Centennial Scenic Byway in Wind River Country celebrates its 25th birthday

(Dubois, Wyo.) – Some of Cody Beers’ fondest memories growing up involve driving vacations with the car crammed with a tent, cooler, sleeping bag and family. They’d stop along the drive to camp, hike and fish.

“A place like Togwotee Pass is a place to make those memories,” said Beers, a public relations specialist with the Wyoming Department of Transportation.

Togwotee Pass, on US Highway 287/26, is just one outstanding segment of the Centennial Scenic Byway, which runs 161 miles from Dubois to Pinedale.

The Centennial Scenic Byway, which celebrates its 25th birthday this year, passes through two national forests – the Shoshone and Bridger-Teton, the National Elk Refuge, Grand Teton National Park and trailheads that provide access to the Teton, Gros Ventre, Bridger and Washakie wilderness areas. It also will take you to the doorstep of Yellowstone, the country’s first National Park.

“The highway cuts through some of the wildest country left in the lower 48,” Beers said.

While the entire drive is beautiful, the stretch from the historic western town of Dubois over Togwotee Pass is special with enough opportunities for adventure- hikes to waterfalls, wildlife sightings and camping under bright stars-  to keep you occupied for several days. For seven years the Wyoming Department of Transportation rebuilt the Togwotee Pass Road on Highway 287, over a stunning Rocky Mountain Pass.  The result is not just a smoother ride that takes you over the Continental Divide at 9,658-feet, but better views of wildlife- you might see grizzly bears, moose or elk among other animals – and some of the best views of the Tetons from anywhere.

People often see more wildlife and get better views of scenery than they do in Yellowstone or Grand Teton National Parks, especially in July and August when the parks are crowded, Beers said. There are campgrounds and trails and the best part is the sense of having it all to yourself.

“It is one of my favorite places in the world,” Beers said.

Luckily there’s plenty of room, trails and campsites to share, he said. Plus Dubois has motels, campgrounds, bed and breakfasts, cabin rentals, and dude ranches for overnight stays as well as week-long adventures.

The new highway also has 8-foot shoulders so people can pull over to take in the views, more pullouts for wildlife watching, a reduced speed limit of 55 mph, and several sets of passing lanes for safety.

“Why get in a hurry?” Beers said. “Going over Togwotee Pass is a vacation on your way to your vacation.”

Follow the Centennial Scenic Byway through Wind River Country to your Wyoming adventure. Enjoy the ride!

For more information on traveling the Centennial Scenic Byway through Wyoming’s Wind River Country, visitwindriver.org. To request a vacation packet, please visit our website or call 800-645-6233. For a complete calendar of events go to www.windriver.org/calendar.

–Provided by Wind River Country, a County10 Community Partner