May 9, 2018

I like to have room to breathe when I travel. For me, sharing a viewing platform with 50 other people doesn’t feel special; I’m trying to escape the seething mass of humanity, not meld with it.

In the past, I thought I’d only find this space in the most remote parts of the American Midwest – but I was wrong. You can find your room to breathe in Wind River Country, Fremont County, Wyoming.

Sinks Canyon State Park

Aside from being visually captivating and geologically mystifying, Sinks Canyon is an outdoor wonderland. Located five minutes west of the town of Lander, its walls offer year-round climbing for all skill levels. A magnet for hikers too, you’ll experience exceptional views of Sinks Canyon as you explore its incredible terrain. Try the Falls Trail and indulge in scenes reminiscent of Yellowstone National Park – minus the crowds.

With its campgrounds and yurts and proximity to both Lander and the nearby Shoshone National Forest, Sinks Canyon is a great place to camp when exploring Fremont County. If you aren’t camping, there is good lodging in Lander.

Rodeos, Dude Ranches and Backcountry Outfitters

If you’re into ranches, the true old-west way, there’s no better place to get involved. Wind River Country is bursting with dude ranches – of all sorts; family, adventure, or vacation-centric. Head to the Wind River website and read about the culture through one of their insightful blogs.

With dude ranches, you’ll learn first-hand about what it takes to be a hardy Wyoming cowgirl or cowboy. If this sounds up your street, compliment your visit with one of the many, local rodeo shows held throughout the year – the nearby town of Dubois has one every Friday through the summer!

Gannett Peak – the Wind River Range

The tallest mountain in Wyoming, Gannett Peak, is part of the Wind River Range that runs through much of Wind River Country. The range is surreal and unrelenting in its beauty. Gannett Peak is a technical climb, so know what you’re doing!

Venture about the Absaroka Range

An outdoor playground and photographer’s dream, the Absaroka Range crosses the border into Montana. Spanning some 150 miles, its mountains rise with incredible beauty towards the sky. One peak is over 13,000-ft and forty-six of its peaks tower above 12,000-ft, and no surprise, the photo opportunities are phenomenal.

Flourishing Native American Culture

Rich history is alive in Wind River Country, and it goes back centuries. It’s the land of the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes, and bears great historic and cultural significance.

You’ll discover abundant creativity when you visit. Through the summer, the Wind River Hotel and Casino hosts Native American dances performed by youngsters and elders alike. Full of raw energy, they reflect the living heart of the Wind River Reservation and its enduring culture (see the 2018 Powwow Schedule).

Explore the Riverton Museum

Located in Riverton, the Riverton Museum is home to a variety of artifacts relating specifically to Fremont County’s history. Take a look at early western life. There’s a collection of displays and artifacts interpreting Fremont County history, including the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho peoples.

After your visit, you’ll understand more of Fremont County’s rich agricultural history, its mountain man history, and its tribal heritage – and why it’s all so unique in Wyoming! With Riverton Museum, a perfect balance between creativity in presentation and attention to detail makes for a highly immersive experience you won’t soon forget.

All in all

Wyoming’s Wind River Country is a great place to explore en route to Yellowstone. Schedule some time to linger instead of passing through. Its proximity to the park and the nearby Absaroka and Wind River ranges make it even better, especially for photographers. It’s the sort of place you can get lost in, roaming freely without commercial influence. I’ll be returning soon!

This story has been created in partnership with Visit USA Parks.

By Harry W.

Posted in Notes From the Field