A horse packing trip is easier than hiking, but long days in the saddle can be tough if you aren’t used to it. Accommodations range from camping to hotels/motels, and some trips go up to altitudes at high as 12,000 feet.
Time To Complete
A horse packing trip can last anywhere from a day to a couple weeks.
Dubois is a quiet and peaceful town in Wyoming’s Wind River Range. It feels like you’re truly in the Wild West in the middle of nowhere, surrounded only by wide open spaces, grass-covered mountains, and eroded, red-striped hills that are reminiscent of the Southwest United States. There are plenty of outdoor opportunities here year round, but one of the best ways to truly explore the wilderness is by horseback.
What Makes It Great
If Wyoming is the ‘Cowboy State’, then the land around Dubois is horse country. There are a handful of corrals in town and horse-friendly ranches so that your horse can be just as comfortable as you are. If you don’t have a horse of your own, there are several outfitters that can set you up on a day ride, or an even longer horsepacking adventure. Horse packing trips can be customized to whatever you want to do, whether it’s fishing for high mountain trout, hiking in the nearby national forests, or trying to capture the perfect photo to put above your fireplace at home. Most outfitters in Dubois provide you with a horse, saddle, pack, guide, tent, and will even cook you a hearty meal after a long day on the trail. All you need to bring are your personal items and a sense of adventure.
While Dubois sits at just less than 7,000 feet in elevation, a horsepacking trip can get you as high as 11-12,000 feet through passes in the nearby mountains. You’ll see wildflowers, mountain peaks, rivers and streams—all virtually untouched. Horsepacking is the best way to get into more remote areas if you don’t have the time (or the interest) to hike out there. While trips range in length from a day trip to a couple weeks, a weeklong itinerary will include camping at several different spots and exploring the surrounding land during the day. You might spend a day spotting elk, marmots, or Bighorn Sheep. Or you could spend time casting a line in one of the wild streams. If you are brave (or dirty) enough, you might even want to take a dip in one of the cold streams fed by snow runoff from the mountains.
If you aren’t used to horseback riding, you may want to consider wearing padded bike shorts or look into a saddle cushion to make it a little easier to spend multiple hours in the saddle over multiple days. You’ll also need a pair of boots with good heels that settle into the stirrups, as well as a cowboy hat with “stampede strings” to tie around your neck. Not only will it make you feel like a real cowboy (or cowgirl), it will protect you from the sun, and the strings will keep the hat on your head when the Wind River country breeze blows.
Who is Going to Love It
If you enjoy camping and horseback riding, a horsepacking trip is the best of both worlds. Check with the outfitter or ranch about any age or health requirements, but pretty much all you need is an adventurous spirit. Since the trips can be customized, you can do as much or as little activity as you’d like, so there’s not the same prerequisite level of fitness necessary as there would be for a backpacking trip on foot.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Dubois, Wyoming is located about 66 miles east of Grand Teton National Park on US-26 E/US-287 S. There are several outfitters and ranches in and around Dubois to choose from, but any one you choose is bound to offer an authentic Western experience that you won’t soon forget.