Where Pioneer History & Outdoor Adventure Collide: 72 Hours in Casper, Wyoming
For adventure, history and a literal taste of the Cowboy State, Casper is the place to be. We outline a variety of things to do in this central-Wyoming town; all you need to do is get here and we’ll take care of the rest! Take a look at our itinerary for 72 hours in Casper, Wyoming.
Day 1: Mountain Trails, Dino Bones & Wyoming Spirits
Kick off your trip to Casper by exploring some of the town’s must-visit spots, including the local outdoor recreation area, a paleontology museum and the spirit of Wyoming in the form of, well, a spirit.
Start your day with a hike or mountain bike ride at Casper Mountain. This recreation area features a number of trails ranging in length and difficulty. Paths such as the Lee McCune Braille Trail are perfect for hiking, while the Casper Mountain Trails Center acts as a hub for anyone looking to access mountain biking, cross-country skiing and trail running routes.
Tate Geological Museum at Casper College
What better way to experience Wyoming than by learning about the prehistoric giants that once roamed this land? The Tate Geological Museum is a geology and paleontology museum located on the Casper College campus. Featuring over 3,000 fossil and mineral specimen, it will be well-worth your time to spend a few hours exploring this Wyoming museum.
Backwards Distilling Company
Visit this family-run distillery with a quirky, circus vibe to experience Wyoming craft spirits. Tours take place at 2 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday to give you a behind the scenes look at how the distillery is run. Classes are also available for those interested in learning how to make fun cocktails and infused spirits at home. If you’d rather just sit back and enjoy the delicious products of this craft distillery, head to the tasting room for cocktails with your crew.
Dinner at Yellowstone Garage
End your day with made-from-scratch burgers, sandwiches and American dishes at Yellowstone Garage. This once gas station and auto garage was transformed into a family-friendly bar and grill that serves up fresh food. Stop by in the summer to enjoy live music with your meal.
Day 2: Waterfall Hike, Modern Art, Historic Trails & Craft Brews
Day two includes another one of the area’s most popular hikes, along with a modern art museum and a microbrewery. We’ve also added a stop for learning about iconic pioneer trails, which will really pay off on day three.
For another hiking experience not far from downtown Casper, head to Rotary Park. This area features trails for hiking and mountain biking, along with grills and fire pits so you can enjoy an outdoor meal. Bridle Trail is one of the most popular paths in this area, and for good reason. This 4.5 mile trail awards hikers with views of the city and Garden Creek Falls.
Nicolaysen Art Museum
Known as the NIC to locals, this museum features contemporary artwork from a variety of artists. From space photography to interactive sculptures to local and historic pieces, all types of art enthusiasts can find something to enjoy. Explore the museum at your own pace or schedule a tour to learn more about featured art and the museum itself.
National Historic Trails Interpretive Center
Did you know that the Oregon, California, Mormon and Pony Express trails all passed through Wyoming during America’s westward expansion? The National Historic Trails Interpretive Center in Casper offers exhibits on the iconic locations and real-life struggle pioneers following these trails experienced in the mid-1800s. This self-guided lesson in American history will really pay off for what’s in store on day three.
Frontier Brewing Company
Enjoy a freshly-brewed beer at Casper’s Frontier Brewing Company. This microbrewery releases a new small batch of beer each week and features a self-pour tap system, allowing you to create your own flights. The brewery has live music on Thursdays and board games every day, making it an ideal spot to kick back with friends and family.
Dinner at Racca’s
Sit down for a delicious coal-fired pizza at Racca’s in Casper. The pizzeria offers Neapolitan favorites, including Italian sandwiches, salads, pizza and more.
Day 3: Pioneer History & Canyon Adventures
For the grand finale, we bring you 60 miles southwest of Casper to experience important stops along America’s westward expansion routes. On your way back into town, stop for an afternoon of breathtaking views and water fun at Fremont Canyon.
Mormon Handcart Historic Site – Martin’s Cove
Drive to Martin’s Cove in Alcova, Wyoming to discover the hardships members of the Latter-day Saints experienced as they journeyed by foot to Salt Lake City, Utah, pulling handcarts along the way. This Mormon Handcart Historic Site includes a visitors center where you can view artifacts and learn the story of these handcart pioneers. You can also hike the trail to Martin’s Cove, the location where pioneers sought shelter while awaiting rescue during a winter storm. If you’d like, you can even pull a handcart along part of the trail.
Independence Rock State Historic Site
Located about eight miles northeast of Martin’s Cove, Independence Rock is a large, granite rock formation that became an iconic landmark to the over 500,000 pioneers traveling west along the Oregon, California, Mormon and Pony Express trails. Emigrants journeying west along these routes would depart in early spring with the goal of reaching Independence Rock by July 4. The landmark served as a goal and a resting point for travelers, as well as a place for them to add their name to history. More than 5,000 pioneers carved their names in the granite, giving the boulder the nickname, “Great Register of the Desert.” You can hike on the large, gently-sloped rock to get a closer look at this historic landmark.
Continue 30 miles east of Independence Rock to reach Fremont Canyon, a beautiful location for fishing, hiking, rock climbing, boating and swimming. Take a boat ride from Alcova Reservoir to Pathfinder Reservoir and marvel at the towering red canyon walls along the way. Alcova Resort offers water skis, tubes, wakeboards, pontoon boats, stand-up paddleboards and kayaks to rent so you don’t miss out on water fun. Or stick to the land and explore the area’s mountain biking trails, hiking trails or rock climbing routes. Fishing is available on Alcova Reservoir, with plenty of fly fishing options along the nearby Platte River.
Dinner at Wyoming Ale Works
Following your afternoon at the canyon, head back into Casper for fresh, regionally-sourced eats at Wyoming Ale Works. Did we mention that this Wyoming brew house has forty craft beers on tap? If that doesn’t convince you to try this Casper gem, we don’t know what will.