5 Ways to Enjoy Wyoming’s Least Populated County
Lusk, and the surrounding Niobrara County, boasts the smallest population in America’s emptiest state — meaning this is socially distanced fun at its finest, folks. You’ll feel safe and sound as you explore the vast, wide-open landscape that is rural eastern Wyoming. Here’s how to appreciate Lusk like one of its big-hearted residents.
1. Hop on the Wyoming Quilt Trail
What began as a way to beautify the area after a devastating flood continues now as an embodiment of Niobrara County’s resilient spirit. It’s also an extension of the folky American Quilt Trail movement that uses wood and metal quilt squares to identify significant landmarks. Visitors will see more than 100 eye-catching, painted “quilt blocks” placed around the greater Lusk landscape: on homes, adorning businesses and decorating garages, fences and barns. Use this map to find them or keep your eyes peeled as you travel.
2. Shop in Lusk’s quaint downtown
There’s no better way to get to know a town like Lusk than to shop where the locals do. Crafters will enjoy ogling all the shimmery, textured and colorful fabrics at Lickety Stitch Quilts. Or, pop into Bloomers, a flower store turned unique boutique, for Western-style home decor and fashionable women’s clothing. Hometown Country, another downtown staple, features all sorts of Wyoming-made products and things you need — from soaps and lotions to cowboy duds. Just remember to wear your cloth mask and practice social distancing when you’re browsing.
3. Stargaze into the great unknown
Wyoming’s dark, wide-ranging skies — coupled with little to no light pollution (another perk of the state’s sparce population) — means you’ll see sparkling stars in Lusk like you never could in a city. Simply stare up into the grand, mysterious universe and behold its glittering orbs, sporadic meteor showers, the shimmering Milky Way and brightly lit planets. Want to have a closer look? Lusk’s homey Best Western Pioneer and the rustic Prairie View Campground both offer telescopes to their guests.
4. Eat delicious, oh-so cheesy pizza
Lusk’s citizens simply love The Pizza Place — and it’s no secret why. With blocks of melty cheese shipped in from Wisconsin and crumbly sausage seasoned in house, the ooey-gooey pizza at this homegrown establishment is sublimely delicious. Order a super-loaded Meat Eaters pizza for its pepperoni, sausage, bacon, salami and the list goes on. Or, go for a Gourmet Chicken pie to dine on savory meat, creamy ricotta cheese and baby spinach. Carryout and weather-dependent outdoor seating options are both available.
5. Relax at a Lusk city park
Looking for a green place to picnic? Lusk has five city-managed parks offering all sorts of family fun like playgrounds, walking paths, sand pits and open fields for running and jumping. Caboose Park, located right on Main Street, has its very own historic train cart. Pick your spot, spread out a blanket and relax for a while as you watch the kiddos play.
Want to stay overnight?
For such a small town, Lusk’s accommodation offerings are bountiful as well. Campers and RV-toting travelers have two choices: BJ’s Campground and Prairieview Campground. Or, if you’d rather snooze inside, there are five accommodating motel options to choose from — including the Covered Wagon Motel with an eco-friendly Tesla car charger.
For tips on traveling mindfully and responsibly through Wyoming’s big, open spaces, visit WY Responsibly. Just remember: Leave natural spaces cleaner than you found them, keep a safe distance from wildlife and respect the health and safety of everyone you encounter by social distancing and wearing a mask.