Outdoor Recreation

The town of Dubois is ringed by public lands and wilderness, all of it protected by the National Forest Service, the US Bureau of Land Management, or the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. As a result, a visit to the town offers access to unparalleled opportunities to enjoy the great American outdoors and to capture glimpses of its natural wonders: Hidden valleys and mountain peaks, sagebrush and Indian paintbrush, trout and walleye, elk, moose, and bighorn sheep.

Much of this land is in the nation’s first national forest, the Shoshone National Forest, established in 1917. It contains the largest amount of summer range for elk, deer, and bighorn sheep in the entire Yellowstone region, as well as more moose habitat than the six other national forests combined.

[su_spoiler title=”Canoeing and Kayaking” ]
The Wind River that gives the whole valley its name offers plenty of opportunities for paddle-powered boating–especially in spring and early summer when the river is high. Follow US Highway 26/287 in both directions out of town and look for “Wind River Access” signs to locate places to put in. An easy jaunt is from the upstream end of the town river walk [internal hyperlink] to the other, and beyond into the badlands [internal link].
Alternatively, you can have a placid boating experience almost any time (except winter) on one of the quiet mountain-ringed lakes in the area: Brooks Lake in the mountains west of Dubois, or one of the three glacial lakes in Whiskey Basin four miles west of town.
Boating supplies are available at Wind River Gear [internal hyperlink] and from Marlow’s Fly Shop [internal hyperlink] .
[su_spoiler title=”Camping”]

Recreational-vehicle (RV) and tent camping are available at numerous commercial campsites {internal link to RV Parks and Campsites] in or near Dubois.

In the summer months, you can also camp at any of five public campgrounds in the Shoshone National Forest:

  • Brooks Lake [http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/shoshone/recreation/camping-cabins/recarea/?recid=36419&actid=29]
  • Double Cabin [http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/shoshone/recreation/camping-cabins/recarea/?recid=36447&actid=29]
  • Falls Campround [http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/shoshone/recreation/camping-cabins/recarea/?recid=36469&actid=29]
  • Horse Creek [http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/shoshone/recreation/camping-cabins/recarea/?recid=36489&actid=29]
  • Pinnacles [http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/shoshone/recreation/camping-cabins/recarea/?recid=36535&actid=29]Full RV hookups are available only at Falls Campground. You can’t reserve a site at any of the five locations above.

Bears and fires are always a threat in the Wind River wilderness. If you’re camping in the woods, come prepared to stow food securely away from bear access, and be sure to set fires safely and douse them thoroughly. To learn more, read about bear safety  [http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/shoshone/home/?cid=stelprdb5187636] and fire prevention [http://www.smokeybear.com/campfire-safety.asp] from the US Forest Service.

For further information, visit the Shoshone National Forest Ranger Station at 1403 W. Ramshorn St. at the western edge of town (307-455-2466).

[su_spoiler title=”Cross-country Skiing”]
Although the winter climate in Dubois is too temperate to support a year-round downhill ski industry, abundant snow in the nearby mountains offers many beautiful opportunities for cross-country skiing.
The trails will be found meandering through mountain meadows and wooded landscapes west of town, near Falls Campground and in the Brooks Lake Area, or farther up Togwotee Pass.
For further information, visit the Shoshone National Forest Ranger Station at 1403 W. Ramshorn St. at the western edge of town (307-455-2466).
Equipment can be rented at Wind River Gear [internal hyperlink]. A great place to stop for a meal or a drink afterwards is the Wilderness Boundary Restaurant at Lava Mountain Lodge [internal hyperlink] near Brooks Lake.
[su_spoiler title=”Dog Sledding”]
Travel at the speed of dogs with an expert dog-sledding guide. A Wyoming native and resident of the Dubois area offers half-day, overnight, or multi-day dogsledding tours [http://www.dogsledadventures.com/default.htm] of the Shoshone National Forest and the Continental Divide. (307-222-0421 or 307-455-3052)
[su_spoiler title=”Fishing”]
The lakes and streams around Dubois have been a magnet for anglers for generations. Cory Toye explained why in Trout Unlimited in 2011:
“Fishing throughout the [Wind River] basin and the mountains provides a visual experience matched by few places,” he wrote. “The rivers are home to wild and native trout that thrive in habitat that can range from high elevation alpine streams and lakes to a volatile and turbid river that cuts through the badlands.”
Some of the best fishing around is just off the road at Wyoming Game and Fish Department public fishing access areas. There are pull-offs on the Wind River near Dubois, so there’s no excuse not to stop for a cast or two. Who knows, before you know it the sun may have set and you’re still wading and casting.
Or you can enjoy a different kind of day with some exceptional fishing on the wilderness rivers and lakes in the back country. Here you’ll be chasing sport fish like large-mouth bass and walleye from the deck of a boat.
In the winter, most of the lakes around Dubois freeze solid and make for great ice fishing. You can catch a variety of trout, burbot or ling, and whitefish through the ice. Many waters are accessible only by snowmobile, but Torrey Lake, Ring Lake, and Trail Lake in the Whiskey Basin are ideal for ice fishing – and a quick car trip back to town when you get cold.
Fishing regulations are available from the Wyoming Game & Fish Department [https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Fishing-and-Boating/Fishing-Regulations] (800-654-7862)
A number of local fishing guides [internal hyperlink] offer trips ranging from an early morning jaunt in the front country to a multi-day excursion into the mountains.
[su_spoiler title=”Golf”]
Antelope Hills Golf Club
126 Clubhouse Dr.
Dubois, Wyoming  82513
(307) 455-2888
Nestled in the beautiful red hills of the badlands west of Dubois, surrounded by extraordinary views of snow-capped mountains, the Antelope Hills Golf Course is a challenging 9-hole hole course. The course has an 18-hole rating with an extra set of tees for both men and women, providing back nine play. Total yardage for the men is 6,243 and for the women, 5,529. The firm bluegrass fairways and high elevation makes you feel like a tour professional off the tee, and the undulating bent grass greens will put your putting skills to test.
The Club offers the following:
• Full-Line pro shop
• Driving range
• Cart rentals
• Club rentals
• The Back Nine Bar
[su_spoiler title=”Hiking”]
Surrounded by natural beauty and both state and Federal protected lands, Dubois abounds in unsurpassed opportunities for hiking. National Geographic Adventures ranks hiking the Wind River range as one of the top 50 adventures in the United States.
Trails include (but are hardly limited to):
• Badlands Trails. Take the gravel road past the Dubois Landfill to reach the Bureau of Land Management’s Dubois Badlands Wilderness Study Area, which is great for day hikes but too rugged and waterless for extended backpacking. Views from the top are breathtaking, and a scramble down any of the reddish, sandy draws may reward you with an ancient buffalo bone or a small piece of petrified branch. The many mountain bike trails will eventually bring you back to the gravel road.
• Brooks Lake Trails. Reached by a gravel road leaving US Highway 26/287 about 20 miles west of Dubois, you can hike approximately 3 easy-to-moderate miles uphill from the breathtaking setting of Brooks Lake to Upper Jade lake, or take a more challenging 6-mile ascent to Bonneville Pass, a broad meadow carpeted with wildflowers in spring and early summer beneath spectacular pinnacles and spires.
• Double Cabin and Horse Creek. Twenty-five miles north of Dubois, driving up Horse Creek Road from the middle of town, you reach Double Cabin, a remote campground [http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/shoshone/recreation/camping-cabins/recarea/?recid=36447&actid=29] surrounded by towering mountains of the Absaroka Range. Two trails go deep into the wilderness north of the campground, and one leads south. The Frontier Creek Trail leads to a petrified forest that once abounded with fragments of trees turned to stone, before hordes of hikers pilfered them all away. You may still find a few rocky tree stumps too huge to lift. (It’s illegal to remove petrified rocks from this area, as it is to lift any artifacts of interest from any government-owned wilderness property.)
• Sheridan Creek. Drive about 17 miles west of Dubois and turn left onto Forest Service road 532 to enter this popular camping area. A wealth of old logging roads penetrate into this part of the forest. They may lead you to an abandoned homestead in a mountain meadow if you’re lucky, or just to a fabulous vista of the peaks of the Absarokas if you’re not.
• Union Pass. [internal hyperlink] Set off up Union Pass Road, well marked on the south side of US Highway 26/287 about 14 miles west of Dubois, to reach the high pass where three major rivers divide and where you can see four mountain ranges from one location. You’ll come across the Continental Divide Trail up here, but many other small roads also beckon for day hikes.
• Whiskey Basin. Drive 4 miles east of Dubois town center to find Whiskey Basin/Trail Lake Road heading off to the right. It ends in the parking lot at the trailhead, past 3 lakes in a glacial valley. The well-marked Glacier Trail is the setting-off point to the Fitzpatrick Wilderness and Wyoming’s highest spot, Gannett Peak, which is 25 miles away. But the great day hike to remote, high Lake Louise is only 6 miles up and back, moderately difficult with some clambering beyond a lovely waterfall. Go left at the bridge and up the other side of the waterfall to reach Bomber Basin, where a World War II plane crashed and burned (some remains of the wreck still visible) for a longer full-day hike.
Hiking at altitudes above 7,000 feet can be challenging and perilous. Be sure to use plenty of sunscreen and take water and bear spray (available at many stores in Dubois).
For further information, visit the Shoshone National Forest Ranger Station at 1403 W. Ramshorn St. at the western edge of town (307-455-2466). Staff at the Dubois Museum [internal hyperlink] often have good suggestions.
[su_spoiler title=”Horseback Riding/Pack Trips”]
Any quick drive down the highway should testify that Dubois is horse country, though horses here spend much of their time away from the road and up in the mountains.
You can hitch your own horses in the town park, corral them in several of the town’s motels [internal hyperlink], book a day ride [internal hyperlink] or plan a multi-day pack trip with any of several local experienced local guides and outfitters [internal hyperlink].
Or you can hitch up and ride all day while enjoying creature comforts at night, if you book a stay at one of the many guest ranches [internal hyperlink] in the area. Adventurers were visiting guest ranches here before you were born (unless you’re 105 years old). It’s still one of the best ways to fully experience the greater Dubois area on horseback.
[su_spoiler title=”Hunting”]
The Wind River region around Dubois is habitat for many big game and trophy animals: bighorn sheep, black bear, deer, elk, moose, mountain lion, and pronghorn, not to mention many game birds.
Here’s how one hunter described the experience: “When we set out for the 15 mile ride to hunting camp, … it was gorgeous, sunny and 75 degrees, not exactly textbook elk hunting weather. But it was hard to complain, as the scenery was breathtaking and the ride fairly pleasant on … the dude horse. Camp was well-established, with spacious heated wall tents and a nice warm cook tent and fire circle for evening chats and libations.” [Seeking permission to use this quote with hyperlink to http://www.huntingal.com/fisher/elkstory/go ]
Dubois is amply ready to welcome hunters to town after the busy summer season, with numerous motels and lodges [internal hyperlink], rental cabins [internal hyperlink], and experienced outfitters [internal hyperlink].
Hunting and fishing regulations are available from the Wyoming Game & Fish Department [https://wgfd.wyo.gov/hunting]. (800-654-7862)
[su_spoiler title=”Mountain Biking”]
Around Dubois, mountains are us, and you explore almost all of them by bike, enjoying the effort that got you to this secluded mountain meadow or that cascading creek.
Most roads in the Shoshone National Forest [internal hyperlink] (except wilderness areas) are open to mountain bikes.
Or maybe you want to discover the rough silence of the badlands [internal hyperlink] that once attracted Butch Cassidy (although he came by horse). Numerous single-track bike trails in the isolated areas behind and beyond the town landfill are kept in good shape by locals, or you can explore the double-track roads to the east on Table Mountain, to and beyond the site of the abandoned World War II airport. (Keep a lookout for teepee rings.)
There are also many good, long double-track trails on spectacular Union Pass [internal hyperlink] accessible to bikes. You can even take a challenging single-track roller-coaster ride with banks, plunges, and jumps on the Scenic Overlook [internal hyperlink], right in the middle of town.
Whichever way you go, the trails are numerous and lead off in every direction. Come and explore them!
(Please follow some simple rules: You share the trails with hikers and people on horseback; please don’t scare the walkers, the riders, or the mounted animals. Horses always have the right of way. Stop your bike, don’t make rush movements. Let the horses see you.)
[su_spoiler title=”Off-Road 4×4″]
A four-wheeler is one of the best ways to explore the far reaches of the high mountain deserts and forests around here. Fill your memory banks with a wealth of mind-boggling images. It would take many years to follow all of the trails near Dubois, and then you’d want to start over.
Roam across the wide high plains of Union Pass [internal hyperlink].
Explore the badlands [internal hyperlink] beyond the town landfill and onto Table Mountain.
Follow old logging roads in the Sheridan Creek area [.
There’s plenty more.
(Please stay only on vehicle-authorized roads. Remember, you share the trails with hikers and horses. Don’t scare them! Pull over and move slowly and predictably as they pass.)
For rules and other information visit the Wyoming State Trails Program {http://wyotrails.state.wy.us/ORV/Index.aspx] or consult the Shoshone National Forest Ranger Station at 1403 W. Ramshorn St. at the western edge of town (307-455-2466).
Find vehicle rentals and repairs here [hyperlink].
[su_spoiler title=”Snowmobiling”]
Dubois is the place to find truly world-class snowmobile adventures. The snow base west of town averages from one to ten feet in winter, while skies are usually sunny, the climate is pleasantly dry, and the season is remarkably long.
For several years the nearby Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail has been designated the best snowmobile trail in the American West by readers of SnoWest magazine for scenery, grooming, signage, snow quality, terrain, weather, and other features.
But that’s only one of the options among many on high Union Pass [internal hyperlink], where you can drive for hours over uninterrupted open fields, sometimes seeing mountain peaks on all sides.
At around 9000 feet in elevation, Togwotee Pass west of Dubois is renowned for late-spring snowmobiling.
With more than 100 miles of groomed trails and untold acres of pristine snow for off-trail riding, at elevations between 6,000 and 10,000 feet, this is the kind of location a snowmobile enthusiast dreams about.
Back in town, you’ll find plenty of rest and relaxation at any of Dubois’ authentic Western motels [internal hyperlink], rental cabins [internal hyperlink], restaurants [internal hyperlink], and taverns [internal hyperlink]. Supplies and repairs are easily available at several machine dealers [internal hyperlink] in Dubois.
For more information and regulations, check out the Wyoming State Trails Program website [http://wyotrails.state.wy.us/Snow/Index.aspx] or visit the Shoshone National Forest Ranger Station at 1403 W. Ramshorn St. at the western edge of town (307-455-2466).
[su_spoiler title=”Snowshoeing”]
With abundant snow but a relatively mild, dry midwinter climate, the opportunities for snowshoeing in the higher elevations west of Dubois are nothing short of amazing. The snowfall is insufficient to support a downhill ski industry here, which is nothing but good news if you appreciate silence and solitude. Just find your trailhead, strap them on, and explore.
Fine spots to set out from are the Sheridan Creek camping area about 17 miles west of downtown Dubois or Brooks Lake a few miles farther along (where the road in is closed for most of the winter). Or drive farther up toward Togwotee Pass. It only gets better the higher you go.
Watch out for snowmobiles on any of the groomed trails, but off trail you’ll find true serenity. Who knows: You may scare up an antelope or a hare.
Visit the Shoshone National Forest Ranger Station at 1403 W. Ramshorn St. (307-455-2466) for more ideas. For equipment, go to Wind River Gear [hyperlink].
[su_spoiler title=”Town Park and Scenic Overlook”]
You can enjoy the great outdoors without even leaving town. For those with less physical ability, energy, or time, visits to the town park and the Scenic Overlook just across the highway are an easy way to capture many of the natural joys of Dubois.
You can’t camp in the town park, but you can have a picnic there, use the skate park, the playground, the tennis courts and—best of all—the Riverwalk. Extending on both sides of the river, the paved and handicapped-accessible walkway is lined by willow, juniper, and sagebrush. There’s also a small beach on the far side of the boardwalk footbridge.
Across the highway and slightly to the west, look for the large Scenic Overlook sign and the gravel roadway leading up to the high ridge at the north. You can drive to the top or, if you’re ambitious, the hike to the top is a great workout. Trails suitable for hiking and mountain biking criss-cross the two-level “bench” at the plateau halfway up. At the summit, the view of the surrounding mountains is spectacular. It may be the only place on earth to see all 3 mountain-building processes (volcanic, tectonic, and sedimentary) from one location. Look for the informational signs beside the circular roadway at the top.