The 163 miles between Pinedale and Dubois comprise the Wyoming Centennial Scenic Byway. This horseshoe-shaped combination of highways includes U.S. 26/287 and U.S. 26/89/191. The route crosses diverse landscapes including badlands, ranch land, and the high montane.
The entire route is open year-round and could be driven straight through in about four hours. That said, travelers should allow much more time to visit the many museums, art galleries, shopping areas and recreational opportunities, not to mention the unsurpassed scenery.
End to End
If you’re coming from the North end of the Byway, it’s your good fortune to pass through the town of Dubois. Slow down and take in some local fauna at the National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Center. From there it’s up and over Togwotee Pass, where you’ll cross the high point of the byway (along with the continental divide) at 9,658 feet on your way west towards the Tetons.
If you’re coming to Centennial from the southern end, you’ll find yourself deep in the heart of mountain man country. Stop in and get to know these beaver-pelted trappers at the Museum of the Mountain Man outside Pinedale. From there it’s a gorgeous drive north and west towards the Wind River and Wyoming Range, on through historic Hoback Canyon, and into Jackson.
Surrounded by mountains in a valley filled with culture and recreation, Jackson is the town to visit for Wyoming travelers . Every winter snow coats the valley, creating the perfect place for skiing or other winter recreation. During the summer, many attend the Grand Teton Music Festival, while autumn’s Fall Arts Festival plays host to more than 40 local galleries and museums. Or at any time of year, stop off at the National Museum of Wildlife Art about two miles north of town. With a collection of wildlife art unparalleled in the US, the museum’s14 galleries of paintings, sculpture, and works on paper allow for many repeat visits.
Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks
If you vacation in Wyoming, chances are you’re heading to a national park. And if you’re heading to a national park, chances are you’ll drive the Centennial Scenic Byway. Between Jackson and Moran Junction, the byway passes through Grand Teton National Park, offering sightseers a westward view of some of the world’s most spectacular peaks. Rising straight out of sage-covered flat lands, the Teton Range, crowned by the Grand Teton, remains the dominant feature for 20 miles of road, while the park itself represents a triumph of America’s wilderness preservation forces.
To reach Yellowstone National Park turn west at Moran Junction (leaving the scenic byway, but not the scenery) and drive north 25 miles on U.S. 191 to the South Entrance of Yellowstone. The world’s first National Park, Yellowstone offers spectacular scenery and superb wildlife viewing. Herds of bison roam free, white surges of steaming water shoot from geysers, and deep pools of turquoise sit still in hot springs, all within an hour of the Byway.
If You Go:
National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Center (888) 209-2795
Museum of the Mountain Man (877) 686-6266
Jackson Area Attractions 1-888-DEEP-SNO
National Museum of Wildlife Art (800) 313-9553
Grand Teton National Park (307) 739-3300
Yellowstone National Park (307) 344-7381