August 24, 2017

Red Canyon. Photo: Randy Wise
Red Canyon. Photo: Randy Wise

Headed south from Yellowstone toward I-80? It’s too far to go without stretching your legs, so you might as well stop at places that will stretch your Yellowstone vacation into a little something more. Go beyond Yellowstone and take highway 287 to highway 28 for an authentic, scenic route home.

Togwotee Pass, Wyoming Centennial Scenic Byway

The full length of Togwotee Pass delivers magnificent mountain vistas, the crossing of the Continental Divide, exceptional opportunities for wildlife viewing, and stunning stops along the way for short hikes.

National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Center, Dubois

10 Stops You Must Make Between Yellowstone and I-80
National Bighorn Sheep Center. Photo: Wind River Country

Examine life-size dioramas and take a hands-on exploration of the Whiskey Mountain Herd of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep habitat in the Interpretive Center. If you arrive in the fall, staff will take you on a wildlife tours to spot the biggest herd in the Lower 48.

Torrey Creek Falls, Dubois

Torrey Lake Petroglyphs, Dubois. Photo: Josh Milek
Photo: Josh Milek

Approximately four miles east of Dubois, take a drive on National Forest Road 411 past Torrey, Ring, and Trail Lakes. All the lakes have fishing, camping, and picnicking, and you’ll get the chance to check out ancient Native American petroglyphs and maybe a herd of bighorn sheep on the way. The road dead ends at the Forest Service’s Trail Lake Trailhead, where you’ll be able to hike to the waterfall of Torrey Creek. A portion of 411 goes through private land, so please do not stray off the road until you reach the parking area.

Crowheart Butte Pullout, Crowheart

Crowheart Butte. Photo: Scott Copeland
Photo: Scott Copeland

Many variations of the story have been told over the generations, but it is generally agreed that a battle between the Shoshone tribe under Chief Washakie and the Crow tribe took place at this landmark in 1866. The tribes fought a long battle until the chiefs agreed to a duel to determine the outcome. The victory went to the Shoshone and affirmed their hunting grounds. Crowheart Butte was so named in memory of that event.

Bull Lake, Wind River Reservation

Bull Lake lies in a glaciated valley that formerly held a smaller natural lake. An earthen Bull Lake Dam turned this natural lake into 152,000 cubic feet of fishing, boating, and birdwatching joy.

Wind River Trading Post, Fort Washakie

10 Stops You Must Make Between Yellowstone and I-80
Photo: Wind River Native Gifts

Browse an impressive collection of artifacts and artwork of the Shoshone and Arapaho people. Learn about the displays from the locals who run the shop and contribute their work. Shop for rugs, pottery, beadwork, sculptures, jewelry, and more.

You can also find authentic, locally made artwork on the Wind River Native gifts website and at Indian Territory, located on Main Street in Lander.

Pioneer Museum & Museum of the American West, Lander

Fremont County Pioneer Museum, Lander. Photo: Randy Wise
Fremont County Pioneer Museum, Lander. Photo: Randy Wise

Rediscover the Wind River Mountains and explore Native American culture, settlement, mining, military and ranching in the Pioneer Museum. Then step outside to explore the historic pioneer village buildings.

Sinks Canyon State Park visitor center, Lander

Learn about Sinks Canyon through interactive exhibits about ecology, wildlife, and history. Take a self-guided walk to check out the cave into which the Popo Agie River disappears and the pool in which it reemerges a half mile down the stunning canyon.

Red Canyon Scenic Overlook

We’ll let this one speak for itself. You’ll see why about 24 miles south of Lander.

10 Stops You Must Make Between Yellowstone and I-80
South Pass City Gold Rush Days. Photo: Wind River Country/Brad Christensen

South Pass City State Historic Site

Explore an old gold mining ghost town with 20 original structures and thousands of artifacts original to South Pass City. Take the interpretive self-guided walking tour to explore these buildings and imagine life in a gold rush. Or take the Carissa Mine guided tour for an educational experience.

Posted in Notes From the Field