Base Camp: Dubois, WY for Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks

Dubois WY as a base camp for visiting Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park

The Longhorn Ranch Lodge and RV Resort in Dubois, Wyoming was an incredible experience. We spent two nights here after driving up from Rawlins earlier in the morning. We wanted to visit Grand Teton and Yellowstone but couldn’t get a reservation in either park so we opted for this spot and to drive into Grand Teton on the next day and return and then go in the early morning the third day to Yellowstone where we figured we would find a campsite.

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The Wind River winds its way through the landscape in Wyoming.

First of all the Longhorn has a great office and store that is open later than most because they also operate some fabulous old school but immaculate cabins as a motel. The grounds are in excellent shape and the Wind River runs along the back half of the resort. There is also horseback riding next door but at $75 per person for a two hour ride we thought it was a little high.

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The office and store at the Longhorn Ranch Lodge and RV Resort, Dubois, Wyoming.

The town of Dubois is about three miles away and is charming as hell. It is more of an authentic or real town than some tourist towns. There are certainly tourists, as the town has less than 1,000 inhabitants and yet it has some motels, cafes and restaurants and even a supermarket. There are a few gas stations as well. There is a rodeo that was happening on a Friday night. Our neighbors in the campground went and enjoyed it.

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Downtown Dubois is a real cowboy town in Wyoming with a number of accommodation options and decent proximity to the national parks.

The resort is about 56 miles from Moran Junction in the Grand Teton National Park. From there we went south and hit the visitors center at Moose. Along the way there are plenty of places to stop and take in the scenery. This park is the definition of awesome. The Snake River Overlook is excellent to take in the Tetons. The visitors center makes for a nice break too and there is a movie and some exhibits as well as some artwork to take in. There’s also a nice gift shop. We picked up a nice coffee mug!

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Probably one of the most breathtaking scenes from life is that of the Grand Tetons in Wyoming from this view with the Snake River below.

From there we headed south to Jackson. There is a visitors center in Jackson just after the National Elk Refuge. The Museum of Wildlife Art is nearby and I would love to have visited that but didn’t. We wound up to the Moose-Wilson Road but as soon as we got to the park entrance we had to turn around as they don’t allow any type of RV on this road. It was marked at one point no travel trailers and the ranger at the gate said something happened to the sign.

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At the peaceful National Elk Refuge, Jackson, Wyoming.

We turned around and went back through Jackson, a town that clearly caters to tourists and some wealthy ones at that. There are art galleries and upscale shops. It made me appreciate the pre-gentrification town of Dubois all that much more. We stopped at the National Elk Refuge which is very peaceful. No elk, just a lot of peace. There is a pullover rest area with room for a few RVs.  We meandered back up north to Moose Junction and headed over to the other side and another entrance to the park. We paid the $50 fee for both Yellowstone and Grand Teton which was good for seven days.

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National Elk Refuge, Jackon, Wyoming.

We didn’t see much wildlife on this trip and the roads got a bit busier after 11 in the morning.  When the entire road trip was over we found we liked Grand Teton better than Yellowstone.  I believe it might have been our expectations being so high for Yellowstone and having no ideas what to expect for Grand Teton.  The scenery was beyond awesome and we’re so glad we spent time here and could have easily spent another day or two.

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Jackson Lake in the Grand Teton National Park.

You can also get an annual pass for $80 but at the time I had no idea what parks it covered and if we’d use it since we haven’t so far. Jenny Lake parking was mobbed and so we skipped parking there. We did stop several times at Jackson Lake which is stunning.

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The view of the Grand Tetons along the drive from Dubois, Wyoming is spectacular.

At Jackson Lake Junction we headed back to Dubois. When we got back we were hungry so we stopped at the Cowboy Café along the main street. It was busy and the food was average. My chicken-pecan-cranberry-brie sandwich was good but Michael’s steak salad had tough flank steak on it. Still a cute little place and we did have a beer each.

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The Cowboy Cafe, downtown Dubois, Wyoming.

We then headed the three miles back to the resort where we spent the night before heading to Yellowstone the next morning.  The campsite is a great place to relax after a busy day of sightseeing.

 

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