March 22, 2020

We don’t have to agree on the music, the snacks, or who drives too fast. Let’s settle into comfy couches (pjs and all if you choose) and head out on a virtual road trip through Wyoming’s Wind River Country together!

We’ll be virtually flying over the continental divide, arriving in Wind River Country from the south on Highway 28. Our first stop will be South Pass City State Historic Site. The city first boomed with the discovery of gold in the 1860s, then busted, then repeated the pattern a few times. Today, only a few people live here year-round, but in the summers you can visit for festivals, the chance to pan for gold, and a walking tour through the more-than 40 buildings that have been carefully restored. Here’s a cool secret: You can visit the summers online any time of year. Let’s check it out now:

Once we “hop” back on Highway 28 north, we’ll note the beauty of this route, and then we’ll be faced with a view we won’t be able to resist stopping to photograph. Red Canyon is one of the most famous landmarks of the area, and for good reason.

It won’t be long before we reach Lander. We’ll grab a snack and decide we want to learn more, so we’ll spend some time at the  Lander Pioneer Museum and Museum of the American West. We agree to spend lots of time looking at all kinds of artifacts and art related to the history and culture of the Lander Valley.

From the museum, we’ll head just a little way from town to Sinks Canyon. We will take in the beauty from overhead and pour over the details of Sinks Canyon State Park’s key attractions: the Sinks and the Rise of the Popo Agie River.

Now, let’s point our browsers toward Riverton. On the way, we’ll take a detour to Castle Gardens. Let’s wander the trails, look in awe at the rock formations, and see how many petroglyphs we can spot.

Upon our virtual arrival in Riverton, we’ll be touched by the friendliness of the locals, so we’ll just cruise down Main Street, taking it all in. Then we’ll “park” our browsers at the Riverton Museum. The displays will teach us all about the many ways different people have relied on the land in this area in history. This is a special stop in the virtual road trip, as many of the exhibits can be read on our screens, so we’ll hang out here for a while.

Riverton Museum exhibit on virtual road trip in Wyoming

Geographically not far from Riverton (and digitally just a click away), is Boysen State Park. The highlight of this park is the striking Boysen Reservoir. The water is an incredible space to play or fish, and there is tons of fun to be had off the water, too.

Immediately north of Boysen State Park is the scenic byway of the Wind River Canyon. Let’s virtually cruise it, slowly taking our time to appreciate the new views at each corner. Did you know that the river changes names at the northern end of the canyon—from Wind River to Bighorn River?

If we were on the road, we would get to drive the Wind River Canyon in the other direction for our next stop, which is just as beautiful from a new perspective. But since we have virtually checked the scenic route out with 360-degree views at every turn, we can jump ahead instantly to the adorable town of Dubois, just outside of Yellowstone National Park.

First let’s get a sense of the town and its surroundings at the Dubois Scenic Overlook. Have you ever seen a view like this before, especially right in the middle of town/also at home in your pjs?

It’s time to scroll into town and check it out. We’ve had such good luck with museums so far, we decide together that we can’t miss the Dubois Museum.

This cozy museum has so much knowledge packed into a cabin I personally think I’d like to make it home for a whole virtual weekend.  There are other cabins you can check out as well if you need a little virtual space from your travel buddy:

Dubois museum building on Wind River Country virtual road trip.

It’s been a pretty packed virtual road trip! From here, we can part ways, choose some more snacks from our personal stockpiles, and scroll through whatever part of Wind River Country we most loved. Someday soon, we’ll meet when you visit in person!

Posted in Notes From the Field