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Winds in Wyoming

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Winds in Wyoming

Old 03-07-11, 11:30 PM
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Winds in Wyoming

I am planning on touring the Bikecentennial trail from Astoria, Or. to Glenwood Springs, CO, but I have become a little concerned about winds in Wyoming. Would it be better to ride west to east or east to west? What are the prevailing wind directions in Wyoming? I could start at either end. Anyone out there done this section? Would appreciate any input. RickMasoni
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Old 03-08-11, 08:21 AM
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We had a mix of head winds and tail winds when east bound in 2007, some of both were extremely strong. That said I think the winds are most likely to favor west bound riders (assuming a summer ride).

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Old 03-08-11, 08:51 AM
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Spring and summer, safest bet is west to east, least by my experience. The only times I've had really significant headwinds, I was heading west, and they persisted for weeks.
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Old 03-08-11, 09:21 AM
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I did the WY section W to E. You enter WY from W. Yellowstone. When you are in the park, you are not in the open plains where the winds were the worst for me. I remember some moderate winds heading to Jenny Lake in Teton Park. Lander to Jeffrey City was very windy. It's wide open, and there were miles of snow fences, which tells you something. The wind was a mis of cross to tail. A few times I had to lean to the right to counteract the wind. And they only got stronger as the day went on. Since it was a short day, I was off the bike by the time the winds got to be their worst, but I remember having to lean into the wind during my walk from the motel to the cafe in town, which was back in the opposite direction. Jeffrey City to Rawlins was not that bad at first because I hit the road very early in the morning. But when the route during this stretch turned south, there was a pretty stiff headwind, but not enough to create misery. The next morning I met a guy riding to work at the Sinclair plant east of Rawlins. Even at an early hour there was a strong tailwind. He told me it would sometimes take him 3X longer to ride home in the evening than it did to ride to work. It was nice to have that tailwind on I-80. From the exit off I-80 to Saratoga (nice public not springs in town) was not bad. The next day to Walden, CO featured a very strong headwind out of the SE.

As I think the AC map notes, it's a good idea to get an early start when the winds are usually calmest. They also tend to die down later afternoon/early evening. If you find yourself caught between your origin and destination for that day, try find a town to relax in. During the summer, there will be plenty of daylight.
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Old 03-08-11, 11:41 AM
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When you are in Wyoming, you should consider attending the Wyoming Wind Festival.
It runs from Jan 1 to Dec 31.


That said, I've lived and toured in Wyoming for 20+ years - all areas, all seasons.
One thing for sure - you can count on wind - but there is little predictable about it.

Overall, prevailing summer winds in Wyoming are SSW west of the Continental Divide and SSE east of it.
In Yellowstone, winds are generally less of a problem because of forest cover - generally NW.
In Jackson Hole, Prevailing winds are southerly.
From Togwotee Pass to Muddy Gap winds are westerly and often strong.
From Muddy Gap to Colorado winds are SSW.

So if you are heading to Colorado, you are likely (not guaranteed) to have headwinds in Jackson Hole, north of Rawlins, and south of Wolcott Jct - but should have tailwinds in the toughest stretch - between Togwotee and Muddy Gap.

If you are heading from Colorado, you are likely (not guaranteed) to have side to tailwinds as you head north, but strong headwinds heading west through Lander and Dubois. YMMV.

As a general rule, winds are lightest in the morning and strongest in the late afternoon. The best cycing time when anticipating headwinds is as early in the morning as possible. (Plus it's the coolest) Sometimes there is a little let-up in the evening before sunset - but not always.

Prevailing winds means "prevailing".
On any one day they may be coming from the opposite direction.
Such is wind.
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Old 03-08-11, 10:54 PM
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We took little different route across Wyoming, essentially Highway 20. We did it from west to east and the winds seemed to be primarily from the SSE. It did shift some, but maybe the quartering headwinds are just the most memorable.

Last edited by Doug64; 03-09-11 at 08:47 PM.
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