This itinerary was created in partnership with Wyoming’s Wind River Country.
Wind River Country in Wyoming is one of the best routes to Jackson and Yellowstone, and is a destination in its own right. From rock climbing to gold panning, from rodeo to mountain biking, Wind River Country has some of the best things to do in Wyoming.
Depending on where you’re coming from, whether you’re heading north from Denver, or motoring south from Jackson or the Tetons, start your road trip either in Lander or Dubois.
Dancing in Dubois
Arrive in Dubois and enjoy an afternoon of small-town life. Dubois is full of art galleries, including local Monte Baker’s art gallery antler carvings. These carved antlers are unlike anything you’ll see anywhere else! Stop at Olsen’s Western Store and Trading Post to browse real Pendleton goods, cowboy boots, and hats. For an incredibly unique opportunity, check out Shotgun Paul for handmade leather and canvas goods.
After an afternoon strolling the wooden sidewalks of downtown, be sure to hit the square dancing at the Rustic Pine Tavern. This event is wild! Visitors and locals from across Wind River Country show up for this weekly social event. Don’t worry if you have limited dancing experience. The caller will walk everyone through the dance moves before you start. Don’t forget to wear your cowboy boots! Some restaurants stay open late just for hungry dancers after the event ends.
See the Art in Riverton
Wake up in Dubois, a true, western small town full of history, culture, and high quality artwork. Head to the Coyote Blue Cafe for breakfast, where you can get a delicious plate of waffles for $6! Enjoy your breakfast upstairs, where local artwork is displayed on the walls, and a big bay window shows off amazing mountain views.
After breakfast, head to Riverton for some downtown exploration. Take Highway 26 east for 1 hour and 15 minutes to get there. Enjoy a delicious lunch at the Roasted Bean, where they have a great list of wines. Afterwards, take a walk over to Sweet Surprises and grab a gourmet cupcake.
Wander through the multiple galleries on Main to browse a variety of local art. You’ll find Native American artwork from the neighboring Wind River Indian Reservation, home of the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone, in Wind River Gallery & Framing.
Don’t forget to check out the comic store while you’re strolling down Main Street! And when you’re on the sidewalk between galleries and shops, gaze up at the large artwork reproductions that add color to the buildings—you can even take a walking tour to see all the artwork around town.
Next, drive to Lander, one of Wyoming’s most unique towns, via Hwy 789 for 25 minutes. You won’t want to miss an afternoon exploring Sinks Canyon State Park and hiking in Sinks Canyon. We recommend the hike to the Popo Agie Falls, roughly three miles round trip that ends with a gorgeous waterfall!
Eat dinner at the most delicious Thai restaurant in the county: Thai Chef. You can also choose from one of the many other restaurants in town, such as Cowfish, the Gannett Grill, or The Hitching Rack.
Get Outside in Lander
Wake up in “Landiego” and grab a healthy breakfast at The Juicery. Go with the Ruby Red smoothie and a sausage breakfast burrito. The Juicery specializes in organic and locally-sourced ingredients. Their cute atmosphere and bulletin board of events will let you know exactly what’s going on in town during your visit.
After breakfast, explore downtown Lander. If you need to rent a mountain bike for your adventures, head to Gannett Peak Sports or The Bike Mill. Their friendly staffs will help you find a mountain bike for the day, or tune your bike up for you! If you’re hiking or climbing, Wild Iris Mountain Sports will have everything you need for your adventure.
To head into the Wind River Mountains, go for a drive on the Loop Road. This road begins with the switchbacks at the top of Sinks Canyon and drives a beautiful alpine loop through the Shoshone National Forest. Peer into the Wind River Range, go for a day hike from one of its many trailheads, or hang out by an alpine lake. The Loop Road connects with some of the best rivers and lakes for fly fishing, mountain biking trails, and climbing access. Enjoy this 65-mile loop (part of it is paved and part of it is on gravel roads) that includes a crossing of the Continental Divide, and pop out just a couple miles from Wild Iris, one of the best sport climbing areas in the world.
For dinner, stop into Atlantic City before heading back to Lander. Atlantic City, an old gold-mining ghost town, boasts a population of “about 57” and has high history per square foot. Pull up a stool and drink a beer at the Mercantile, a bar that’s truly representative of the western frontier. Then head next door to enjoy a burger at the Miner’s Grubsteak. We recommend the stuffed burger— it’s their specialty!
Day 4 (Optional)
Extend Your Stay
Can’t get enough of the west? Head through Ft. Washakie and the Wind River Indian Reservation to get back to Dubois for the Friday night rodeo! This rodeo is small and full of local competitors. The spirit of the event is fun and family friendly.
There are so many things to do in Wyoming, especially in Wind River Country. This itinerary really only scratches the surface. Check out our other articles and itineraries for more ideas on how to have the best Wyoming experience!