Wyoming's Wind River Valley

The wind river winding through the badlands of Dubois Wyoming during a brilliant autumn
The wind river winding through the badlands of Dubois Wyoming during a brilliant autumn
Hiker, Absaroka Mountains, Jade Lake, Dubois Wyoming
A hiker takes in the beauty of the Braccia Cliffs ofthe Absaroka Range west of Dubois

The Wind River Valley a is where ancient geology meets today’s adventurer, where an adventurous day of moving cattle from horseback, can be followed by an evening of fine dining and fine art. Wide expanses of country enrich the senses, from sage on the morning air, or the cry of an eagle, to the sight of majestic snow-covered mountain peaks. The vivid landscape is rich with the juxtaposition of a festival of the color, sounds, and sights of breathtaking wonder. The Red Desert’s Badlands stand starkly against the stark contrast of the magnificent Absaroka and Wind River Mountains that serrate the skyline in the background. The deep curve of the Wind River Valley is shaped by the snowcapped Wind River Range to the West and the Absaroka and Owl Creek ranges on the east, forming a cottonwood-lined bottom that many consider one of the most beautiful areas in Wyoming.

From the highest peak in the state (Gannett Peak, at 13,785 feet), down through a valley laced with1850’s wagon train routes, still showing signs of deeply rutted wagon tracks, and on across the authentic cultural sites of the starkly beautiful Wind River Indian Reservation,

Spring Creek, Badlands, Dubois Wyoming
A spring creek reflects the glory of the badlands of Dubois Wyoming

The west is alive and well in the Wind River Valley, a traveler may find a highway briefly blocked with a cattle drive, right through town. When you experience firsthand the vast array of terrain and geological wonders, it’ll become clear why so many activities center on our great outdoors. The Wind River Valley hosts a couple thousand miles of great fishing streams, plenty of trails for riding or hiking, and It is home to two state parks and two national forests for even more recreational opportunities! Vacation highlights that range from rodeos and Powwows to sled dog races, jazz festivals, a mountain man rendezvous and hot air balloon rally! And with pronghorn antelope numbering nearly as high as the human population, you’ll find there’s plenty of elbowroom during any season, to enjoy your vacation. The only thing Wind River Country doesn’t have is the crowds of its famous neighbors, Jackson Hole and Yellowstone.

A sizable portion of the valley belongs to the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Indian tribes of the Wind River Indian Reservation, a place of productive ranches and spectacular wilderness reaching up to the Continental Divide. The Wind River Indian Reservation hosts a couple of casinos and some great, permit only, trout water.

Togwotee Trail, Pinnacle Peak, Dubois Wyoming
The beautiful Towgotte Trail, hwy 191 winds its way through the Absoraka Mountains on its way to Jackson Hole and Yellowstone over Towgotte Pass.

The largest towns of the Wind River Valley are Riverton is a thriving community of 10,000 people located in the heart of Wyoming’s Wind River Country. Lander, which is nestled against the foothills of the Wind River Mountains on the banks of the Popo Agie River where Fremont County history began. Lander saw the first white trappers in 1811 became a small military post in 1869 and now borders the Wind River Indian Reservation. Dubois is an authentic old west town with historic buildings and the mighty Wind River running through. Majestic high mountains surround the area and down town has boardwalks that you can stroll and become acquainted with the variety of stores and wares. Then there are the smaller communities like Shoshone, Fort Washakie, and the historical gold-mining town of Atlantic City.

The Togwotee Trail, US highway 26-287, west of Dubois is one of the West's most beautiful and diverse regions, abundant wildlife, geographic wonders and a rich history makes it one of the most popular routes to Yellowstone National Park; some stay and never travel any farther.

Backpackers and hikers to the Wind River Mountains can choose from nearly 800 miles of trails in the range's vast, stunning beauty. Over 150 glaciers work the Winds, calling out to hikers and climbers alike. Naturally, the Winds are studded with lakes and creeks, themselves teeming with rainbow, cutthroat, golden, brook, German brown, and Mackinaw trout. Being part of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem visitors often see the prodigious wildlife this eco-system is host to. One of the world's most magnificent big game animals, the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, is showcased in the Dubois area, both indoors and outdoors. The Whiskey Mountain Wildlife Habitat Area, just minutes from town, is home to North America's largest wintering herd of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. And the National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Center, in downtown Dubois, provides an awe-inspiring venue for the country's most impressive display of these majestic creatures.

Hunters will find remote wilderness elk like Teddy Roosevelt did when he hunted Wyoming in the late 1800's. The Wind River Valley also has top quality Antelope, Mule Deer, Bighorn Sheep, and Moose hunts.

There is never a shortage of magnificent views and adventures to match in the Wind River country.

Badlands, Dubois Wyoming, Absaroka Mountains, panorama
Ramshorn Peak, Dubois Wyoming
Dunior Valley, Absaroka Mountains, Dubois Wyoming
Dunior Valley
Whisky Mountain Sheep, Dubois Wyoming dogsledding Absoraka Mountains, Dubois Wyoming
Bighorn Sheep, Whisky Mountain just south of Dubois Wyoming
Dogsledding up Horse Creek, outside of Dubois WY in the Absoraka Mountain Range
Sinks Canyon, Wind River Mountains, Lander Wyoming
Lander Wyoming, downtown
Sinks Canyon, Wind River Mountains, Lander Wyoming
Old Town, Lander Wyoming
You can visit a Sue the Bull Elk at the Antler Gallery on the North side of Dubois Wyoming
Greater Yellowstone News
Autumn in Jackson Hole

Sadly autumn has left the room

Click on photo for purchase information

Orphaned Grizzly Cubs of Tom Miner Update
By Brad Orstead

On March 12, 2019, I learned definitively that our greatest fears for the orphaned grizzly bear cubs of Tom Miner Basin, which is situated just north of Yellowstone National Park had become a gruesome reality...The cubs had been killed by Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks .................rest of Brad's story

 

Study: More elk killed by cougars than by wolves in Idaho: More elk are being killed by cougars than by wolves in Idaho, a study by the state Department of Fish and Game has found.The study found that wolves accounted for 32% of adult female elk deaths and 28% of elk calf deaths, while cougars accounted for 35% of adult female elk deaths and 45% of elk calf deaths. The study also found ............ rest of story

Study: More elk killed by cougars than by wolves in Idaho
Photographer baiting a fox

Photographers, Instagrammers: Stop being so Damn selfish and disrespectful. ............... This is an important article from PetaPixel, it doesn't mention Yellowstone; however, it certainly pertains to what has been going on here lately. -------

What does it take to push a farmer to this point? The point where, fed up of thousands of disrespectful photographers, wannabe “influencers” and narcissistic tourists, they feel the only way to get them to stop damaging their business and property, is to damage those people’s photographs? ..... rest of article

Yellowstone wildlife closures - a few thoughts
By Daryl L. Hunter

I went to Yellowstone to photograph grizzly bear with three new cubs; it seems as though they are little for so short of a time. In May they are lucky to be 25-pound balls of fur sporting bright curious eyes, and by September they are 50 pounds. The window to capture them is short. After a year of a successful cancer fight I needed some grizzly cub therapy. Upon my arrival to where a grizzly sow had been hanging out I was disappointed my long drive was to be fruitless, the road was closed to stopping and all the turnouts had been blocked so nobody could stop to see the bears.  Now, there weren’t any bears there at the moment, it was just a blanket closure of the area..........................Rest of Article

grizzly photos
Grizzly photo results
Hungry Wolves

Crying wolf, or cause for alarm?

Whether a wolf evokes terror, admiration or curiosity, advocates for the animal are focusing on a single question: Can humans and wolves co-exist in Colorado?

High Country Conservation Advocates (HCCA) in collaboration with the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project hosted a panel discussion this past Friday that revisited the controversial conversation of wolves in the Western United States.However, this time around, wolf advocates are taking the question to the ballot rather than federal and state wildlife managers — with hopes of Colorado voters welcoming the animal. “Colorado is the gap,” .............Rest of articl

National park wants goats gone

By Jerry Painter

Just so you know, Wyoming Game and Fish doesn’t hate mountain goats. But the growth of the non-native critters in the Teton Range is posing a problem that has wildlife managers considering lethal measures. An aerial count this past winter found, for the first time, invasive mountain goats outnumbering native bighorn sheep................Rest of story

 

Mountain Goat
Mountain Goat
Huge Yellowstone Cutthroat trout
Huge Yellowstone Cutthroat trout

Return of the Yellowstone cutthroat trout by Kelsey Dayton

The water in Atlantic Creek in the remote Thorofare region of Yellowstone National Park was clear. So clear that Dave Sweet could see the fish before he even cast. They were everywhere: dozens of beautiful trout with distinctive red slashes under their jaws. Sweet had journeyed for two days on horseback to the major spawning tributaries of Yellowstone Lake for those fish. Over the next few days he and his daughter would see thousands of Yellowstone cutthroat trout and catch some as long as 25 inches. But just as exciting were the younger, smaller fish. They, Sweet realized, mark a turning point in a battle to save a species..................... Rest Of Story

Wild, Tangled Hair
by Anna Vanuga

A cool journey story of Dubois girl now living the dream in Paradise Valley Montana

Most of my life I never considered being able to earn a living as an artist. For years I resisted painting. The only college class I ever dropped was an art course. I would only paint when a rush of inspiration hit me hard enough to alter my short-sightedness. In those moments the painting would just come through me, an abrupt surge of color. It was almost as if my subconscious momentarily shattered a longstanding belief in my capabilities. Once the painting was done the wall would come back up and my brushes would go back to storage for months or years...........Rest of Story

An artists hands, the soul of creativity
An artists hands, the soul of creativity
Wolf Portrait

The Fight Over the Most Polarizing Animal in the West
By Elliott D. Woods

Twenty years after wolves were reintroduced in the Northern Rockies, many politicians would still love to see them eradicated, and hunters and ranchers are allowed to kill them by the hundreds. But the animals are not only surviving—they're expanding their range at a steady clip. For the people who live on the wild edges of wolf country, their presence can be magical and maddening at once.................... Rest of  article

Yellowstone region grizzly bears delisted; see you in court

As announced in June, the U.S. government lifted protections for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone region today, though it will be up to the courts to decide whether the revered and feared icon of the West stays off the threatened species list.The Humane Society of the United States and its affiliate the Fund for Animals, filed a notice of intent on June 30 to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over removing federal protections for grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.  Other anti-hunting or animal welfare groups are expected to follow suit, so to speak.................... rest of story

Grizzly Bear Photos
Livingston Montana

The Resort Town Curse
by Daryl L. Hunter

In 1962 as a child my family went through Carmel California, and after my exclaimation how beautiful the place was, my mother explained to me that it was against the law to cut down a tree in the town and it was so beautiful. I wondered why every town didn't do that. A few years later my hometown, San Luis Obispo, did enact all kinds of restricted zoning like Carmel's as a part of an urban renewal plan, and now I couldn't afford to move back there if I wanted to. This town is now populated with what they call "Grey Gold", rich retired people that ran up the property values so high that native born could no longer afford to live there. I have lived in many resort towns since, and I have noticed a trend. I am attracted to them when they are still little, quaint and undiscovered, but it usually isn't long before word spreads about the next great place. ..............   Rest of story

Wild In Captivity?

The term “captive wildlife” seems like such a contradiction in terms. How can creatures that are caged or fenced in and handed their food have any trace of wild life left in them, without the ability to roam far and wide, to hunt or forage, to establish their own territories, search for mates, and keep their distance from other species—all the things that are characteristic of truly wild animals? When people think of wildlife in captivity, they may first think of zoos.  ............................ Rest of you story

A Protective Firewall For Grizzlies
By Daryl L. Hunter

The delisting of the Yellowstone Grizzly Bear is imminent and this we should celebrate (''''dancing''''). Now that our happy dance is complete, we must ensure the grizzlies' recovery is permanent. To ensure "continuity of achievement," the grizzlies need a firewall to protect the success of this achievement from human foible.

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee was formed in 1983 to help ensure recovery of viable grizzly bear populations and their habitat in the lower 48 states through interagency coordination of policy, planning, management, and research. Many people have been working on this recovery for decades, for some; it has been most of their career. I can understand why the delisting of the grizzly before their retirement is their goal. A metaphorical gold watch if you will.

Many will argue differently,............................. Rest of Article

Blondie the Grizzly Sow and her three cubs, where these four bears roam in the Teton Wilderness is likely to open to hunting someday soon, this must not happen.
Grizzly sow and cub

Yellowstone roadside grizzlies worth rangers' hassle???

Yellowstone visitors would pay an additional $41 to ensure seeing roadside grizzlies, a study shows, and the attraction creates 155 jobs and more than $10 million a year for the regional economy. The $41 visitors would pay is on top of the $25-per-vehicle entrance fee. If Yellowstone no longer allowed grizzly bears to use roadside habitat — and instead chased, moved or killed them — the regional economy would lose more than $10 million a year and 155 jobs according to the paper "The economics of roadside bear viewing."............................Rest of story

Some Yellowstone wolves would be protected under Montana bill

Some wildlife have an “outsized value,” such as wolves that wander from Yellowstone National Park into Montana, argued Sen. Mike Phillips, D-Bozeman, on Thursday. Consequently, those animals should be protected from hunters and trappers in two wolf management units in Park County, which borders Yellowstone..............Rest of story

Three Wolves

Hot spring, somewhere in the Greater Yellowstone
Hot spring, somewhere in the Greater Yellowstone

Helpful ebook for photographers

The Grand Teton Photo and Field Guide is an encapsulation of the flora, fauna, and photography of Jackson Hole Wyoming and Grand Teton National Park. Also included are thumbnails of the history and geology of the valley. This book is for all visitors with a desire to seek out wildlife, photograph the landscape, or merely learn about the history, geology, and lay of the land of Grand Teton National Park. The author provides general overviews including hot links with more in-depth descriptions of subjects of individual interest.

In the “Lay of the Land” section, includes the obvious highlights along the loop through Grand Teton Park. Hot links to side roads will give you more in-depth description of side roads and feeder roads and their highlights. Also included are descriptions of all two-rut roads that are legal to travel on in Grand Teton Park. GPS links to Google Maps are provided throughout.

As a field guide, profiles of most of animals and birds in the area are described. Jackson Hole is full of wildlife but there are places where animals are, and there are places where they are not. It is a waste of time to scrutinize a landscape devoid of what you are looking for, so this guide narrows options down to the hot spots. I provide maps of the likeliest places to find the popular critters of Grand Teton National Park. I also touch on trees, shrubs, and wildflowers with minimal explanations.  

The grandeur of Grand Teton Park has made it one of the most photographed places in the world. The opportunity to harness multiple juxtapositional elements has drawn photographers for over a century since William Henry Jackson took the first photos here in 1878. Grand Teton Park’s plethora of famous vistas are profiled as well as many which are less clichéd that can bring new perspectives of a well-documented landscape. Grand Tetons’ iconic landscape photo opportunities are described in detail; however, they barely scratch the surface of opportunities as it takes a photographer with an artist’s eye to unveil as they follow their own intuition and vision.  The author who shies away from clichéd landscapes provides a chapter of his favorite places that aren’t landscape clichés.

In the photography section the author includes chapters on composition, exposure basics, when to shoot and why. Daryl has summarized what he teaches in his, half day, Grand Teton workshops in a simple concise way.

If you are only in Grand Teton Park for a day there is a chapter called the “Portfolio Packer Morning Trip,” that does just that, all the icons and several favorite places in a five our blitz.  But it is better to spend more time and dig deep into the embarrassment of riches of Grand Teton National Park................. More Info

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