Wind River Canyon is a must-see portion of US 20. This scenic part of the highway joins Thermopolis and Shoshone, Wyoming. What makes this canyon so compelling? It is the geology. That is, the layers of rock revealed as you travel through the canyon span almost three-quarters of earth’s history.
Photographs from Wind River Canyon
Traveling the Wind River Canyon
Traveling north to south is a journey through time. You start your time-travel when plants and dinosaurs were beginning their domination of Earth: the Triassic Period (250 mya). As you travel south, you pass through the period of the Great Dying and on to a time with no life at all: the early Archean (3.5 bya).
For photographers and gawkers alike, there are many large pull-offs on the river side of the highway. And, some of these pull-offs have picnic tables and paths down to the Bighorn River. US 20 is a fairly busy highway, so these parking areas are a real luxury. From these areas, you can view rock strata, watch trains cross a bridge and travel through a mountain, and wonder why the river has two names.
Apparently, the river had two names, Bighorn and Wind River. So, at an arbitrary spot just north of the canyon, the name changed from Wind River to Bighorn. The spot where the change occurs is the Wedding of the Waters. There is a marker along side the road, but we missed it.
Other Wyoming Photographs
Wyoming is an exceptionally beautiful state with many grand landscapes. Here are links to photographs from more of our favorite places:
More about the geology of the Canyon
For anyone that is really interested in the geology of this area, here are two links to a two-part Web resource: https://www.geowyo.com/wind-river-canyon-part-1.html and https://www.geowyo.com/wind-river-canyon-part-2.html. GEOWYO is a labor of love by three retired professional geologist. All I can say to them is THANK YOU!
Purchasing our Photographs
All of our scenic photographs are available as fine art prints. Use the contact form to the right to get more information. Or, go to our Fine Art Print page and learn about various pricing options.