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  • Hiking a trail near Bear River State Park in Evanston, Wyoming
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    Evanston’s Wildlife Watching and Frontier History

  • Quaint shops surrounding the world’s largest elkhorn arch in Afton, Wyoming
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    Fossils to Antlers from Kemmerer to Afton

  • The stunning mountain landscapes surrounding Alpine, Wyoming
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    Alpine: Water Recreation in the Bridger-Teton National Forest

  • Kayaking on Fremont Lake in Pinedale, Wyoming
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    Side Trip to Pinedale: Wind River Mountain Town

  • Dizzying views from the aerial tram at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming
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    Jackson: Upscale Mountain Haven and Gateway to Teton

  • The view from Schwabachers Landing in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
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    Unforgettable Scenery in Grand Teton National Park

  • Yellowstone Falls in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
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    Yellowstone National Park: An Otherworldly Landscape

Stunning mountain views in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
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Western Wyoming Road Trip: Discovering Natural History and Scenic Wonders

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  • Route distance:
    777.00
  • Suggested Time:
    1-2 weeks

Hit the road in western Wyoming, where you can explore frontier towns on your way to Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park.

Traipse through dinosaur footprints, ramble through lively downtown Jackson Hole or take a lazy float trip down Snake River – encounter all this and more on an unforgettable road adventure. From resort towns to scenic byways, get a taste of the spirit of Wyoming while creating your own unique journey.

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Hiking a trail near Bear River State Park in Evanston, Wyoming
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Evanston’s Wildlife Watching and Frontier History

Fly into Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC), rent a car, then drive an hour and 20 minutes via Interstate 80 to get to Evanston – an ideal entry point into Wyoming’s small-town hospitality, Wild West heritage and prairie landscapes. If you’re anticipating a “home on the range” vibe, you’ll find it at Bear River State Park, where small herds of bison and elk roam the plains. In summer, enjoy hiking and mountain biking along paved and gravel trails, and keep an eye out for pronghorn antelope and magpies among the trees. To get a different perspective on this prairie landscape, plan a stop at Fort Bridger State Historic Site, originally established as a supply stop along the Oregon Trail that, over time, evolved with the settlers and travelers that passed through. Today, visitors can explore buildings and exhibits showcasing eras from the Mountain Men and Mormon pioneers to the military and early 1900s motorists. Where better to get into the pioneering spirit before heading out for the rest of your Wyoming adventure?

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80 km
1 hour by car
02
Quaint shops surrounding the world’s largest elkhorn arch in Afton, Wyoming
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Fossils to Antlers from Kemmerer to Afton

An expansive stretch of the western frontier unfolds on your northbound drive to Kemmerer, where Fossil Butte National Monument is the star attraction. Nicknamed “The Stone Aquarium,” this 50-million-year-old lake bed is rich with perfectly preserved fossils of fish, plants, reptiles, birds and small mammals. Many of these can be seen and even touched in the Visitor Center. In summer, you can take a ranger-led tour of the active research quarry or hike along a laid-back nature trail through sagebrush and aspen trees. Music fans should plan their stop in Kemmerer for the last weekend in July to coincide with the Oyster Ridge Music Festival. This is Wyoming’s largest free music festival, and nationally-known folk, bluegrass and rock bands make it a point to play to the easygoing crowd each year.

Continue north to the small town of Afton, home to a rare geological feature, Periodic Intermittent Spring. This cold-water geyser of sorts has a downhill flow that turns on and off at regular intervals. Wyoming’s is thought to be the largest of the world’s few intermittent springs. Afton’s other claim to fame is the world’s largest elk antler arch – more than 3,000 antlers intertwining over the town’s main thoroughfare. The arch dates back to 1958 and grows each year as locals find the antlers that elk shed naturally. Catch a selfie with the arch, then walk the quaint downtown blocks. Find authentic souvenirs and artisan chocolate in the locally owned shops, and settle in for a Western feast before you head into the mountains.

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209 km
2.25 hours by car
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The stunning mountain landscapes surrounding Alpine, Wyoming
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Alpine: Water Recreation in the Bridger-Teton National Forest

The road to Alpine stretches northbound, beckoning you from rolling hills into a landscape of towering trees, flowing rivers and snow-capped peaks. Set upon the Palisades Reservoir and Snake River, Alpine is surrounded by the dense and enchanting Bridger-Teton National Forest. Its location makes it a playground for a multitude of water sports, including whitewater rafting, tubing, float trips and some of the best fishing in Wyoming. After a day of outdoor fun, you’ll want to pop into a craft brewery to drink some inventive beer and take in mountain views with the friendly locals.

On your way out of town, stop by the Lunch Counter/Kahuna scenic overlook alongside the Snake River, which provides a perfect vantage point for watching whitewater rafters plummet through the rapids below. Continue alongside the Snake River until you get to Hoback Junction, where you’ll venture southeast for a detour into another outdoor adventure hub, Pinedale.

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141 km
1.5 hours by car
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Kayaking on Fremont Lake in Pinedale, Wyoming
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Side Trip to Pinedale: Wind River Mountain Town

Situated on the western edge of the Wind River Mountain range, Pinedale is best known for Fremont Lake, a pristine glacial lake within the vast Bridger-Teton National Forest. Not only is the scenery gorgeous, it’s also a recreational hub where you can boat and fish as well as go hiking, canoeing and horseback riding. Stay at the Lakeside Lodge Resort, your basecamp for fun on the lake, as well as fly fishing on the Green and New Fork Rivers and wondrous hiking trails with mountain views. If you’re here in the winter, alpine skiing is close by at the White Pine Ski Resort. While in Pinedale, carve out some time explore the downtown and visit the Museum of the Mountain Man. Study exhibits, artifacts and artwork centered around the mountain men that pioneered the fur trade in this region. From Pinedale, head back northeast toward the Snake River, where you’ll encounter even more gorgeous views of bridges, buttes and mountains on your way to Jackson.

124 km
1.5 hours by car
05
Dizzying views from the aerial tram at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming
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Jackson: Upscale Mountain Haven and Gateway to Teton

Known as one of the best locales in the USA for stargazing, Jackson (or Jackson Hole, as it’s more famously known) balances the beauty of the outdoors seamlessly with city and resort amenities. Of course, this mountain outpost and ski destination comes with its fair share of Western charm too: Don’t miss the elk antler arches marking the four entrances to Town Square, or the surrounding Native American art galleries and Western outfitters. Across the street from Town Square, The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar deserves a visit for its spot-on cowboy theme, executed down to the detail of saddles serving as bar stools. Established in 1937, the bar has real country roots too, having hosted shows by the likes of Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams, Jr. and Willie Nelson. Grab a local Wyoming whiskey and toast to your trip so far. Tomorrow, the national parks are calling.

59 km
0.75 hours by car
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The view from Schwabachers Landing in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
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Unforgettable Scenery in Grand Teton National Park

Just north of Jackson, nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts will be astounded by the flawless beauty of Grand Teton National Park. This magnificent wilderness unfolds before you in more than 125,000 hectares of spectacular valleys, mountain peaks and glacial lakes. Even as you drive along park roads leading from the valley floor in Jackson into the Teton Range, be on the lookout for bear, elk, moose, bison, and a variety of small mammals and birds. For those classic Grand Teton views, head straight to Jackson Lake, where the Jackson Lake Dam makes for a surprising photo op of the imposing peaks. This is also the source of the Snake River, a popular route for whitewater rafting trips inside the park.

Head into the mountains toward the Signal Mountain trail to explore the heart of the wilderness or drive Signal Mountain Road to the summit. Another of your highlights will certainly be Jenny Lake, set at the base of Cascade Canyon. From here, hiking trails leading to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point offer more incredible vistas. Sign up for wildlife viewing expeditions or photography treks for a customized experience. The park offers a variety of lodges for overnight stays; you’ll want to spend some more time here and rest up before your next national park adventure.

21 km
0.3 hours by car
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Yellowstone Falls in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
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Yellowstone National Park: An Otherworldly Landscape

Continue north from Grand Teton National Park toward its iconic neighbor, Yellowstone. Try to get to the park early to visit Grand Prismatic Spring, the park’s largest hot spring and one of its most photographed landmarks. Its bright blue center resembles a rainbow orb with rings of yellow, red and green – a stunning natural sight that seems almost unnatural in its vibrancy. Another must-see is the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, where the Yellowstone River cuts through this golden-colored, rugged canyon. Hike trails to the Upper and Lower Falls for fabulous views and a humbling perspective. World-famous Old Faithful is never short of visitors, but once you see this geyser erupt, you’ll know why. The waterworks happens approximately every 90 minutes. Lastly, make time to venture to Lamar Valley to spot bison, bear, wolves, pronghorn and other wildlife in the midst of some of the most spectacular terrain around. Lodging options within the park or in nearby Cody are ideal for spending a few days to see it all before starting your trip home, connecting from Jackson Hole Airport (JAC) or Yellowstone Regional Airport (COD) in Cody.