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According to Beautyphoon, US 287 is a US Highway in the US state of Wyoming. The road is officially a north-south route, but in practice mainly an east-west route in the south and west of the state. The route runs from the Colorado border through Laramie, Rawlins, and Yellowstone National Park to the Montana border. The route is 787 kilometers long.
US 26/287 in central Wyoming.
US 26/287 in western Wyoming.
US 287 in Colorado comes from Fort Collins and then crosses the border into Wyoming at about 2,300 meters and then heads northwest to the town of Laramie. Laramie is a college town in southeastern Wyoming. Interstate 80 is crossed here. The US also adds 30and US 287 and US 30 form a double numbering system. The road here forms an alternate route that is slightly longer north of I-80. The road serves a few villages and partly even has 2×2 lanes, from the time when there was no I-80. This route is no longer important for through traffic due to the shorter Interstate 80. The road leads through a desolate prairie area with virtually no vegetation. At Walcott, both roads rejoin I-80, and in Rawlins, a few miles away, US 287 exits again and forms an individual route to the northwest.
Just after Rawlins, the road leads through the Great Divide Basin, an area where all water streams converge and dry up, as no rivers flow into the Pacific or Atlantic from here. The distances are very large here, the next place that is slightly larger than a hamlet is Lander, 200 kilometers away. The landscape consists of a plateau with some low mountain ridges and a landscape of desolate prairies which is only a little green in the rainy season. Trees don’t grow here. One passes through the Muddy Gap, a low mountain pass, after which the only significant intersection follows for a distance of 200 kilometers, State Route 220 to Casper, 120 kilometers to the east.
US 287 then curves slightly to the west and runs parallel to the Sweetwater River. The only place for the next 130 kilometers is Jeffrey City with 100 inhabitants. This area is the central plateau of Wyoming and one of the driest areas in the United States outside the deserts of the Southwest of the country. One then reaches Lander, a small town with almost 7,000 inhabitants. Two State Routes cross here, State Route 28 to Rock Springs and State Route 789 to Riverton. To the southwest is the impressive Wind River Range, a mountain range that includes Wyoming’s highest point, Gannett Peak at 4,207 feet. A little further on follows the intersection with US 26. Both roads then start at a double numbering of 160 kilometers into the Rocky Mountains. This area is also sparsely populated with only a few villages. The landscape is getting more and more impressive and the Continental Divide takes you over the 2,944 meter high Togwotee Pass. Then you descend a bit to the high valleys in western Wyoming. Much lower than 2000 meters one does not come into Wyoming anymore.
A little further on, at Jackson Lake, US 26 exits from the double-numbering and heads toward Idaho Falls to the west, while US 287 merges with US 89 and US 191, creating a triple-numbering.
The Grand Teton National Park here changes into the Yellowstone National Park, an area with less high mountains, but the road goes here at an altitude of 2,400 meters. The surrounding mountains are not significantly higher, so that this is a plateau. One then crosses the Continental Divide, the watershed between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. At the hamlet of West Thumb is a major intersection where US 14 and US 16 begin and quadruple numbering begins as US 20 joins it. The scenery here is made up of low trees, and it takes you past Wyoming’s most famous tourist attractions, the geysers, including Old Faithful. In the hamlet of Madison Junction, the three road numbers ( US 20 / US 191/US 287) west and US 89 continues an individual route north. The border with Montana is barely 15 kilometers further on. US 287 in Montana then continues towards Helena.
US 287 was added to the network of US Highways in 1935 and ran from Fort Collins, Colorado to the southern entrance of Yellowstone National Park. In 1965, US 287 was extended to Choteau, Montana and de facto passed through Yellowstone National Park, although no US Highways formally pass through the national park.
The historic route of US 287 follows the Rocky Mountain Highway. When US 287 was introduced in 1935, it replaced US 87 between Rawlins and Muddy Gap and then US 87W between Muddy Gap and Yellowstone National Park. US 287 made a detour west of Lander via Riverton on what are now State Route 789 and US 26. The more direct route from Lander was then numbered State Route 287. In 1940 this detour via Riverton was scrapped and US 287 followed the direct route to the northwest.
Every day, 4,500 vehicles drive between the Colorado and Laramie border, and 400 to 800 vehicles on the double-numbered US 30 northwest of Laramie. Thereafter, 3,000 vehicles travel between Rawlins and Muddy Gap and 1,000 vehicles continue to Lander in central Wyoming. From Lander, intensities gradually drop from 4,000 to 1,000 vehicles per day over the Togwotee Pass. After that, 2,000 vehicles drive to Yellowstone National Park.