The first occupants of the mountains and valleys surrounding Dubois were members of the Sheepeaters, a group of Mountain Shoshone, who included the Wind River area in their regular annual migrations from the Great Plains through the mountains of Yellowstone and beyond. The Wind River Valley contains numerous remnants of these people who lived in the area for many hundreds of years. Relics of their existence in the mountains and valleys around Dubois include numerous prehistoric petroglyphs, hunting traps and blinds, and stone tepee circles.
The first Europeans to enter the area were fur trappers, mountain men and explorers beginning in early 1800’s. In the years to follow, the Wind River valley was visited regularly by the Astorians and other fur trappers and hunters through the early 19th century. The mountain man Jim Bridger visited the area en route to Yellowstone named nearby Union Pass and Union Peak.
The first homesteaders arrived in the late 1870s. Butch Cassidy (Robert LeRoy Parker) owned and managed a ranch on the outskirts of Dubois, beginning in 1890. It is said that he was a frequent customer at Welty’s General Store.
St. Thomas Episcopal Church was founded in 1910 by Reverend John Roberts, an Episcopal missionary who served the Native American tribes on the Wind River.
Charles Moore built the first of many dude ranches in the area west of Dubois in 1909. His father had managed the store at the nearby Indian reservation.
In 1913, the town expanded with the addition of a hotel, a bar, and a general store, anticipating the arrival of Scandinavian lumber workers brought here by the Wyoming Tie and Timber Company the following year. The company opened log milling operations becoming the nation’s largest source of railroad ties. The “tie hack” operations ended in 1949, after which Louisiana Pacific operated a sawmill in town until 1988.These Scandinavian immigrants cut logs into ties and sent these via the flumes to the Wind River where they floated to Riverton for processing.
The town is now a gateway to Yellowstone National Park offering a quiet alternative to Jackson Hole in the summer. In the winter, Dubois is only a 30 minute drive from Togwotee Pass, offering some of the best snowmobiling in the world.