Spring – Summer Scenic Driving Itinerary
Page Summary: Follow this scenic driving itinerary for the perfect photographer's dream drive in Pinedale, Wyoming.
The Upper Green River Valley has long been a favorite destination for fall travelers, but today’s adventurers come packing cameras, not beaver traps. Early fur trappers valued the pristine streams and mountains for their wealth of wildlife, much as the outdoor photographer does now. Willow lined rivers and creeks in the Wyoming and Wind River Ranges are home to moose and deer, while the high plains provide a home to pronghorn and sage grouse. Elk, bear and bighorn sheep range high up in the hills this time of year, but can be spotted by the early riser. With aspen slopes budding green and crisp mornings showing the rushing glacial water from the mountaintops, this is a picture perfect time to visit Pinedale, Wyoming. The small mountain town of Pinedale offers services and lodging to travelers. Stop by the Pinedale Visitor Center, on Pine Street, for the latest news on fishing, area activities, and more.
Be sure to visit the Museum of the Mountain Man in Pinedale for a fascinating look at the lives of Sublette County’s most colorful citizens, the fur trappers and traders. The Museum is open 9am-5pm daily through September and then 9am-4pm weekdays only in October. Once you've absorbed all the Museum has to offer continue on up the hill on Fremont Lake Road toward the Wind River Range. Just three miles from Pinedale is Fremont Lake, a 12 mile long glacially carved body of water popular for boating and fishing, complete with a marina and restaurant. Ten miles from town is White Pine Ski Area and Resort. This full service resort serves lunch year round and horseback riding is available through the fall – a great way to see the beautiful colors of the Bridger Teton National Forest. The road continues another 4 miles to end at the Elkhart Park Trailhead and Campground. A viewpoint along the way provides huge views of the rugged Wind River Range and the upper end of Fremont Lake.
Be sure to visit the Museum of the Mountain Man in Pinedale for a fascinating look at the lives of Sublette County's most colorful citizens, the fur trappers and traders. The Museum is open 9am-5pm daily through May and September and October through November 9am-4pm daily. Once you've absorbed all the Museum has to offer continue on up the hill on Fremont Lake Road toward the Wind River Range. Just three miles from Pinedale is Fremont Lake, a 12 mile long glacially carved body of water popular for boating and fishing, complete with a marina and restaurant. Ten miles from town is White Pine Ski Area and Resort. Unfortunately, the resort is currently closed for Summer 2012 but offers spring and summer trails for mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, and more – a great way to see the beautiful scenery of the Bridger Teton National Forest. The road continues another 4 miles to end at the Elkhart Park Trailhead and Campground. A viewpoint along the way provides huge views of the rugged Wind River Range and the upper end of Fremont Lake.
Jump out of bed fresh and energized from the high mountain air and head for a hearty breakfast at one of Pinedale’s friendly cafes. Take Hwy 191 west 5 miles to “the Cora Y” and turn north onto Hwy 352. You are following in the footsteps of the early mountain men and along the route of the Green River Drift, one of the longest annual cattle drives in the nation. Watch for moose along the river and red-tail hawks in the sky. The road turns to gravel at the Bridger-Teton National Forest boundary 25 miles up. You’ll have a choice to make in about three miles when you reach another Y – if you stay to the right you are headed up to Green River Lakes, headwaters of the historic Green River and home to Square Top Mountain, one of the most photographed in Wyoming. A left turn will put you on Forest Road #600 and take you over Union Pass to Dubois. You are traveling the path that brought the first mountain men into the Upper Green River Valley. The relatively gentle route travels through aspen groves, lodgepole pine forests, high mountain meadows and past lakes, streams and expansive vistas. At the top of the pass you will enter the Shoshone National Forest, where the road number changes but the main road is obvious and takes you down to Hwy #26/287 where you will turn right to Dubois. It is approximately 96 miles from Pinedale to Dubois, mostly on 30-40mph gravel roads suitable for all vehicles if driven slowly.
Wander the western streets of Dubois, catch breakfast at a friendly café, visit the art galleries, and then head to the National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Center for an educational look at these amazing animals. The Dubois Museum is located next door for a step back in history, and beyond.
Head west on Hwy #26/287 to Jackson via Togwotee Pass. You are traveling the northern portion of the Wyoming Centennial Scenic Byway; watch for signs at points of interest. Take a side trip to Brooks Lake, one of Wyoming’s hidden jewels. Watch for bison and moose as you drop down to Moran Junction and enter Grand Teton National Park. Be sure to stop and tour the National Museum of Wildlife Art just before you get to Jackson – watch for the bronze elk herd on the hill to your right across from the Elk Refuge – they mark the Museum’s entrance.
Downtown Jackson is a window shopper’s paradise, and the restaurant selection is superb. Take a stroll around the square and view the huge elk antler arch. Straddle a saddle at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar.