If wide-open skies, pioneer history, and idyllic natural wonders are something you long for, plan to hit the open road in east central Wyoming. Sure, our national parks and icons in the northwest get a lot of attention–and rightfully so! But we implore you to come and explore the lesser-known yet equally compelling gems that will deepen your love for Wyoming and the American West.
Heading to Cheyenne Frontier Days? Devils Tower? Or passing through eastern Wyoming on your way to Yellowstone? Then you have the perfect opportunity to stop by and explore this history-rich area. Beginning just north of Cheyenne, drink in the prairie views and sample a taste of old fashion soda at the Chugwater Soda Fountain. Think hole-in-the-wall mom and pop with friendly locals and plenty of delicious treats.
After your refreshing beverage, continue north, a bit past Wheatland, and veer off east onto the Oregon Trail Historic Byway. Here you’ll have your pick of full-throttle water activities, camping, and hiking (Guernsey State Park), or an open-invitation to step back in time and witness the actual trail ruts and register that preserved the journey made by the pioneers in the late 1800’s (Register Cliff and Oregon Trail Ruts National Landmark).
A close-up of a signature etched into Register Cliff near Wheatland, Wyoming. Register Cliff served as a major “check in” point for emmigrants travelling west.
It’s also helpful to note that this scenic byway runs along the North Platte River, a fishing gold mine, so plan to bring a rod and some bait. You might just catch your dinner! After you’ve had your fill of this special little area, continue on 85 until heading to Lusk. If you haven’t eaten dinner, we absolutely suggest checking out the famed “Pizza Place“. They’ve been servin’ up de-lectable slices dripping in melted cheese and a hearty helping of toppings for years and patrons all agree–this place is darn near perfection. Got some extra time? Satisfy the inner dinosaur nerd (we all have one…) at Lusk’s Paleo Park.
Next stop: Newcastle. A quaint town with a ton of beauty. Of course, with any good vacation, a nice cold brew is usually in order. And if that’s your style, make your way to the T&A Brewing Company. This brewery offers up outstanding brews in a laid-back, classy atmosphere. Have a hankering for some pub food to go along with your pint? You’ve come to the right place. T&A offers pizza pretzels, and gourmet cheese plates to satisfy your palate. For your next stop, you can continue east on to the majestic Black Hills, or you can head northwest (via the Wyoming Black Hills scenic byway either way–win, win) and pass through Keyhole Reservoir and onto the geological wonder of Devils Tower— a staggering 1,200 ft flat topped volcanic formation.
Devils Tower stands proudly with access to plenty of hiking trails, rock climbing routes (only for experienced climbers) and campgrounds galore.
There you’ll find plenty to do and explore, ranging from a simple, quiet evening of stargazing in your favorite camping chair or netted tent, to rock climbing the adrenaline-pumping routes surrounding the tower. Convinced yet? If you’re looking to save a couple bucks in your pocket while touring these scenic routes and hidden gems of east central Wyoming. You’ll find tons of lodging and activity discounts you can apply to your trip.
Need more ideas of what to explore and where? Order our FREE Official Travelers Guide.