Category: Modern Travel

The Top 5 Bouldering Areas in New Mexico

By dchulst on February 21st 2018

Whether you’re living the dirtbag life or you’re looking for a weeklong escape to crank out some problems, New Mexico has top-notch bouldering to offer. For decades, most of the bouldering areas in the state had been passed along by word of mouth, but this spring, local climber Owen Summerscales published the first New Mexico bouldering book in history. He spent years talking with locals, driving around the state, and exploring where climbers go. We asked him for his recommendations on the best places to scout out problems in the Land of Enchantment. Here are five of his favorite spots.


Jamie Stull on Pressure Drop, a V2 in Box Canyon Owen Summerscales

Box Canyon is home to steep volcanic bouldering outside of Socorro, NM. The area calls for a gymnastic style of climbing, says Summerscales. The best part? The warm climate makes the spot nearly weatherproof—even in the winter, and its close proximity to Albuquerque means easy access to restaurants and bars after you’ve worked up an appetite.

Where to camp: There are about five campsites available right where the bouldering takes place, but many locals prefer to stay in one of the 12 sites at Water Canyon Campground, located about 10 miles west of Box Canyon. Water Canyon features fire pits, grills, vault bathrooms, and a handful of tent pads.

Where to explore: The Cibola National Forest offers easy hikes with expansive views. Hike any number of peaks, including North Baldy, South Baldy, Timber Peak, and Buck Peak. If you get tired of campfire meals, grab some Mexican food at La Pasadita Cafe in Socorro.


Bouldering The Odyssey, a V10 at the Nosos bouldering area Owen Summerscales

This quartzite boulder outcrop is just outside of the village of La Madera, NM, and according to Summerscales, it boasts the best rock quality of any stone in the state. Bonus: “The the views aren’t bad either,” he says.

Where to camp: Located 18 miles north of the village is Tres Piedras, a free site at the base of the biggest of the rock formations in the area. Complete with campfire rings and large trees, you’ll enjoy the view from any of these established camping spots.

Where to explore: This spot is less than an hour west of Taos, NM, the area famous for its art and writing. Swing by town, catch the view of the canyon from the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, check out the art galleries, and grab a beer at the Taos Mesa Brewing, where there’s often live music, dancing, and other types of activities.


Nat Gustafson hanging on to Fury Road, V4 Owen Summerscales

If you’re bouldering in the dead of summer, this is your destination. What Summerscales describes as, a “blissful forested outcrop of schist” sits on the Jarita Mesa in the Carson National Forest. Because its elevation is about 9,000 feet, the area is significantly cooler than other parts of New Mexico—even in July and August. “It’s a great place to escape the heat and crank on some crimpy problems,” he says.

Where to camp: Primitive free campsites are available 18 miles northwest of the climbing area at the Trout Lake Campground. The area is usually crowd-free. Although there are no established picnic tables or grills, there is a vault toilet on the premises.

Where to explore: If you stay at Trout Lake, take advantage of some prime fishing in one of the three lakes within hiking distance. If you’re visiting in the fall, check out the golden aspen trees that flood the area with color during peak leaf months.


Romain Pannetier on Foxy Boxing, V3 Owen Summerscales

If adventure is what you look for in a bouldering trip, says Summerscales, this is the place for you. Ortega West is northeast of El Rito and is packed with an endless number of quartzite cliff bands and boulders. Forget the plan; this is a the place to explore and stumble on a gem. But, Summerscales cautions, you will need 4 wheel drive and some solid navigation skills to reach the bouldering.

Where to camp: Stay in Trout Lake, as you would if you were bouldering in Posos, or head to Orilla Verde Area of the Rio Grande Gorge for a site complete with drinking water, fire rings, a boat ramp, and restrooms.

Where to explore: While you’re in the area, explore Carson National Forest. The wilderness area includes 1.5 million acres of fishing, camping, and hiking. Plus, with some of the best mountain views in the state, you’ll never want to leave.


Nialls Chavez on Buttercup, V5 Owen Summerscales

If you search for Roy, you’ll be hard stretched to find any specific problems online. For decades, information about bouldering in Roy, NM, has been by word of mouth, and it offers what Summerscales calls the best bouldering in the state. Hundreds of problems set on ergonomically-shaped Dakota sandstone boulders scatter the Canadian River drainage. “A lifetime of world-class climbing exists out here,” he says.

Where to camp: All the camping near Roy is primitive. There are many areas overlooking some of the best boulders, but depending on the time of year, they can get crowded. If you head 12 miles outside of town to Mills Canyon Campground, you’ll find fire rings, picnic tables, and nearby restrooms.

Where to explore: While you’re in the area, scope out Kiowa National Grassland, 136,000 acres of open prairies, hiking, and big skies. Keep an eye out for the wild pronghorn antelope that are native to the area.

For beta on specific problems and more areas to boulder in New Mexico, grab a copy of ‘New Mexico Bouldering‘ by Owen Summerscales.

Originally written by RootsRated.

Insider’s Guide to Petrified Forest National Park

By dchulst on February 14th 2018

The faded colors that dominate Petrified Forest National Park reflect centuries of erosion that have weathered the landscape into subdued hues of Arizona reds, oranges, and blues. Defying this trend are the marvelous samples of petrified wood strewn throughout the parched land. Unlike the dusty, powdery mounds of color in the Painted Desert, petrified wood is a glossy outlier. Brilliant, deep crimson patterns flourish in these stone-hard remnants, accented by sunset-orange rings and seafoam green strokes. Eons ago, ancient Arizona was part of a subtropical region and rich with aquatic life. Fast moving rivers trapped both flora and fauna in sediment, preserving a wealth of fossils as well as the wood husks of the namesake forest.

Fast forward 225 million years to see that time has drastically altered the land, changing the humid climate to barren, arid scrubland. The rivers and waterways are gone, only briefly resurrected in the form of the flash floods that occasionally scour the sandy washes. Yet, life sustains. The 218,553 acres that make up this unique national park were initially set aside in 1962. Though the moniker “Petrified Forest National Park” champions the most impressive relics in the area, there is much more to see beyond the hardened flora. The heavily eroded hills of the Painted Desert feature symmetrical stripes in muted colors, fossils are locked in stone outcrops, petroglyphs carved by ancient hands decorate remote rocks, and recent historical archives from Route 66 add to the attractions in the park. While the geology and history exemplify faded glory, the modern visitor will find plenty of amazing aspects to enjoy in this ever-changing region.


The beautiful colors of petrified wood. Chris M. Morris

The Painted Desert Visitor Center and Rainbow Forest Museums are the first places to check out when coming to the park. There are detailed explanations of the natural and human history, including the amazing process of how petrified wood turned from organic material to stone. Millions of years ago, rivers deposited minerals into the cells of organisms and they hardened, leaving behind the beautiful arrays of color in the ruins of a long lost forest (a process known as permineralization ). Stepping outside of the visitor’s center offers a look at several samples of the wood, along with a short (less than a mile), signed trail that overlooks some of the colorful mounds of sand. Rainbow Forest has access to Giant Logs, Long Logs, and Agate House Trails, showcasing more of the wood in the wild as well as the dwellings of ancient civilizations.

It cannot be stressed enough to leave behind samples of petrified wood. Even with strict regulations forbidding theft, the park service estimates more than 12 tons of petrified wood is pilfered each year. Please do not take any souvenirs from the land, no matter how small they are.

Despite having short walking trails, there’s a lot of information to enjoy in these two visitor’s destinations. The artistry of petrified wood is truly mesmerizing. For those curious to know if man-made petrified wood has ever been made, it has, but it lacks the random beauty of natural wood.


A smattering of petrified wood in the Jasper Forest. Andrew Kearns

While the landscape beyond the visitor centers and museums may seem barren, there are many secrets to uncover in the park. Driving from trailhead to trailhead happens naturally as you explore the park, so stopping as you go to wander on some of the hiking trails beyond the main attractions is definitely worth it. Note that it can get blazing hot and dry in the summer (over 100° on a regular basis, so bring lots of water!) so hiking in the autumn, winter, and spring is the most comfortable—though most trails are short enough to endure the summer heat for a short time. Be warned if you plan a winter visit, the record cold is -37° and winds can whip up over 50 mph!

One of the most impressive hikes, especially at sunset, is the Jasper Forest Hike. A 2.5 mile out-and-back trek, this was the first petrified forest discovered by western settlers. Great blocks of petrified wood sit in the desert sand, including delicately balanced cubes mottled with vermilion and blue-grey minerals. At sunset, colors transform into deep ruby-red and orange, creating a dreamlike ambiance as the earth begins to cool for the night.

Onyx Bridge is a slightly rugged, 4-mile round-trip hike that starts from the Painted Desert Inn and ventures out to a large, 30-foot tall Triassic era conifer tree turned to stone. The tree is mostly intact and is estimated to be over 200 million years old. Finally, the Blue Forest Trail is a 3-mile out-and-back that highlights the impressive, striated mounds of the Painted Desert. The grey, red, tan, and black stripes that decorate the hills are especially photogenic in winter light.


The painted hills at Petrified Forest National Park. Kimble Young

There are no overnight facilities in the park itself, but for the adventurous, backpacking is allowed in the park. This is only allowed in the wilderness portion of the park (which is separate from the fee area) and you must have a permit. Even more interesting, horseback riding is allowed in the wilderness areas and equestrian backcountry explorers can even go camping with their horses! Note that that there is not a drop of water in the park, so you must bring in all your own for yourself and your horses. Autumn and early winter are the best times of the year to explore the backcountry in this fashion. Most adventures start at the Painted Desert Inn and many routes use a combination of trail and off-trail access. Backpacking offers a great way to see some of the remote petroglyphs, fossil walls, and other secrets hidden in the park.


Don’t take any samples of petrified wood.

Seriously, don’t. It’s very easy to pocket a little piece and think you are doing no harm, but with over 800,000 annual visitors, this mentality will quickly deplete the park of its namesake resource.

Make sure to pack in enough water, even for short day hikes. This is an extremely dry landscape and people have been known to get heat exhaustion, even on the modest visitor center trails.

A lot of rugged wildlife exists in the park, from snakes to coyotes. Don’t feed them and try not to stress them if you encounter them.

People sometimes forget the altitude—the park is located at 5,800 feet above sea level. If you’re feeling a little winded, it could be the thinner air.

And once more… don’t poach any wood from the park!

Petrified Forests Not Your Gig?

Maybe petrified forests aren’t your thing, and that’s alright! Consider giving the Grand Canyon a shot. We’ll even tell you how to beat the crowds! Whatever you decide to do, know that time spent in the American southwest is time spent in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

Originally written by RootsRated.

How to Avoid Crowds on Your Next Grand Canyon Vacation

By dchulst on January 10th 2018

Grand Canyon is one of the most visited national parks, and therefore one of the most crowded. Though the landscape attracts precisely because of its overwhelming scale, crowds are funneled into just a few relatively small, developed areas on the South and North Rims. This leaves the rest of the canyon and its grandeur to only the most intrepid visitors. The trails that enter the Inner Canyon and access more remote areas of the national park are certainly worth exploring, but still only cover a small piece of the greater Grand Canyon landscape.

The national park is surrounded by 1.7 million acres of public land with no entry fee and fewer restrictions on use than the park itself. This means free camping along gorgeous trails and surrounded by epic scenery—and it’s all just a bit off the beaten path. At certain spots, you can even have the rim of the Grand Canyon all to yourself.

Kanab Wilderness Creek in the Kaibab National Forest. USDA Forest Service, Soutwestern Region, Kaibab National Forest

Kaibab National Forest borders Grand Canyon National Park on both sides. You actually drive through it to access either the South or North Rim entrance. The forest and the public lands around the Grand Canyon get a lot less publicity than the national park, which makes the area a lot less crowded. In order to ensure that these lands remain minimally developed and protected, there is a proposal to designate this area as the Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument.

Within this expanse are tall mountains, slot canyons, endless pine forests, open meadows, serene lakes, and stands of aspen that glow gold in the fall, not to mention countless vistas on the Grand Canyon rim that are outside the national park border. Traversing this wild landscape are over 300 miles of hiking trails and many dirt roads, which can take you deep into the woods and far from the crowds.

Kanab Creek Wilderness. USDA Forest Service

While the touristy overlooks and well-traveled trails at North and South Rim are worth it for the classic panoramas, you should know how to quickly escape the crowds and find solitude within the national forest and public lands surrounding the park.

Here are just a few of the best places for an adventure that most people miss out on.


Monument Point on the North Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. John Strother

If visiting the North Rim, you can bypass the touristy park entrance and instead take dirt roads to Monument Viewpoint on the canyon rim. This is the start for Bill Hall Trail, which is a long and rugged descent for really committed hikers. Anyone can enjoy the scenery, though, because you can set up camp close to the canyon rim, where views are huge during the day and stars will blow you away at night. Monument Viewpoint is technically within the national park boundary, so be sure to follow all posted regulations once you cross over from the national forest.


Saddle Mountain. Jesse Weber

Saddle Mountain is a highpoint on the eastern region of Grand Canyon’s North Rim. The surrounding wilderness has no roads in an area of more than 40,000 acres. This means that few people make it to the breathtaking, high-elevation overlooks within. One of the best is from Saddle Mountain’s namesake saddle near the Nankoweap Trail. Beginning from scrubland in House Rock Valley, the trail steadily climbs through a secluded valley into a shady pine forest, concealing any hint of the vista ahead, until the trees suddenly part at the edge of a different world.


Southwestern Region, Kaibab National Forest. USDA Forest Service

Jacob Lake, nestled in the northern portion of the Kaibab National Forest atop the Kaibab Plateau, is known as the gateway to the Grand Canyon’s North Rim. Because of its higher elevation on the plateau, the area is heavily forested with ponderosa pines, aspens and spruce firs, unlike the desertous region it that surrounds it . The campgrounds and lodging here make this a prime basecamp for hiking and biking the nearby trails. Lookout Canyon Trail provides some much needed respite from the hot summer sun, while others like the famous Arizona Trail and the Navajo Trail offer amazing views of the surrounding area.

Important to note that the Jacob Lake campground and most trails near the main highway are usually quite crowded during the open season (May-October), but you don’t have to go far on dirt forest roads to find peace and quiet. As with anywhere on North Rim, roads are often closed/impassable in winter, but snowmobiling and cross country skiing are options in the national forest.


Southwestern Region, Kaibab National Forest. USDA Forest Service

North of the Grand Canyon, Kanab Creek Wilderness is a remote area in the Kaibab National Forest that can be challenging to access, but that can also almost guarantee solitude. Kanab Creek begins in southern Utah and is one of the largest tributaries to the Colorado River. It’s path is marked by a series of canyons and gorges, many of which can be hiked individually in a day’s time, or linked together for an epic multi-day backpacking trip from the Grand Canyon’s north rim into the canyon itself. This journey can be arduous as the trails are not well-maintained and the going is quite rugged.


Grandview Lookout Tower, Arizona. Zruda

Close the park’s South Rim entrance is a historic fire lookout tower. Beginning from here is the Vishnu Trail, which earns Grand Canyon views with a one-mile loop. Though it does not reach the actual rim, Vishnu Trail gains a high point in the forest where you can see into the nearby Grand Canyon. This area is great for free camping, as it is just barely outside the border of the national park. It is also the trailhead for a section of the Arizona Trail, which continues in both directions on its transect of the entire state.

These spots only scratch the surface of secrets in the great Grand Canyon area, so start with these then set out to explore for yourself the many gems that the lands surrounding the Grand Canyon have to offer. By skipping the entry fee and the line, you can experience this landscape in a way few people ever do.

Of note: The proposed Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument encompasses the public lands surrounding the Grand Canyon, and would ensure that development is kept in check and that these opportunities remain accessible forever. Learn more about the proposal to designate the lands surrounding the Grand Canyon as a national monument and get involved in making it happen.

Beat the Crowds in Style!

From kick-ass speakers like the Demerbox to durable insulation in our Airvoyant Puff Jacket, Toad&Co offers a variety of hard and soft goods to make your trip to the Grand Canyon all the more memorable. Check our our mercantile shop now!

Originally written by RootsRated.

4 Fascinating Ghost Towns in Alabama Worth a Visit

By dchulst on January 5th 2018

Ghost towns are fascinating reminders of our past, reflecting bygone eras and communities that faded away due to disease, economic decline, or political shifts.

But, in these spots throughout Alabama, travelers will find much more than abandoned buildings with a spooky vibe. In each village or hamlet, you’ll discover fascinating stories from the state’s rich history and explore sublime forests and waterways. If you have a passion for history, and a love of the outdoors, you don’t want to miss these fascinating ghost towns in Alabama.


Blakeley State Park’s history stretches back thousands of years. Faungg’s Photo

Historic Blakeley State Park sits beside the fertile waters of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, which covers about 260,000 acres, making it the second-largest delta in the country.

Those familiar with Civil War history know that Blakeley was the site of the last major battle of the war, but the area has an interesting history that stretches back thousands of years.

About 4,000 years ago, the Paleo-Indians first inhabited the area, and Europeans began settling in the 1500s. Soon after the United States took possession of the region, an entrepreneur named Josiah Blakeley realized the potential of this land as a sea port and bought 7,000 acres. In 1813, he began surveying the property, laying out a grand plan for a new town that would rival neighboring Mobile. Soon, he started selling lots, and in 1814 the town of Blakeley was officially established.

Unfortunately, mosquitoes infested the area, which was surrounded by bays, creeks, bayous, and swamps. In 1828, a series of yellow fever epidemics broke out, and soon the city of 4,000 spiraled into decay. By the mid-1800s, Blakeley was abandoned.

Today you can walk the old main street of Blakeley along the banks of the delta and see the recently unearthed remains of the old town courthouse. On main street, you’ll stroll in the shade of 400-year-old live oaks that once lined the bustling city streets, while the battlefield and the delta provide a magnificent backdrop for your walk.


St. Stephens is known as the place “where Alabama began.” First settled by the Spanish in 1789, this settlement on the Tombigbee River eventually became the first territorial capital of Alabama. Now, the site is part of St. Stephens Historical Park, where scholars and universities are painstakingly reconstructing the layout of the town.

Because St. Stephens sits at a sharp bend in the Tombigbee River, ships heading north from the Gulf and Mobile would have to stop where shallow water prevented further movement to the north. While St. Stephens began as a small, Spanish-occupied fort high atop the limestone bluffs, the Spanish ceded the land to the United States in 1799 and the population of 190 swelled to 7,000. In 1817 it was named the capital of the Alabama Territory and served as the seat of government until Alabama became a state, whose capital was established in Cahawba in 1820.

Archaeologists have identified many of the city streets and intersections to the point of even providing house numbers and some history of the families that lived there. Your visit will take you past old wells and the dig site of the Globe Hotel, the main stopping point and lodging for travelers and businessmen throughout the region.


The Cahaba River passes the town of Old Cahawba, which was once Alabama’s capital. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Old Cahawba has seen it all. Located in what is now the town of Orville, just south of Selma, this active archaeological site was established as Alabama’s first capital in 1820. Sitting at the confluence of the Alabama and Cahaba rivers, Old Cahawba served as the ideal capital. Both waterways were thriving steamboat routes, making it possible to easily transport cotton from the Black Belt of Alabama to the Gulf and the port city of Mobile.

The rivers, however, were prone to severe flooding, and mosquitoes thrived in the area. Following a yellow fever epidemic, the state moved the capital to Tuscaloosa, and then Montgomery just six years later.

Despite the move, Old Cahawba continued to grow and reached a population of 3,000 by 1859. But its growth was cut off by the Union navy during the Civil War when they blockaded the river. In 1863, the Confederate Army converted a cotton warehouse into a POW camp to house captured Union soldiers. While the camp was designed to hold 660 men, some 3,000 were imprisoned there by 1865.

Today you can roam the deserted streets of Old Cahawba, which are named just as they were in the mid-1800s. Your ramble takes you to the old one-room school house and two cemeteries, including the New Cemetery where wealthy white people were buried with ornate tombstones, and the Negro Burial Ground, which was established in 1819. The last burial held there was in 1959.

You can also visit the spot where the POW camp once stood and walk among tall brick columns that are the only remnants of the Crocheron family mansion. In 1865, Confederate General Forrest and Union General Wilson met in the mansion for a few hours to discuss exchanging prisoners. The only reason the columns still stand is that their unique design made the bricks useless to scavengers.


The Big Fish movie set from the fictional town of Spectre still stands on Jackson Lake Island. Marcus Woolf

This one is a little different—a ghost town that never was. The reason? The buildings on this small island along the Alabama River in Millbrook, just north of Montgomery, were originally sets for the 2003 Tim Burton movie Big Fish. The set pieces for the fictional town of Spectre were left abandoned in place on Jackson Lake Island. Now, almost 15 years later, the buildings are decaying and resemble a ghost town.

The best part is that you can visit and walk the streets of Spectre to take in not only the town but also some wonderful views of Gum Chute and Jackson Lake. On the island, you’ll find a kayak launch as well as places to camp in a tent or RV. Day use fee is $3 per person (children under two are free), while camping is $10 per person per night.

Prep for Adventure

Expect the unexpected when visiting these ghost towns, and make sure you’re dressed appropriately.

The Men’s Earle Long Sleeve Shirt matched with the Drover Lean Denim will keep you ready for whatever Alabama throws your way.

The Women’s Cairn Long Sleeve Shirt paired with the Flextime Skinny Pant will keep you comfortable for ghost town exploring, and looking casual enough to fit in with the locals.

Originally written by RootsRated for BCBS of AL.

Discover Dubois, Wyoming’s Off-the-Beaten-Path Trail Town

By dchulst on November 27th 2017

Just a short drive from the hustle and bustle of Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons, there sits a small town in Wyoming’s Wind River Valley that provides a much needed respite from the crowds, but with easy access to all the great adventures the region has to offer. Dubois is an Old West town nestled among the high peaks of the Wind River, Absaroka, and Owl Creek ranges, and its Wild West heritage remains strong. Hiking, fishing, horseback riding, and outdoor adventures are plentiful, and the town’s larger neighbors—the national parks, Jackson Hole, and Lander—are all within a two hours’ drive. But don’t fear, this Wild West town has quite a bit to offer on its own.

Still fully entrenched in cowboy culture, Dubois’ main street is complete with log cabin-style buildings and they have weekly rodeos and square dances during the warmer months. Horses are as abundant as the town’s residents and there’s no lack of opportunity to hop on horseback and explore the surrounding scenery near or far. Many of the overnight accommodations are in lodges or cabins (rustic to luxurious) and there are plenty of spots to set up a tent and soak in the stunning landscape of the Wind River Valley.

The most popular time to visit Dubois is during the summer. The 185-mile Wind River runs right through town, and is a popular spot for canoeing and kayaking on gentle waters, or fly fishing for one of the area’s abundant trouts (brook, rainbow, cutthroat or brown). In addition to the river, there are numerous lakes close by where you can go for a paddle or a cast.

Steeped in cowboy culture and surrounded by adventure, Dubois is the perfect year-round spot for outdoor adventurers. Bill Sincavage

Brooks Lake in the Shoshone National Forest is a popular spot close to town where you can fish, camp, hike, and boat. Another area that’s easy to get to from Dubois is Whiskey Basin, a 12,782-acre area that has three glacial lakes and is home to the largest herd of bighorn sheep in the world. You can also find ancient petroglyphs painstakingly carved by prehistoric natives that show puzzling images which may represent wildlife, but might look to you like outer space creatures.

The entire area is known for spectacular fishing and hiking—the long hike along the Glacier Trail to Gannet Peak starts here, as does the six-mile round trip to Lake Louise. Other hiking trails near Dubois worth checking out include the Badlands Trail that offers amazing views, the Frontier Creek Trail past a petrified forest, and Union Pass, which brings you to the Continental Divide Trail.

Horsepacking is an excellent way to get into the high country and more remote mountain areas without having to do it all on your own two feet. Bill Sincavage

Horseback riding is another favorite way of exploring the Dubois area. Take a short ride on the trails near town or spend multiple days horsepacking in the high country. There are a handful of places to find a horse in Dubois and guide services aplenty to take you out on longer excursions.

The old logging roads in the area make it easy to explore the landscape atop an ATV or other off-road vehicle. Whether you want to check out the Badlands, high plains, or logging trails through the forests, having the help of a motor will take you the farthest, the fastest.

Many of the trails used for hiking are also open for mountain biking, and makes it easy to explore the area on two wheels. The Overlook Trails right in Dubois offer five miles of mellow riding, and the sunset from the trailhead is one of the best in town.

Not just a summer paradise, Dubois keeps the outdoor fun coming when the flakes start to fall. Bill Sincavage

Dubois doesn’t close down when the snow starts falling either. Snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, ice fishing, and dog sledding are all winter options. The trails around the area will bring you through meadows, forests, and mountainous landscapes. You can take a single or multi-day dogsledding trip through the Shoshone National Forest. All of the trails for skiing are also great for snowshoeing. The trails at Falls Creek Campground and Deception Creek near Brooks Lake are kept beautifully groomed by local volunteers, or you can try heading up to Togwotee Pass for a peaceful (and gorgeous) route. Make sure to bring your camera as antelope regularly cross the trail.

Ice fishing in the Wind River Valley is quite spectacular. Many of the lakes freeze over and anglers can catch a wide variety of trout and mountain whitefish, burbot, and ling. Some lakes are easily accessible from the road like Torrey, Trail, and Ring, while many others require a snowmobile to get to them.

Winter introduces many more fun activities like skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing and dog sledding as the flakes start to fall and the temps drop. Bill Sincavage

Snowmobilers have consistently ranked Dubois’ Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail as the best of the American west. Check it out, but don’t stop there. The region has more than 100 miles of snowmobile trail to explore, hitting elevations of up to 10,000 feet. The snow can get as much as 10 feet deep, so even if you were there hiking in the summer, the surrounding landscape will look completely different covered in snow.

Dubois has just as many opportunities to relax as it does for adventure. For a more low-key outdoors experience, practice your swing at the nine-hole Antelope Hills Golf Club, or take a walk along the Riverwalk and hit the beach. To get a great glimpse of the mountains without the hikes, the scenic overlook right in town has panoramic views of the area. Keep an eye out for any of the native wildlife roaming the landscape: antelope, deer, bighorn sheep, wolves, and more.

If you are in need of some culture, peruse the art galleries downtown, or walk through any of the historic sites in the area. The Dubois Museum & Wind River Historical Center offer a great overview of local history. And don’t forget to eat! Cowboy Café is consistently rated as one of the best restaurants in Dubois—it’s also one of the oldest. If you love the outdoors and are looking for a relatively uncrowded getaway, Dubois is your place!

If Dubois gets you in the mood to plan a trip but doesn’t feel quite right, make sure to check out our blog on The Best of the Redwood Coast for an insider’s look at California’s northern coast.

If coastal vibes are more your thing, checkout the the amazing Redwood Coast of California!

Origin ally written by RootsRated for Dubois Chamber of Commerce.