DESTINATION DUBOIS
Horse and Rider|Winter 2020
HEAD TO WYOMING TO EXPLORE A HIDDEN GEM SANDWICHED BETWEEN TWO MOUNTAIN RANGES AND WILDERNESS AREAS.
KENT AND CHARLENE KRONE

Whether you plan to bring your own horses and your living quarters to explore mountains and wilderness on your own or prefer to be pampered at a local guest ranch where you can enjoy a variety of horse-related activities, there’s something for everyone in Dubois, Wyoming.

GETTING THERE

We traveled with our living-quarters trailer and our two geldings, Cody and Jake, to check out the riding opportunities around Dubois. One place that was high on our list to experience was the Double Cabin Campground in Shoshone National Forest. We heard this was as close as you could get to a real wilderness adventure without having to pack into one.

The Krone’s rig and horses at Double Cabin Campground.

From the town of Dubois, it’s 24 miles of dirt roads on mountainous terrain to the campsite and trailhead at Double Cabin. Before you head to Double Cabin, though, make sure to grab any fuel or supplies in Dubois as that’s the last outpost of civilization before you reach your destination. Note: Because you travel on dirt roads in the mountains to get to the trailhead, we recommend calling the United States Forest Service, (307) 455-2466, in advance to ensure the road conditions are safe. We were fortunate, the road had just been graded when we hauled our living quarters there. But even with that, it took 1 1/2 hours, pulling our living-quarters trailer, to drive the 24 miles to camp. And yes, there are some hairpin turns!

Entering Double Cabin Campground, perfect camping location set at 8,000-feet elevation and surrounded by mountains.

To get there from town, you’ll want to take Horse Creek Road and travel north. Pavement ends in about 5 miles, and the road then becomes forest service road 285. Follow this route into the enveloping tranquility of the southern Absaroka Mountains.

DOUBLE CABIN CAMPGROUND

When you arrive at Double Cabin, turn left at the junction if you want dispersed camping without corrals. If you’d like corrals for your horses, turn right, drive past the Forest Service campground—which is not open to horses—and continue to the public corrals. There are three sets of corrals with three spacious corrals in each set. Horse water can be bucketed from a nearby creek, so be sure to have a few buckets in your trailer before you head to Double Cabin. In the Forest Service campground, there is one slow hand pump. We have a 65-gallon water tank in the back of the truck for horse use, and it took quite a while to fill the tank with the hand pump.

Bev and Arvil Ashment are longtime campground hosts and are wonderful sources of helpful information.

One could not ask for a more visually stunning location. The camp is set at 8,000-feet elevation in a glacial-carved bowl, surrounded by 11,000-foot craggy mountains. Nothing fills the soul more than to sit outside before dawn and watch the sun creep down the mountains, pausing to bathe each peak with a golden glow. In the nippy mornings, we warmed our hands by the crackling fire, watched the horses munch hay, and listened to the mournful wails of distant coyotes.

The camp is surrounded by a designated wilderness area, the Washakie Wilderness. This area covers 704,529 acres and is named in honor of Chief Washakie, a leader of the Shoshone Indians.

The wilderness area is a special place that’s managed to maintain its wild and natural character. Here the imprints of human activity are minimal. Visitors may experience these wild places and enjoy pristine lakes, tumbling waterfalls, slopes awash in wildflowers, cloud-shrouded peaks, glacier-carved valleys, and a plethora of wildlife. However, motorized vehicles are not allowed.

Weather changes here can be extreme and sudden. Snowstorms and freezing temperatures occur every month of the year, and thunderstorms are common during the summer months. During our September stay, the daytime temperatures were in the 60s but dropped to freezing at night. You and your horse should come prepared for all weather possibilities.

Bev and Arvil Ashment of Basin, Wyoming, are the campground hosts in the nearby Forest Service campground. Amazingly, they’ve been coming here since 1969. Bev’s father brought her here as a child, and her love affair for the area has continued throughout her life. Both are enthusiastic sources of local information.

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