explore Wind River Country.
Riverton’s Front and Back Yard
Right out the front door of Riverton is the hiking, biking and climbing that can be found in the Wind River Mountains. It’s slightly over three hours to Yellowstone and an hour to the thermal hot springs of Thermopolis and the exquisite Wind River Canyon.
Wind River Canyon is one of the most beautiful drives in the country and is designated a scenic by-way for good reason. Cliffs tower 2,500 feet above the Wind River and the two-lane highway that hugs its banks. But it’s not the drive that the canyon is most famous for; it’s the adventure. The river drops over 300 vertical feet from the start of the canyon at Boysen Dam to the mouth near Thermopolis and is chock full of monster trout and monster rapids. Wind River Canyon Whitewater & Flyfishing Outfitter, a Native American-owned business, is the only outfitter permitted to raft/fish in the Indian Reservation portion of the canyon. Contact them and float the canyon. You won’t regret it.
The sports-person’s paradises of Boysen Reservoir, Ocean Lake, and Lake Cameahwait is literally in the back yard and offers everything from trophy fishing to boating and windsurfing.
Get Some Culture
Directly to the West is the fourth largest Native American reservation in the United States, the Wind River Indian Reservation.
Home to the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho people, the reservation holds many traditional festivals and celebrations throughout the year, many of which are open to the public.
Feeling lucky? The reservation is also home to two hotel and casinos; The Shoshone Rose Casino and Hotel, outside of Lander, and the Wind River Hotel and Casino, right outside Riverton.
Explore Riverton From Above
Ever dreamed of floating at bird level silently above some of the most staggeringly beautiful country in the United States? Of course you have. Well then, come to Riverton and experience one of the single greatest festivals in the state of Wyoming.
The Riverton Balloon Rally is three amazing days of parades, celebrations, air shows, car shows, tethered balloon rides, art exhibits and fireworks. It’s just a really really good time, and that’s all there is to it.
The Gathering Place
Riverton, The Rendezvous City. Does that name make sense now? It should, because the definition of rendezvous is a gathering place to exchange ideas, commodities and goods.
That is Riverton’s heartbeat. So come and explore this city nestled at the juncture of two rivers in the shadow of the mountains, and place your fingers on the pulse of the living west.