3 Fun Routes to Yellowstone
Wyoming’s most famous destination is Yellowstone National Park, located in the northwestern most part of the state. Carbon County Wyoming is a magical corridor to visit on your way our nation’s first National Park. Check out the fun and scenic routes we have mapped out for your convenience from various Carbon County cities to Yellowstone National Park.
1) High Mountain Crawler – (High Elevations & Beautiful Locations) Start in Rawlins, WY
Estimated mileage: 346 miles
Estimated travel time: 7.5 hours
Get on Wyoming highway 789 heading north. Travel for 44 miles until you reach Muddy Gap Junction where you can refuel and find refreshments. At Muddy Gap the road will fork. Turn left onto US Highway 287/Wyoming Highway 789 and proceed approximately 72 miles to Lander, Wyoming. In Lander you will find a little gem of a town with fun and funky shopping, a selection of restaurants and coffee houses and plenty of lodging for a stop-over.
If you have time you may want to visit Sinks Canyon State Park just a short drive outside of Lander. From Lander turn right onto US Highway 287/Wyoming Highway 789 heading towards Fort Washakie located on the Wind River Indian Reservation. Fort Washakie has several traditional Native American stores where you can find great jewelry, wool blankets, Native American art and souvenirs.
You will travel a total of 40 miles on this highway until you reach another fork in the road. Turn left onto US Highway 26/US Highway 287 and travel 43 miles northwest until you reach Dubois, Wyoming. Dubois is a true western town with the best steaks and hamburgers in the lower 48 and an impressive Big Horn Sheep Interpretive Center. From Dubois continue to follow US Highway 26 West/US Highway 287 North for 55 miles. This stretch of highway is designated a Wyoming Scenic Byway. You will find the scenery breathtaking and there are lots of turnouts and side destinations you may want to enjoy including Togwatee Recreation Area. You will find yourself at elevations surpassing 9,600 feet in the heart of the Continental Divide.
At Moran Junction take highway US 191 N/US 287 N/US 89 N 48 miles into Teton National Park, an exciting destination in its own right. Make sure to look for wildlife. Animals you may spot include elk, moose, deer, antelope and bear. Travel on Grand Loop Road (HWY 20) for 36 miles, turn left on Norris Canyon Road and travel 6 more miles to arrive at the Yellowstone National Park South Entrance.
2) The Explorer – (see the contrasting landscapes of Wyoming) Start in Baggs, WY
Estimated mileage: 430 miles
Estimated travel time: 9 hours
Head north on HWY 789 for 51 miles through some of Wyoming’s haunting sage brush dotted high desert where the pronghorn antelope really do roam. Merge onto I-80 heading west for approximately 80 miles until you reach the city of Rocksprings, Wyoming. Rocksprings has one of Wyoming’s few malls and all the amenities you may need from dining to lodging. The Sand Dunes, just a few miles north of Rock Springs, are the largest in North America and well worth a visit if your time frame allows. From Rock Springs head north 36 miles on HWY 191 to Farson. The Farson store offers the biggest ice cream cones you will find anywhere and is a great refreshment stop. From Farson continue north on HWY 191 for an additional 70 miles. You will travel through Pinedale where you can visit White Pine Ski Area & Resort offering world-class recreation in Wyoming's Wind River Mountains. In the summer ride the chair lifts for the view or in the winter enjoy downhill and cross county skiing. Continue down US HWY 191/US 189 for 53 miles along this Wyoming Scenic Byway running along the Gros Ventre Mountain Range to Hoback Junction. Once you reach (Hoback Junction) US 189/US 191/US 89 stay right and travel 12 miles into famous Jackson Hole.
Jackson offers shopping, fine dining and a classy resort atmosphere. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is the gem of the town with some of the nation’s best skiing in the winter and mountain biking, chairlift rides and even an alpine slide ride for the kids in the summer. Follow US HWY 191 N/US 26 E/US 89 N for 30 miles through some of Wyoming’s most beautiful scenery until you reach Moran Junction. At Moran Junction take highway US 191 N/US 287 N/US 89 N 48 miles into Teton National Park, an exciting destination in its own right. Make sure to look for wildlife. Animals you may spot include elk, moose, deer, antelope and bear. Travel on Grand Loop Road (HWY 20) for 36 miles, turn left on Norris Canyon Road and travel 6 more miles to arrive at the Yellowstone National Park South Entrance.
3) The Roundabout (great for natural hot springs lovers) – Start in Encampment
Estimated mileage; 420 miles
Estimated travel time 9 hours
From Encampment travel just less than a mile to Riverside. Don’t forget to stop at the Carbon County Visitors Center for area attractions and information!
Here Wyoming HWY 70 becomes WY HWY 230. Follow WY HWY 230 for 12 miles into Saratoga. Saratoga has great fishing and a natural hot springs free and available to the public where you can soak away the tensions of travel. Travel 20 miles on HWY 130 (once WY HWY 230) until you reach the junction of I-80. Travel on I-80 for approximately 20 miles until you find Exit 215. Rawlins is Carbon County’s biggest city so you will find plenty of amenities and activities to enjoy. The Wyoming Territorial Prison is one of Rawlins’ biggest draws and great pit stop on the road. From Rawlins travel north bound on WY HWY 789/US HWY 287 for 42 miles until you reach Muddy Gap Junction where you can refuel and find refreshments. At Muddy Gap the road will fork. Turn left onto US Highway 287/Wyoming Highway 789 and proceed 42 miles to Sweetwater Station where you will find a well maintained rest stop the junction of HWY 135 US HWY 26 WY HWY 789. Head north on this road 36 miles into Riverton. Riverton has lodging, dining, shopping and an international airport. From Riverton follow US HWY 26/WY HWY 789
22 miles to the town of Shoshone. Continue to follow US HWY 20/WY HWY 789 32 miles north through the scenic Wind River Canyon. You will pass through Boysen State Park which a great place to picnic or splash in Boysen Resevoir. You will travel 32 miles on this road before reaching Thermopolis. Thermopolis is known for it’s 3 publicly open natural hot springs. Spend some time at The TeePee, or The Star Plunge where you can play on the waterslides or swim in the natural hot spring pools. From Thermopolis head northwest 52 miles on WY HWY120 to Meeteetse. Be one the look out for Meeteetse’s famed black footed ferret indigenous to the area. This little creature was once thought to be extinct and you can consider yourself lucky to site one. Remain on WY HWY 120 for another 24 miles into Cody. Cody got its name from Wild Buffalo Bill Cody and is a symbol of the old west. We recommend you visit the Buffalo Bill Museum and Historical Society it is a world class museum. Take US-14/US-16/US-20 heading west out of Cody. Travel 52 miles along this Wyoming Scenic Byway until you arrive at the East Entrance to Yellowstone National Park.