Smack dab in the middle of Cowboy Country, Wind River Country is largely unknown outside of Wyoming but that’s precisely the point. With adventure any direction you head, it’s one of the last remaining frontier towns on the way to Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, or Jackson Hole. Whichever way you’re headed, Wind River is a great stopover to break up the trip and get to know one of Wyoming’s best-kept secrets.
Riverton has been both a gathering place and a crossroads for centuries; a place for travelers to disconnect from reality and reconnect with nature, your only neighbors the wildflowers and the wild horses. It’s a place to explore Native American history and heritage on a cultural road trip through the state.
Native American Culture
The Northern Arapaho Tribe has resided on the Wind River Reservation for centuries, and no one knows the region better than them. Beyond serving as a resource to the area, a visit to the Reservation is a place to get immersed in culture and heritage. The Northern Arapaho Experience Room is a year-round in-house museum dedicated to artifacts, painting, photographs, and storytelling of the Arapaho Indians. You can talk to a local elder about his first-hand account of growing up in the tribe and learn about the meaning behind important symbols like the flag and the buffalo. During the summer, there are weekly tribal dances full of vivid regalia and evocative music you don’t want to miss.
Food and Fun
With three restaurants on site, you never need to leave the property if you don’t want to. Red Willow is the place to treat yourself with a splurge meal of steak or lobster. Don’t forget you’re in cattle country so portions are huge. The Buffalo has international favorites like Asian, Italian, and BBQ all under one roof with a decadent dessert bar to top it off. For a midnight snack, Cee Nokuu is open 24/7 and offers Indian tacos and homemade fry bread for all your late-night cravings. It’s the perfect nightcap if you think about it.
A One Stop Vacation Destination
If wild horses, dinosaur digs, whitewater rafting, fishing, or world-class golf sounds exciting, the Wind River Hotel & Casino coordinates day trips with local guides in a broad range of interests and adventure activities.
It’s Jurassic Park brought to life at Wyoming Dinosaur Center. Kids love getting their hands dirty searching for fossil remains and learning about the prehistoric world alongside working paleontologists. Families can participate in a real dinosaur dig and tour the museum in the Warm Springs area, which is home to 10,000 real bones. In fact, 10 rare specimens were found within an hour of the casino.
The Wild Horse Sanctuary is the only one of its kind in the nation, home to over 100 rescued horses deemed unadoptable. The free roaming mustangs reside on a working cattle ranch you can visit on a private tour. Admire their majestic grace and learn about the importance of horses in Native American culture.
For the adrenaline junkies out there, Wind River Canyon is home to some of the most thrilling whitewater in Wyoming. Wiggle into your wetsuit and get ready for a splish splashing good time. With both full and half-day trips available, the full day trip includes lunch in a Native teepee ensuring there are touches of culture even where you least expect it — in the outdoors.