Wind River Backroads

With classes starting, our trips are now limited to short morning or evening drives. We spent two nights in Lander at the Sleeping Bear Campground. We stayed at the park in town. Next time we're going to stay at the larger Sleeping Bear Ranch and RV Resort south of town.

Sinks Canyon State Park

We took a half day to explore a scenic loop drive through the Wind River mountains. Our first stop was at the Sinks Canyon State Park.

Wind River

Wind RiverThe name of the park comes from the rushing mountain river that flows out of the Wind River Mountains and through the canyon. The Middle Fork of the Popo Agie flows into a limestone cavern, through an underground area and comes back out a quarter mile down the road at place called "The Rise". Huge trout can be found in this area.

Wind River

The state park visitor's center had a nice exhibit and small shop. We purchased small guide that highlighted stops along the loop drive.

Outside was an overlook for the limestone cavern.


We hiked down a short trail to the entrance to the cavern. There was a cool breeze coming out of the cave.

Wind River

We imagined how much water would be flowing through this area during the spring runoff.

Wind River

The Loop Road

After leaving the Sinks Canyon State Park, we entered the Shoshone National Forest. Next time we'll need to 1.5 hike to Popo Agie Falls from the Bruce's Camp trailhead.

Wind River

At this point the loop road turns to gravel and climbs the side of a mountain through a series of switchbacks. We saw many lakes and ponds on the trip including Frye Lake, Fiddler's Lake, and Louis Lake. Next time we need to bring a kayak and tent for a couple days.


Wind River hike
Blue Ridge Fire Lookout

The highlight of our day was a hike to the Blue Ridge Fire Lookout built in 1938. On the historic register of fire lookouts, the lookout was built of rocks on top of a prominent rock outcropping.

Wind River

We took a one mile round-trip hike on a trail created by a Cub Scout Troop from Lander. When we got to the top, we realized we probably could have taken the 4-wheel drive road to the top.

We really enjoyed the fire lookout. We checked out the Forest Fire Lookout Association website and discovered that there are others who are also fascinated by these remote places. There's even a National Historic Lookout Register.


From the top of the fire lookout, we took pictures looking north, south, east, and west.


South Pass
South Pass

It was getting late as we approached Highway 28, but we decided to continue to the South Pass City State Historic Site. This historic town contains 30 historic log, frame, and stone buildings on 39 acres of land. The Oregon, California, Mormon, and Pony Express trails all came through this area.

South Pass is also know for its involvement in the women's suffage movement. In 1870, Esther Morris became the first female judge in the United States.

South Pass

When we arrived, they were getting ready to close the buildings, but we still had time to do a quick walk around the historic town.

Wind RiverSouth Pass Jail

The buildings contained excellent signage and authentic, period furnishings. Many of the signs contained stories about the town. For example, Butch Cassidy was a regular at the hotel and gambled in the room shown below.

South Pass

Miner's Delight
Miner's Delight (Hamilton City)

The state park worker suggested that we might like to visit the ghost town called Miner's Delight. Although the sun was getting low, we took a back country road to this small BLM area.

Miner's DelightWe thought that it was strange that the area was set up for interpretive signs, but it looked like the signs were never placed. We wondered if they ran out of money.



Miner's Delight
We had a nice day. But like so many of the other places we've visited, we'll have to come back. Next time we want to try some of the back roads and also drive the Red Canyon backroad off Highway 28.

Created by Annette Lamb, 8/05.