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Wind River Canyon

central Wyoming

Many travelers discover this little-known gem while driving to two of the crown jewels of the national park system, Yellowstone and Grand Teton. Located in central Wyoming, 99 miles west of Casper and 2½ hours from Yellowstone, the Wind River Canyon Scenic Byway almost seems out-of-place. The neighboring topography is characterized by windswept plains, rolling hills and the alpine beauty of the Rocky Mountains. But the river has been crafting this stately canyon seemingly forever. Its walls rise as high as 2500 feet from the water. And the surrounding rock formations are some of the world’s oldest, dating back 2.9 billion years. Most of the byway is located in the Wind River Indian Reservation. Before leaving the canyon, the Wind River actually changes names to the Bighorn River, after the mountain sheep indigenous to the area. At the north-end of the canyon lies Thermopolis, home to the world’s largest mineral hot spring. There’s a lot to appreciate in this corner of the planet and it’s a great setup for more natural splendor down the highway.

Best Time to Visit

The byway is a major highway and so it’s well-maintained year-round. But Wyoming’s winters can be extreme so check road conditions.

Route & Map  

US 20, Shoshoni to Thermopolis

Length

33 miles

Time

34 minutes

Major Town

Thermopolis provides all services and is worth a stay to enjoy the world’s largest mineral hot spring.

Links

Check out the byway’s writeup on the Wyoming Office of Tourism site. And Thermopolis offers all kinds of suggestions including info on Hot Springs State Park.

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