October 15, 2021

As the new year approaches, many conversations revolve around setting New Year’s resolutions. We know that goals surrounding fitness, living life more fully, financial security and traveling more top resolution lists, and while we sit here in Wyoming’s Wind River Country, toasting with local brews, and planning snowy adventures, we thought we’d help you stick to your resolutions with a grin.

1. Travel more

Wyoming’s Wind River Country is the epitome of the open road. Highways stretch for hours across ever-changing scenery, punctuated by cultural, historical and geological waypoints. Lose yourself in the vistas, find yourself on the road. Pick up a self-guided driving tour for directions, distances, highlights and local secrets, or review your options here.

But there’s more to traveling than just roads. Buzz along on the Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail, and you’ll be as far from any interstate as any traveler would hope to find themself. This trail system, a star among snowmobile routes, stretches from Togwotee Pass and the entrance to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, down the spine of America along the Continental Divide to Lander. Over 600 miles of groomed trails and thousands of acres of pristine snow wait to satisfy your wanderlust and sense of adventure. Every mile is part of the destination when you travel by snowmobile on the Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail.

Wind River Country
Winter riding on Togwotee Pass. Photo: Wyoming Office of Tourism

2. Get fit

Calories fly when you’re having fun. Why set yourself up for misery and an abandoned resolution in January by making the sweating and groaning obligatory? Spend a day hiking, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing through the breathtaking mountains, awe-inspiring deserts or romantic forests of Wind River Country, and you’ll find you’ve developed a lightness to your step and a smile on your face.

Wind River Country has endless trails and paths to enjoy a snowy trek. Shoshone National Forest near Dubois will never disappoint. Specifically, Sheridan Creek camping area and Falls Campground are two great places to start. Additionally, just a short drive outside of Lander, you’ll find the Popo Agie Falls Trail and the Nature Trail in Sinks Canyon.

To bring in the New Year, Sinks Canyon State Park is hosting their Annual First Day Hike. It will be a guided hike, approximately one mile in length and will take roughly one hour to complete. The trail is mild, and all ages are welcome. If you don’t own a pair of snowshoes, call ahead to reserve a pair. The event will be a celebration of 2022 and a fun way to learn about winter in Sinks Canyon.

Snowshoeing Wind River Country
Snowshoeing near Dubois. Photo: Bill Sincavage

3. Get strong

It is possible to “get pumped” while you get a winter tan, some fresh air and experience a thrilling and unique adventure. Just outside of Lander, Sinks Canyon State Park is home to south-facing walls that makes for some of the best year-round rock climbing out there. There is climbing for every ability from 5.6-5.14c. No crowded gym, just fresh air, functional strength and a new healthy habit. Plus, the views of the Canyon from the base of those towering Dolomite walls are unlike any other.

Wind River Country winter climbing
Winter climbing in Sinks Canyon. Photo: Melanie Hoefle

4. Improve your financial situation

“Save more, spend less” sounds so boring when you could just pass a little time sitting by a beautiful river and panning for gold to line your pockets. One of Wyoming’s oldest towns, Atlantic City, and neighboring South Pass City have a rich history in gold fever. Though the boom and riches of yore have faded, the memories and the occasional fleck of gold still shine bright. Though you won’t bring home a fortune, you’ll leave Atlantic City and South Pass City State Historic Site feeling a little richer.

Another New Year’s Day celebration will be at South Pass City. Grab your cross-country skis and head over to South Pass City on January 1 for the annual festivities. If you don’t have skis, bring good boots or snowshoes, and dress warm for the snowy two-mile hike. A guide will bring history to life, talking about the day to day life of miners that called South Pass City home. This event is free, and refreshments are served trailside, courtesy of the Friends of South Pass.

5. Take more photos

Wind River Country couldn’t be more beautiful, and each season has its own photogenic allure. Whether it’s the captivatingly colorful trees of fall, the shimmery summer lakes in the mountains, the bluebird skies on an icy winter day, or the hopeful warmth of spring as blossoms and baby animals start to show up, there’s never a bad time to be out and about snapping shots and making memories.

Boysen State Park is having another First Day Hike and Photo Contest to start out 2022. Hike anywhere on your own in the park, and then post your photos on the Park’s event Facebook page. Participants are urged to wear adequate clothing; most sites will offer coffee, hot chocolate, refreshments, prizes and campfires at the end of the hike. This event is suitable for everyone, and leashed dogs are welcome.

Wind River Country Mountains
Capturing the mountains. Photo: Wind River Country

6. Get outside of your comfort zone

Sure, Wyoming is still cowboy country, and yes, it’s still necessary to clarify if you mean horses or bikes when you invite a friend out for a ride. However, rugged and wild Wind River Country isn’t necessarily any better suited to four hooves than two wheels. With an active cycling community building trails and events across the county, you’re sure to find a mountain bike trail network that will thrill and challenge you just enough.

Wind River Country Dude Ranch
Dude ranch trail ride. Photo: Kristin Foster

7. See the world

Gannett Peak Wind River Country
Gannett Peak over the Dinwoody. Photo: Scott Copeland

Wyoming’s tallest peak, Gannett Peak, reaches up 13,804 feet into the sky. From that elevation, and after accomplishing that climb, you feel as if you can see the world. This mountain sits deep in the Wind River Range for which Wind River Country is named. It’s an expedition and an accomplishment worth celebrating in your year-end wrap-up.

8. Spend less, save more

Okay, so maybe the whole “strike it rich in a historic boom town” thing isn’t realistic enough to count as an answer to your fiscally responsible resolution. But Wyoming’s Wind River Country can. Find all that the West has to offer without the expense of spending an entire week based in an expensive resort. The Circle the Continental Divide driving itinerary will take you through Wyoming’s only Indian reservation, Riverton—the Rendezvous City, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, to rodeos and powwows, on hikes and horseback rides, and much more. Discover all that the West has to offer on an affordable vacation option. You won’t feel like you’ve missed out—in fact, you’ll realize you’ve discovered something special.

9. Spend more time with family and friends

Wind River Country is an incredible place for families to come together and create some remarkable memories. You just might discover your kids love hiking—especially if the hike leads to a wild waterslide down a waterfall. Dude ranches, square dances, bike trails and fishing tales will keep everyone in the crew smiling.

Kids activities at the horse corral. Photo: Kristin Foster
Kids activities at the horse corral. Photo: Kristin Foster

10. Read More

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This blog is modified from one that was originally posted on December 30, 2016. Special thanks to the original author, Casey Adams.

Posted in Notes From the Field, Featured Events