Amusement Parks
National Parks
Route 66 Cities Beaches




Wind Rivers
There & Back
Big Sandy Lake
Green River Lakes

Even though they're on opposite sides of the same Wind River Wilderness, Pinedale is quite different from Dubois. For one thing, Dubois is in a tight valley between two high mountain ranges, but being on the South side of the Wind Rivers, Pinedale is bordered by only one range, which soars up to the North of town. To its South, Pinedale faces the Red Desert, often called the Painted Desert. While that desert includes several fascinating spots of its own, such as the 130 year old wagon ruts of The Oregon Trail, several salt flats, natural gas fields, and huge expanses of sagebrush and high chapparal ecosystem, it's a much different landscape than a mountain range. The second major difference is that Pinedale lays much further out on the plain, so you're not looking right up at the mountains and you can't set out from town with a pack on and dayhike into the high country. You have to drive out of town to the trailheads. The third difference is that the natural gas industry is much more visible in Pinedale than in Dubois; drilling rigs and gas workers are always visible at the bars, restaurants and motels. The final difference is that Pinedale is blessed with a tremendous amount of standing water : huge lakes on the edge of town and a total of 1300 within a 10 mile radius. Seen above and below left, these offer camping, boating and fishing.

Pinedale's historic claim to fame is that it was the site of the Green River Rendezvous, the annual get together of the mountain men in the 1800s. This historic reunion and trading extravaganza is reenacted every year and is definitely worth attending if you can line your trip up with it, although it's popular and you'll need to make motel or camping reservations well ahead.

Getting There
Guest Ranches
The Town
Pinedale is also at 7000 ft. elevation, so you also need a day here for your body to adjust before you head up into the mountains. But there are enough shops, restaurants and attractions to make that day worthwhile (see pages on restaurants and the town), or you could spend it fishing in one of the lakes or streams. Local fishing guides are available, but Fremont Lake and the Green River are just outside town. Because of the booming natural gas industry, Pinedale has grown since 2000, and is now larger than Dubois. This is not necessarily a blessing, as there is not enough housing or motels to hold the workers, and the shortage has driven up prices and made it harder to find rooms or cabins for one night or one week stays. You are therefore advised to make reservations well in advance of your trip if you want a motel or cabin. Tent camping is not as much of a problem, but during the short Summer you are still advised to make reservations at least a few days in advance. This is, after all, the greatest backpacking destination in North America, and all those other wilderness lovers have the same idea you do.
Pinedale has a different "feel" than Dubois. Dubois looks like it was built in the 1800s. Pinedale looks like it was built in the 1950s. Dubois has more and better restaurants, although it lost its old classic when Dick Titterington died and The Coffee Mill closed, while Pinedale still has The Stockman with its buffalo steaks and local rainbow trout. Pinedale has the better art gallery and rock shop, but Dubois has the better lodging with its century old classic log cabin motels. With the Dubois Mercantile out of business (until a buyer is found), Pinedale has the better outfitting center. While The Circle Up KOA Campground in Dubois is excellent, the National Park campsites along the lakes just outside Pinedale are outstanding and a lot more natural. With all the water, Pinedale is a bigger fishing center than Dubois, but with its larger herds of big horn sheep, elk, deer, and antelope, Dubois attracts more hunters. Dubois, with trails leading up right from town, is the greater backpacking center, but Pinedale, with more open country, is more of a horse packing area. But if Dubois is the greatest mountain sports town in America, Pinedale is a very close second. You really ought to visit both.
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