Wind River Country – Highway 26 in Wyoming

Dubois, Wyoming.

If you leave Grand Teton National Park as we did heading east toward Devils Tower (our next stop), your GPS will probably put you on U.S. Highway 26 headed toward the town of Dubois (population 842). The further we traveled down this truly scenic highway, the more surprised we were to find all of the natural beauty there is to see between Moran and Riverton. The opening image features a view of Wind River as it winds through the high country.

As we traveled east leaving the Rocky Mountains behind, the high peaks gradually lessened but remained as beautiful as those in the truly high mountain range. With the Wind River on our left, we saw the cliffs ahead as U.S. Highway 26 followed the river where it rounded a bend. It was a perfect spot to pull over at a turnout to capture some images.

As we followed the road around the bend, we came upon a scenic pull-off that paralleled the river. Except for some power lines that seemed to encroach upon every photograph, it was an opportunity to capture some of those golden colors. We hit the timing just right for capturing the autumn hues in early October.

Those interested in the great outdoors will find plenty of recreational opportunities in Wind River country. There are some 2.4 million acres of national forest near Dubois with plenty of trails for hiking, wildlife photography,  and many other outdoor activities. In the winter, snowmobilers can explore hundreds of miles of groomed trails such as the 360-mile (579 km) Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail between Lander and Yellowstone.

The highest peak in the Wind River Range is south of Dubois, but the peaks closer to town block the view of the 13,804-foot (4,207 m) mountain. In those mountains, large game animals such as bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer, moose, and antelope make their home at least part of the year.

You don’t even have to get out of the car to capture beautiful scenery, but if you’re going to take photos, be sure you aren’t the one driving. In my case, I was sitting in the back seat behind the driver for many of the images captured along U.S. Highway 26.

As we continued toward Riverton, (population 10,891), a quick Internet search taught us about the fur traders who came there in 1830 and 1838. These mountain men such as Jim Bridger, William Sublette, Kit Carson, and Jedediah Smith met at the confluence of the Big Wind and Little Wind Rivers. For several days they swapped stories of life as a mountain man, traded goods and supplies, and generally celebrated the lonely lives they led in the high country.

This year, between June 30 and July 4, 2021, the Mountain Man Rendezvous will be held at the end of East Monroe Avenue, the original site of the 1838 rendezvous at Riverton. More details can be found here.

As I close our journey through Wind River Country with a gallery of images captured along the way, I am adding this post to the Friendly Friday Road Trip Challenge I read about here. As always, I recommend selecting one of the images to enlarge it and from that image, you can scroll through the gallery.

John Steiner

 

20 comments

  1. I think we must have driven this highway when road tripping in Wyoming – the name sounds familiar and it’s just the sort of route I would chose when planning an itinerary 🙂 You have some fantastic shots and the colours are wonderful!

  2. Spectacular landscape. Some 2.4 million acres of national forest, Wow!
    Awesome shots! Thank you for taking us there, John!

  3. Spectacular! It looks like the type of road trip where you’re always thinking “OMG What a great country! ” It’s hard to take photos that captures the feeling but you do a good job.

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