Wind River Canyon Scenic Byway
In Wind River Canyon on the Wind River Canyon Scenic Byway
The Wind River flows into the south end of Wind River Canyon as the Wind River, it flows out the north end of the canyon as the Bighorn River. Perhaps that metamorphosis comes about during the river's journey through the ancient, stark, steep, beautiful Wind River Canyon, or maybe it's something that happens in the minds of men as they, too, pass through that canyon. At any rate, the official changing of the names occurs at a place called "Wedding of the Waters."
The rock exposed in this canyon is a veritable showcase for the geologist, and it dates from 300 million years old near Wedding of the Waters to about 2.8 billion years old near the tunnels. In places, the canyon walls reach as much as 2,500' above the roadway. As you drive the road, you'll find pullouts and interpretive signage along the way.
The south end of the byway is at Shoshoni, also the gateway to Boysen State Park and the Boysen Reservoir to the west. But the byway goes north on US Highway 20 to Thermopolis. At Thermopolis you'll find Hot Springs State Park at the site of what is possibly the world's largest natural mineral hot springs. In between you can see half the history of the Earth written in the rock, if you squint your eyes and hold your mouth just right...
The Wind River Canyon Scenic Byway near the northern end of Boysen State Park
Wind River Canyon Scenic Byway area map