There’s so much incredible scenery in Wind River County it’s hard to see it all. One way that will help you is exploring our extensive off-road vehicle trails. Maybe it’s because I don’t get to ride them very often, but even when headed down a flat road I always feel that sense of adventure when on an ATV.
There are trails across Wind River Country ranging from easy two-track roads, to technical terrain.
Know Before You Go
You’ll need a license plate or an ATV registration sticker before you ride. The $15 state registration cost goes back to the state for trails work, while a license plate allows you to drive on roads and streets.
You can buy your stickers at Wind River Power Sports, Lander Marine and Kawasaki and the Popo Agie One Stop.
I asked Jim Smail, an Off Vehicle Ranger with the Forest Service, and ATV enthusiast, where he’d recommend to check out riding.
“I’d get a map from the Wyoming State Trails Department for ATVs, decide whether you want a mountain day or a desert day and go,” he said.
There are trails on public land all over Fremont County, including between Riverton and Shoshoni, between Lander and Farson, across Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management land and all around Dubois. There are dirt roads you can ride easily or technical, steep and rocky hills that will take you to places like Shoshone Lake. But make sure you follow the rules and signs: Some areas are “open” to riding anywhere, some are only for existing or designated ATV trails and roads. Depending on the rules, it can be illegal to go off trail on public lands. And don’t forget to ride safely. Carry a map, wear a helmet and let people know where you are going and when you’ll be back.
Forrest Kamminga, regional supervisor with the Wyoming State Trails Department, had a few more specific suggestions mentioning several in the Lander area like Christina Lake Trail (off the Sinks Canyon Loop Road up Sinks Canyon). He also recommended exploring Fossil Hill, which you can reach after driving up the switchbacks at the end of Sinks Canyon. The parking lot (and a public restroom) is on the left hand side at the top of the switchbacks.
In the South Pass area there are tons of two-track roads on BLM land that are scenic and will give you a sense of having wide open spaces all to yourself. You can ride your ORV on any two-track on BLM or Forest Service land.
And if you don’t have your own ATV, Dubois also has outfitters who rent and guide ATV trips. There are several trails near Dubois. One of the nicest is the Burroughs trail, which is a user-friendly loop so you don’t have to double back. To find the trailhead start in the town of Dubois. In the center of town turn onto the Horse Creek Road and follow it to the trailhead.
From Riverton you can jump on the Rails to Trails trail a nice mellow ride. One day that trail will connect all the way to Boysen State Park near Shoshoni, Kamminga said. It’s part of a long-term plan expanding our already excellent trail system. What will happen sooner are new trails around Boysen State Park, where a master plan calls for a new network of places to ride.
There are a few new trails planned near the reservoir and repairs are also planned for existing trails in the area. If you come to Fremont County to ride, make sure to grab a current map from the State Trails office, or the Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management.
Jim Smail has been an Off Road Vehicle Ranger for eight years, ever since he retired from his job with the Wyoming State Trails office. The Forest Service is constantly clearing fallen trees and maintaining trails. Smail also is constantly meeting other riders. There have always been a large number of people who visit Wind River Country to ride their ATVs, but Smail has seen the sport grow- even in the last five years there are more people on the trails. And those people are all ages. ATVing is a family sport- even the dogs come along. “I meet the nicest dogs on routine patrols,” Smail said. “Dogs seem to be a very important part of ATVing.”
Smail retired and then started working for the Forest Service, a job he loves because it gets him out into the mountains doing what he’d want to be doing anyway- riding the trails.
When I asked how riding these trails would be different than walking or hiking them, Smail’s answer was simple. You cover more ground on ATVs. You get the same stunning scenery, the same wildness, just more.
I think I need to spend a little more time on an ATV.
- Experienced snowmobile guide service for beginner to extreme riders out of Lava Mountain Lodge. Bring your own sled.
- In operation since the 1930's, the fish hatchery raises rainbow, cutthroat and brown trout to stock lakes and rivers. Call ahead to schedule a tour.
- See the history of the Upper Wind River Valley including the Sheep Eater Indians. Tours arranged by special request.
- Eagle Bronze FoundryCall for availability of tours.
- Explore life-size dioramas and hands-on exploration of the Whiskey Mountain Herd of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep. Wildlife viewing tours by appointment Nov-March. 24 hour notice required.
- Real Wyoming AdventuresExplore the Red Desert and see Wild Horses, Desert Elk, raptors and other wildlife. Customized tours of historical trails.
- Off road, dual sport, OHV, UTV Side-By-Side, snowmobile, SUV 4 wheel drive adventure originate 10 minutes from our central Dubois booking location. Explore the area with our team or drive yourself with maps and GPS. Standard and custom packages available. Bring your own units or have us rent one for you.
- Warm Valley Native ToursTour historical sites on the Wind River Indian Reservation, including Sacajawea and Chief Washakie cemetery sites. Custom tours available. Step-on guide services.
- Private tours specializing in the backcountry in the Lander and Riverton areas. Learn about ghost towns, historic trails, geology, wildlife, culture and history.