The Badlands of western Wyoming are breathtaking, and one of the best vantage points near Dubois is from the top of Table Mountain. Close to downtown, you’ll have an expansive view of the badlands and the draws below, and you might even see an eagle or a falcon soaring through the sky. The area was once home to Native Americans, and you can see their tipi rings. The local Dubois Museum offers an educational tour of the mountain, and there are also signs up there that describe the surrounding region.
What Makes It Great
The best part about Table Mountain is that it’s a choose-your-own-adventure kind of place. If you are short on time, or are feeling a little out of breath because of the elevation, drive up from town and take your time exploring the mesa. You’ll find tipi rings from the Plains Indians, interesting rocks, and maybe even petrified wood or bison bones. The Dubois Museum offers half-day trips up to the summit, which is a great educational experience for both kids and adults. The guide will show you bison drive lines and an eagle trap, and provide historical information about the area. Some archaeologists believe that this was a sacred site used by Native Americans for their vision quests, and when you look out over the red-and-tan striped badlands, you’ll understand why this place is so special.
If you have more time, create your own trek by either hiking down the summit to one of the many draws, or start at a draw and hike up. From Mason Draw, it’s about three miles one-way, so you could always have someone pick you up at either end, or go for a six-mile round trip. From the draw up to the summit, expect to gain anywhere from 1,000-1,300 feet, with some steep sections. Keep an eye out for wildlife like deer or antelope, and enjoy the views as you venture along.
Who is Going to Love It
If you have an adventurous spirit, Table Mountain should definitely be on your Dubois “must-see” list. The summit is a great place for kids to run around and explore, and it’s also the perfect spot to get a bird’s-eye view of the Badlands.
Table Mountain is also for those who want to get in a good hike, but without getting too far away from town. You can do an easier three-mile one-way trip, or get in a solid six-mile workout, depending on what you’re up for. Most of the draws are wide and sandy, making the terrain easy for dog paws, so bring your four-legged friend if he’s up for the challenge, too!
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
To the summit of Table Mountain: Head east from downtown Dubois to Boedecker Street. Follow it around until it turns into North Mountainview Drive. Continue north for 4.2 miles, where the road will split three ways. Turn right onto a dirt road and follow it to the Table Mountain Summit. Once you turn off of North Mountainview Drive, you’ll need a high-clearance vehicle to get the rest of the way.
The tipi rings are behind a gate that is closed from late fall to winter, but opens again in the spring.
There isn’t any shade along the trail, and most of the hiking is at 7,000-8,000 feet so be sure to bring plenty of water.