A road trip is a quintessentially American experience—especially if it involves a drive through the storied terrain of the Wild West. Taking I-80 east to west across Wyoming, the vast expanse and rugged landscapes of the state unfurl in spectacular fashion, while pit stops in small towns and urban hubs break up the drive and ramp up the fun. You’ll see geological sites, soak up Western culture firsthand and trace the historic path of the Union Pacific Railroad. Driving across Wyoming isn’t just a way to get from here to there: It virtually beckons for exploration and adventure.
Looking to fill out your road trip even more? Don’t miss the opportunity to veer off the main route. We’ve listed scenic byways and three classic north-south routes to see even more of the state as you make your way across, organized by the nearest city.
Wyoming State Museum
Kick off your trip by swinging through Wyoming’s capital and getting a crash course in the culture and history of the great state you’re about to drive across. The Wyoming State Museum highlights important human-impacted historical events and the natural history of Wyoming.
Alternate Road Trip Idea: Park to Park
This route traces I-25 before veering west and is easily accessible from Cheyenne. From state parks to vineyards to natural geological wonders, there’s plenty to choose from along this stretch to Yellowstone National Park’s east entrance. Some of the dozen suggested stops along the trail include the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens, Ayres Natural Bridge and the Wyoming Dinosaur Center.
Explore the Ames Monument in Buford.
Certainly not what you expect to see in the middle of Wyoming, this 60-foot-high granite pyramid known as the Ames Monument, also known as the Ames Brothers Pyramid, was built by the Union Pacific Railroad and designed by renown architect Henry Hobson Richardson (one of his biographers even described it as “perhaps the finest memorial in America … one of Richardson’s least known and most perfect works.”) Back in the day passengers could get off the train and explore the site while waiting for engines to be switched out.
The Lincoln Highway was the first coast-to-coast highway in the United States, and you can still ride a section of this historical route by following US-30 signs toward Medicine Bow. Be sure to take Exit 323 to take a photo with the grand Lincoln Monument.
Medicine Bow National Forest
Outdoor recreation opportunities abound in the million-acre Medicine Bow National Forest, accessed from Laramie via WY-130 or WY-230. Explore the Medicine Bow Mountains and Snowy Range and enjoy the camping, fishing and hiking this area has to offer.
Fort Fred Steele Historic Site
Built in 1868, Fort Fred Steele was built to protect the Union Pacific Railroad and its workers during the railroad’s initial construction. Take a self-guided tour to see what remains of the original buildings and learn about the fort’s role in Wyoming history.
Seminoe State Park
Sagebrush, sand dunes and pronghorn are all iconic reminders that, yes, you’re still in Wyoming. All of these icons can be found in abundance at Seminoe State Park, a must-stop along I-80. Camping and boating are permitted throughout the park, and water access includes the Seminoe Reservoir and the North Platte River’s “Miracle Mile”, named for its world-class fishing.
Wyoming Frontier Prison
Built in the late 1800s, Wyoming’s first state prison is now a museum on the National Registry of Historic Places. Take a walking tour, explore the grounds and learn about the history of this prison that housed some 13,500 inmates throughout its operating years and later was a filming location for one of Viggo Mortensen’s first movies.
Alternate Road Trip Idea: Rockies to Tetons
This stunning route can be picked up in Lander on I-287. A hands-down hit for mountain lovers, the route showcases the Wind River Range, Snowy Mountains and Tetons.
Get off the highway near Rock Springs to see a variety of wildlife.