Wyoming is a prime destination for beautiful scenery any time of the year, but when it comes to the best places to see fall foliage, the Cowboy State tops the list.
The season’s golden hues enhance the mighty mountains and deep forests of the Western landscape, and fall’s cooler temperatures make exploring the great outdoors all the more comfortable.
Whether the family is looking for the best leaf peeping spots or you’ve got an open-air adventure planned and want to let nature dress it up, these are the best times and locales to experience fall in Wyoming.
When do Wyoming’s Leaves Change Color?
For optimal leaf viewing on your next vacation, you should time your visit around the season’s peak color change and before the trees are bare. So, when do Wyoming’s leaves change color? While peak season can vary from city to city across the state, fall’s brightest reds and golds are generally on display over a 6-week period from early September to the middle of October. Some say the best state-wide showing is mid-September, but depending on where you’re headed, you have a reasonably wide window for planning your trip.
Best Places to See Fall Foliage in Wyoming
Now that you’ve got the timing right for your fall getaway, it’s all about the location. In a state famous for having year-round activities in the great outdoors, we found 9 of the best places to see fall foliage in Wyoming.
Grab a backpack and a camera, and get ready to play amid a striking autumn backdrop.
1. Aspen Alley (Near Encampment)
Location: Forest Rd 801, Encampment, WY 82325
For a classically picturesque walk among the trees, there are few better leaf viewing stops than Aspen Alley. Tucked away in the gorgeous Sierra Madre Range, Aspen Alley is named for the type of trees that shade its peaceful dirt pathway, creating a dazzling umbrella of fall colors overhead. To find yourself in this autumn gem, jump on Highway 70 in Encampment and head west for just over 20 miles.
2. Paintbrush Canyon (Grand Teton National Park)
Location: Paintbrush Canyon, WY, 83414
There’s no wrong time of year to immerse yourself in the incredible Teton Range, and if you’re there in search of vibrant fall colors, look no further than Paintbrush Canyon. Located south of the Tetons, this park area features hills rising around Holly Lake and Leigh Lake, each peppered with aspens raising their golden leaves skyward. This location is one of the best leaf peeping places for avid hikers, as there are tons of trails across the canyon to give you many vantage points.
3. Devils Tower National Monument
Location: WY-110, Devils Tower, WY 82714
Rich in history and undeniably eye-catching, Devils Tower National Monument is an iconic, looming butte in the Black Hills. In the blazing glow of September, however, it becomes one of the most unique places to see fall foliage in Wyoming. Surrounded by flecks of vibrant colors in the nearby tree-dotted hills, this autumn destination has areas accessible for any visitor, but may be especially interesting to those wanting a world-class rock climbing adventure.
4. Squaretop Mountain (Near Pinedale)
Location: Squaretop Mountain, WY 82925
If you’re after fall colors in Wyoming, you can’t go wrong with the charming town of Pinedale and the short drive it takes to get you from there to beautiful Squaretop Mountain. Ascending to 3,700 feet in the air, this summit stands above the Green River in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, creating a stunning vision across the horizon that you may recognize from newer Wyoming state license plates. In autumn, the blend of golden leaves offset by evergreens along the riverbank makes for a sight that is nothing short of inspirational.
5. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (Teton Village)
Location: Teton Village, WY 83025
If you thought ski resorts were exclusively a wintertime destination, think again. Cascading mountain sides are perfect for leaf viewing in the fall, and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort certainly tops that list. Located just outside the city of Jackson in beautiful Teton Village, you can treat yourself to aspen-lined trails and paths in vivid shades of yellow and gold, often until the first snow of ski season. In addition to some of the best leaf peeping you can find on foot in the Teton range, you won’t want to miss the aerial tram, which can provide you with an incredible vantage point from above the treetops.
6. Cloud Peak Skyway Scenic Byway (Buffalo)
Location: Buffalo, WY 82834
If you prefer to observe fall in Wyoming from the comfort of your vehicle, all you have to do is hit the road and find yourself on the Cloud Peak Skyway Scenic Byway. This specific section of U.S. 16 spans over 40 miles and takes you nearly 10,000 feet in elevation once you reach Powder River Pass. An essential route in state history, there is plenty to stop and explore along the way, including getting yourself some Western hospitality in nearby Buffalo. Or, you can simply sit back, relax and take in the autumn glow all around you.
7. Beartrap Meadow (Casper Mountain)
Location: Casper Mountain, WY 82601
Tucked away in the heart of Casper Mountain, about a 30-minute drive from the city of Casper, is a vast open space with gorgeous grassland and a great viewing spot for fall colors in Wyoming. Beartrap Meadow, best known locally for its annual summer music festival, is just as lovely to look at after the guitars are picked and packed. Surrounded by various types of trees, this mountain escape is relatively level and suitable for all visitors hunting for an authentic taste of fall. The site also has a campground, so feel free to pop a tent and stay a while.
8. Tongue River Canyon (Dayton)
Location: Parkman, WY 82838
The aspens are ready to put on their finest autumn attire, and you can have a front-row seat to their performance at Tongue River Canyon near Dayton. Named for the river that carved it, this canyon is filled with lush trees and several miles of trails, making for a brilliant hike filled with fall hues. In addition to leaf viewing, make sure to scope out the wildflowers that the canyon is well known for, as well as the incredible limestone cliffs and walls surrounding you.
9. Vedauwoo Recreation Area (Laramie)
Location: Buford, WY 82052
Vedauwoo Recreation Area may be best known for its craggy rock faces that attract climbers and hikers alike. However, you may not know that this massive igneous rock formation is surrounded by one of the best spots for fall foliage in Wyoming. Locals say that the best time for viewing is either dawn or dusk when the sun moves in the sky and casts its rays over the abundant gold and copper. While you’re there, don’t hesitate to check out nearby Laramie for museums, street art, fine food and fun for the whole family.