Lander

Founded In: 1884

Population: 7,487

Elevation:  5,357 ft.

Median Income: $50,914

Chamber of Commerce: http://landerchamber.org/

Lander was founded in 1869 when the army established a small military post, Camp Augur (later Camp Brown), to protect Shoshone Indians from attacks by the Sioux and Arapaho Indians. Settlers moved to Lander in the late 1870’s from the dying gold mines of South Pass, which is located to the south of the city. Lander got its name from Col. Frederick W. Lander, who surveyed the Oregon Trails Lander Cutoff. One of the town’s early residents was the outlaw Butch Cassidy, who frequented Lander’s poker tables and dance halls.

Once the railroad arrived in 1906, Lander became the last stop on the Chicago and North Western Railway for visitors traveling to Yellowstone. This is where the slogan began, “where rails end and trails begin.”  During the 1960’s and 70’s, Lander became a mining boomtown but the mine shut its doors in 1983. Lander is also where the first paid rodeo took place. This tradition continues today during the July 4th celebration.

 

Climate

Like most of Wyoming, Lander is considered a semi-arid climate. Winters are cold and dry, and summers are hot but a bit wetter.

 

Economy

In addition to agriculture and grazing, Lander is home to many government offices including the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a Resident Agency of the Denver Field Office of the FBI, Wyoming Life Resource Center, and the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality.

In addition to government entities, Lander is home to the country’s major bronze foundry, Eagle Bronze, as well as the National Outdoor Leadership School and many environmental non-profits. Tourism is what really keeps Lander moving. Because it is located at the foot of Wind River Mountains, tourists come to Lander for camping, hunting, fishing, and climbing.

 

Must-See Activities

Sinks Canyon State Park (http://wyoparks.state.wy.us/scslide.htm) is about 7 miles West of Lander on Wyoming Highway 131. With 30 campsites located along the river amid jumbled granite boulders, pine and aspens, you will get your fill of the great outdoors. In addition to camping, the park has displays about ecology, wildlife and the history of Sinks Canyon at the visitor’s center. It is named “The Sinks” because the Middle Fork of the Popo Agie River disappears into a wall of limestone and it reappears a quarter-mile downstream in a large pool known as “The Rise.” You are likely to see bighorn sheep in the area, so keep an eye out.

 

Shoshone National Forest (http://www.fs.usda.gov/shoshone) is another great hiking area. They have 30 vehicle-access campgrounds with running water and restrooms, but these are on a first-come first-served basis. Hunting and fishing are popular recreational activities with many of the streams and rivers known as “Blue Ribbon Trout Streams”.  With 1,000 miles of streams and a hundred lakes, there is plenty of room to fish.  The southern section of the forest is perfect for mountain climbers, with 9 of the highest 10 peaks in Wyoming in the park. In the winter, enjoy 48 miles of cross-country skiing trails and 300 miles of snowmobile trails. Horseback Riding in Greybull Ranger District is perfect for those that like the solitude of the backcountry. With over 1600 miles of trails throughout the forest, trailheads have enough room for horse trailers and personal vehicles.

 

The Winds are a popular for climbing and hiking. This mountain range attracts hikers, climbers, and skiers. With exposed granite at the higher elevations, climbers love the area despite the remoteness of the trail-heads. The winds have one ski area known as White Pine (http://www.whitepineski.com/) with a lift and snowboarding. It is the oldest ski area in Wyoming.

Red Canyon (http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/field_offices/Lander/rec/redcanyon.html) offers a beautiful view of red rock and is located 15 miles south of Lander on Wyoming Highway 28. In the 19th Century settlers had fruit orchards and vegetable gardens in the warm valley, and today the area is part of Red Canyon Ranch, protected by The Nature Conservancy.

South Pass City (www.southpasscity.com) began with a boom in 1867 with the discovery of gold on the southeastern end of the rugged Wind River Mountains. By 1868, Wyoming’s City of Gold boasted over 250 buildings along the banks of Willow Creek and the surrounding hillsides.  South Pass City was the first of three towns established due to the discovery of gold in what became the Sweetwater Mining District. Now a historic site, South Pass City has become one of the most accurately restored and authentically exhibited historic sites in the West. Seventeen of the site’s 23 original structures have been restored and exhibited, with many of the site’s 30,000 artifacts exhibited in their original buildings. Although visitors are welcome to South Pass City at any time during the year, many people frequent there for the most popular event of the Year – Gold Rush Days (http://www.southpasscity.com/grd.html) – which happens during the last weekend in July.

Loop Road Tour (http://www.sinkscanyonstatepark.org/activities/drives/loop-road.html) is a great way to get up into the mountains and see a tour of the southern Wind River Range. This is a rugged dirt road that will take you through the forest where you will see beautiful snow capped vistas. After 26 miles of dirt, you’ll end up on Highway 28 near South Pass.

Events you won’t want to miss include: The Pioneer Days Parade and Rodeo (http://lotra.org/pioneer-days/) which takes place on July 3rd and 4th every year and the Fremont Toyota Lander Brew Fest (http://landerbrewfest.com/) featuring samples from Rocky Mountain-area breweries.

 

Shopping in Lander

If you are looking for a variety of unique shops, then Lander is where you will want to go. Everything from trinkets to remind you of your stay to Old West wares to home furnishings can be found.

  • Heavenly Everlastings : Offers antiques and collectibles
  • Bar-Bar-A’s Art Gallery: Artistic pieces ranging from watercolor to pottery to photography.
  • In His Footsteps: Carries a wide selection of Christian books, music, gifts and more.
  • Main Street Books: A cozy bookstore and coffee house featuring classics and popular titles
  • Kashmir Funk: Funky, fresh designs from clothing, accessories, and  more.
  • Wear Agains: Offering new and vintage women’s clothing and accessories.
  • Hearth & Home Furniture and Gifts: Classic and trendy home accents, furnishings, and gifts
  • Chisholm’s Jewelry (http://www.chisholmsjewelry.com/)  Offering gold, silver, diamond, and gemstone jewelry
  • Good Place (http://www.thegoodplacewyo.com/): Offering everything you need for sporting in the area
  • Mountainwest Trading Post: Sporting goods and military supplies
  • Wild Iris Mountain Sports (http://www.wildirisclimbing.com/#home): Where you can find all your quality outdoor gear
  • Wonderful Wyoming Outdoors: If you can do it outdoors, you can find the equipment here.

 

Dining in Lander

No matter what you are hankering for, Lander has you covered. Everything from a quick sandwich or scoop of ice cream to fine dining is available throughout Lander. Be sure to tempt your taste buds at one of these fine restaurants.

  • Cowfish (http://www.cowfishlander.com/): Fine dining and brewery with menus that change with the seasons.
  • Middle Fork (http://themiddleforklander.com/): Breakfast and lunch prepared in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.
  • Gannett Grill (http://www.landerbar.com/gannett-grill.html): Feel like a local while eating on locally raised grass fed beef in a unique outdoor dining area or the western-themed dining room.
  • Lander Bake Shop (http://www.landerbakeshop.com/): Using fresh ingredients and made from scratch methods to produce bagels, breads, cookies, sweet treats, soups, salads, and sandwiches.
  • Ken & Betty’s Main Street Ice Cream: Ice cream treats of all varieties!
  • Tony’s Pizza (http://tonyspizzalander.weebly.com/): When you feel like a delicious pizza.
  • Oxbow Restaurant (http://www.pronghornlodge.com/restaurant.aspx): Fine family dining with delicious homemade meals made 7 days a week
  • Thai Chef: Authentic Thai food.
  • The Hitching Rack: Finest steaks, seafood, and spirits.
  • El Sol De Mexico: Authentic Mexican fare.
  • The Forge: Sports bar offering BBQ, wings, and other sport-watching foods.
  • Siam Cafe: cozy little restaurant where you can experience authentic Thai food made with all fresh produce and local beef.
  • Deka-Guy Hee (http://www.shoshonerose.com/restaurant.htm): The name is Shoshone for, “The Eating House”. Featuring a classic cuisine ranging from Indian Tacos to Prime Rib.
  • The Mountain Bar & Grill: Delicious Appetizers, Salads & Soups, House Pastas, Gourmet Burgers, Sandwiches, Steak, Seafood and Dessert at affordable prices.
  • Maverick Restaurant (http://www.frontierlodgelander.com/home/restaurant/): Delicious American  food, Maverick is known for its big breakfasts served all day.
  • Zanmai Sushi: Serving innovative new dishes as well as traditional favorites.

 

Living in Lander

Modern day Lander is a bustling community. Its downtown area is lined with specialty shops, family owned restaurants, and historic buildings.  Each year, visitors enjoy world-class high mountain lake fishing, as well as mountain and rock climbing, snowmobiling, cross country skiing and hiking.


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This information is believed to be accurate, but without any warranty.