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History

Dubois is the perfect home base town.  With a population of 962 and no traffic light, it is somewhere between sleepy and half-way busy. In Dubois, time seems to move at a slower pace.  The rustic log buildings that line the main street look much as they did when the town was first settled in the late 1800’s.  Dubois is an authentic western town, and many of the buildings lining the boardwalks along the main street have colorful pasts. 

Native Americans, fur traders, homesteaders, outlaws, and Scandinavian tie hacks are all part of the diverse cultural heritage of Dubois and the upper Wind River Valley.  Petroglyphs and pictographs found on the cliffs and boulders near Dubois hint at the area’s long history.  For centuries, the Mountain Shoshone, known as the Sheep Eater Indians, spent their summers hunting in the high country and living in this valley in the winter. 

Europeans arrived late in the valley’s history.  A party of fur traders and trappers came to the upper Wind River Valley in 1811 searching for an overland route to Oregon.  Jim Bridger, famed mountain man and guide, visited the Upper Wind River Valley on a number of occasions.  It was not until the late 1870’s that the first homesteaders arrived.  The notorious outlaw Butch Cassidy and his partner Al Heiner spent the fall and winter of 1889-1890 living in a cabin near Dubois. 

For modern day travelers, Dubois has a well-stocked grocery store, several hardware stores, great restaurants and shops, a veterinarian, a medical clinic, and even a well-equipped fitness center.  Dubois is embraced by the Absaroka and Wind River Mountains, and the surrounding scenic vistas are simply breathtaking.

To add to the excitement of Dubois, day trips to the east and many shorter activities close to the Longhorn Resort are also available.  Day trips and local activities are covered at the conclusion of our website.

Our resort is spread out over 35 acres of pristine land bordering the beautiful Wind River (so named by the local Indians for prevailing strong currents of wind coming down the river from the northwest).  The RV sites are situated in a grove of mature cottonwood trees adjacent to the river and provide a tranquil setting with views of snow-capped mountains on one side and hills painted with colorful mineral deposits on the other.  Mule deer, Canadian geese, eagles, and ospreys will also visit with you on our picturesque setting.

 

Fishing

Fremont County has more fishable waters than any county except Sublette.  Dubois offers small and large stream and lake fishing that begins right in town.  The Wind River is a year-round fishery known for bragging size browns and rainbows.  Small stream fans will enjoy the cutthroat of Wiggins Fork, close to town.  Bog Lake, accessed from Horse Creek Road, features both rainbows and the rare arctic grayling.  Along the historic Union Pass Road anglers can pursue Snake River cutthroat in Lake of the Woods.  For trophy Yellowstone cutthroat, visit Pelham Lake----just west of Dubois off Warm Springs Road.

The stretch of the Wind River that runs through Longhorn Ranch Resort holds rainbows and browns in the 20-inch class.  Scrappy cutthroats and whitefish also add to the excitement of fishing close to “home.”

Ring Lake and Trail Lake, slightly east of the Longhorn, also offer spectacular trout fishing and breath-taking scenery.  The scenic drive makes this a “must” trip for visitors.

 

Day trips

*** Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons are obvious day trips, so let’s begin with the hidden treasure of THERMOPOLIS.   The eastern entrance to Thermopolis is through the spectacular Wind River Canyon, a miniature version of the Grand Canyon.  Enjoy the canyon geology as the Wind River slices its way through formations from the Triassic period (208-245 million years old) to the Precambrian Period (570-2900 million years old).

Nearby rivers offer whitewater rafting and fishing, and archeological digs are constantly turning up dinosaur bones in the red-hued mountains. A “must see” is the Wyoming Dinosaur Center and dig sites (800-455-3466).  The museum has over 30 mounted skeletons, a preparation lab with visitor viewing and hundreds of displays and dioramas.  Get in on the hunt for the next big discovery by joining in the Dinosaur Center’s Dig-for-a-Day or Kid’s Dig Programs.

Thermopolis is especially known for the Hot Springs State Park, which is visited each year by around 900,000 tourists.  Travelers can enjoy swimming in a variety of indoor and outdoor hot mineral pools.  Many people travel here year after year to take the mineral baths.

*** The friendly town of LANDER, population 7,500, was the first community settled on the Wind River.  At the base of the Wind River Mountains, Lander became the central supply point for Indians, trappers, ranchers, and homesteaders in the 1800’s.  It was also the favorite watering hole for notorious outlaws, including Butch Cassidy.  Lander is best known for Sinks Canyon State Park (307-332-3077).  Six miles southwest of Lander, this narrow canyon is full of wild beauty.  Sinks Canyon is unique in the world because it features a geological oddity that involves a disappearing river that emerges again into a pool of water containing rainbow and brown trout from 8-15 pounds.  These giant trout can be fed bread and other tidbits provided by the Park Service.  The Park Service also has a museum full of ancient rocks and relics.  For a taste of history, visit Lander’s Fremont County Pioneer Museum (307-332-3373) and Museum of the American West (307-335-8778).

*** RIVERTON has the only site of an original trapper’s rendezvous not developed by modern man.  The 1838 rendezvous site, which stretches 100 acres along the Wind River, looks much like it did in 1838, the final year a “big” rendezvous was held.

To local residents, Riverton is most famous for K-Mart and Wal-Mart.  For RVers, it is important because it has a great RV repair shop, Riverton RV (307-856-6010).

Riverton also features the Riverton Museum (307-856-2665) and the Wind River Heritage Center (307-856-0706).

*** The 1.7+ million-acre WIND RIVER INDIAN RESERVATION is home to the Eastern Shoshone and the Northern Arapaho tribes and was established in 1864 through the Bridger-Teton Treaty with the U.S. government.  The Eastern Shoshone moved to what they called the “Warm Valley” from the Great Basin area.  The Arapaho are originally from Colorado.

Fort Washakie, a former U.S. military outpost set up in 1870 as Camp Brown and renamed in 1878, is now the headquarters of the tribes’ government and the center of community life for the Shoshone people.

The reservation features the Eastern Shoshone Tribal Cultural Center & Tours (307-332-9106).  Here visitors can learn about Shoshone culture and history and view artifacts, art work, photographs, maps and treaties.  There is also a gift shop showcasing local bead work and crafts.  The Gallery of the Wind and Museum (307-332-3267) has a collection of artifacts and art work of the Shoshone and Arapaho people.

 

Activities close to Base Camp

Are you ready for a break from all of the travel?   Dubois is the perfect place to kick back and enjoy some low-impact, easy to access attractions.

The NATIONAL BIGHORN SHEEP CENTER (888-209-2795) features life-size dioramas and hands-on exploration of the Whiskey Mountain Herd of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep.  There is a gift shop and wildlife tours are available.

The DUBOIS MUSEUM & WIND RIVER HISTORICAL CENTER (307-455-2284) is a living history museum that presents and interprets the history of Wyoming’s Upper Wind River Valley.  Museum exhibits focus on the Mountain Shoshone, who were the first inhabitants of the valley, the homesteaders who settled in the late 1800’s, the Scandinavian loggers (tie hacks) who cut railroad ties for the nation’s railroads, and the CM Ranch, one of the two oldest guest ranches in the state.

Sally Wullbrecht, Dubois Museum education director, leads tours and hikes to area archaeological, historical, and geological sites.  Sheep Eater bighorn sheep traps, Plains Indians teepee rings, petroglyphs, and dams and cabins from the “tie hack” era are some of the hikes and tours provided.

The WIND RIVER VALLEY ARTISTS GUILD GALLERY (307-455-3404) supports and showcases local and national art and is home to the Warm Springs Gallery.  Please call for current gallery showings, classes and special events.

Two miles east of the Longhorn Ranch Resort is the DUBOIS FISH HATCHERY.  Guided tours are available to this fascinating facility, which raises various species of trout for the stocking of local lakes, rivers and streams.

The Fish Hatchery exit (Trail Lake Road) also leads to one of the most scenic drives imaginable.  This adventure takes you 10 miles to the trailhead and past the basin at the base of Whiskey Mountain, home of the largest herd of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in the United States.  A wildlife viewing site 2.5 miles from the highway is a good place to look for sheep on the slopes of Whiskey Mountain.

You will then pass Torrey, Ring, and Trail Lakes, all on the left.  These pristine Lakes offer great fishing and sight seeing.  At the end of the road is the trailhead leading to Whiskey Mountain and numerous glacial lakes in the Fitzpatrick Wilderness Area, the nearest of which is Lake Louise.  An ambitious trail to the lake has a 1,000 foot elevation gain in 1.7 miles and takes at least 3 hours for a round-trip.

Petroglyphs are also found in this area, and the staff of the Dubois Museum and Historical Center can help you to locate these ancient, primitive drawings.

No trip to this area would be complete without stepping back in time with a scenic drive up through UNION PASS  (Union Pass is west of town 7.3 miles, just east of mile marker 46).  Union Pass, so named in 1860 by Captain William F. Raynolds, provided access across the Continental Divide in the northern Wind River Mountains.  Ancient peoples used this pass for centuries.  Mountain men Jedediah Smith, William Sublette, Robert Campbell, Jim Bridger and David Jackson used this pass while trapping beaver.

Union Pass is the source of three major rivers in the American west.  To the north, the waters of the Wind River flow into the Gulf of Mexico. The waters of the Green River to the south flow to the Gulf of California, and the waters of the Gros Ventre to the northwest flow to the Pacific Ocean via the Snake and Columbia Rivers. 

Union Pass offers a majestic view of the Gros Ventre Mountains, the Teton Range, and the Wyoming Range.  Abundant wildlife and alpine vegetation can be viewed year-round in this beautiful high-altitude setting of 9,210 feet.

Visitors to the Longhorn Ranch Resort are also very fortunate to be in close proximity to FOSSIL HUNTING.  In the painted hills due north of the resort is a huge fossil bed which has been uplifted by shifting geological plates.  This is indeed the fossil find of a lifetime!  The hike is relatively easy along a dry creek bed, and you will thrill at the adventure of finding your own prehistoric treasures.

Don’t forget the FISHING!  Each year, rainbows and browns in excess of the magic 20 inch mark are caught in our resort.  We will gladly provide you with helpful hints to pursue our trophy trout.  Lakes, rivers, and streams around Dubois are full of hungry, cooperative trout of all sizes and species---including some real monsters.  The staff of Whiskey Mountain Tackle will gladly give you some helpful hints on where to look for your trophy of a lifetime.

Are you a BIRD LOVER?  You have indeed found the paradise of bird watching here at our resort.  Over 50 species of birds have been identified by visitors who maintain bird feeders.  Birds of all sizes and brilliant colorations respond well to bird feeders and provide a relaxing form of education and entertainment.

Are you absolutely frazzled and tired to the bone?   Our resort is perfect for doing absolutely NOTHING.  The serenity and solitude of our resort, the tall cottonwood trees, and the gentle flow of the Wind River will put you at ease.  You can also view snow-covered mountains and painted hills while watching the birds and wildlife in their natural environment.  Your cares will vanish, and you will feel good knowing that you have chosen our resort for your vacation destination.