Day 12 Wyoming Mt Rushmore Yellowstone Tetons 14 day trip
Drive from Grand Teton National Park to Elk Mountain, Wyoming - Day 12
Drive Time: 5 hours
Hotel in Elk Mountain Hotel WY: Elk Mountain Hotel
National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Center
Sinks Canyon State Park
This drive will provide you with a number of wonderful vistas and varied scenery. The drive takes you over Togwotee Pass and along the Bighorn River. You will cross the Wind River Indian Reservation and follow along the path of the Oregon, California, and Mormon Trails. The route then crosses the high desert, and then parallels the Transcontinental Railroad to Elk Mountain, Wyoming.
Directions: Proceed east from Moran, WY on US 287 (US 287 goes all the way to Rawlins) to Dubois, WY. About 15 miles after Crowheart, there is a right turn toward Fort Washakie and Lander. Just south of Lander there is a left turn, and at Muddy Gap Junction there is a right turn to Rawlins. At Rawlins, proceed left or east on I-80 to Exit # 255. Turn right, then go through the town of Elk Mountain. The Elk Mountain Hotel is just across the bridge on the east edge of town.
Hotel: Elk Mountain Hotel
Togwotee Pass with a view of the Absoraka Range at the summit is a pretty drive to Dubois.
National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Center, Dubois, Wyoming. Enter the life of a wild Bighorn Sheep and learn about their life, environment, and relationships with the animals around them.
Sinks Canyon State Park is six miles southwest of Lander, Wyoming on Highway 131. The park features a geologic phenomenon in which the Popo Agie River vanishes into a large cavern (the Sinks) but reappears in a trout-filled pool, (the Rise) about half a mile down the canyon. These trout live a leisurely life, with no fishing allowed. A visitor center features wildlife and recreation exhibits. Wildlife is frequently seen.
Independence Rock, Split Rock, and The Oregon, California, and Mormon Trails
Independence Rock About a 40 mile diversion round trip.
This granite monolith is one of the more famous landmarks along the trails and has served as a meeting place since the area was first inhabited.
Independence Rock was an important place for the Native Americans who first lived here. This giant igneous formation of feldspar and mica found its way into many native legends, and later, into the diaries of many westbound pioneers.
The first Europeans to visit the rock were members of Robert Stuart’s expedition in 1812. It is Stuart who is generally credited with discovery of the route, which became known as the Oregon Trail. Stuart’s diary indicated that he visited the site on October 30, 1812.
Naming the rock is credited to William Sublette, a mountain man turned fur trader turned wagon master, who held an Independence Day celebration here on July 4, 1830, as he led the first wagon train to cross the West. Before an audience of 80 pioneers, he christened the rock in honor of the birthdate of our nation. This is approximately the halfway point in the pioneers’ travels.
Hotel: Elk Mountain Hotel
Overland Stage Route
Dining here is wonderful
Relax: You Need it
On to Day 13
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