Adventure Awaits in Carbon County
Wyoming exploration abounds in Carbon County’s rugged Western towns. Discover all the fun a traveler can encounter coming in from the south and progressing west toward Rawlins. Along the way you’ll find rustic cabins, luxury lodges, historic hotels and everything in between — all of which will suit your style on a Wild West vacation by car.
Gather your gear and hit the open road with this 10-day itinerary through Carbon County’s vast open spaces and sky-tickling peaks.
Day 1: Baggs, Dixon & Savery
Your road trip begins along the Colorado–Wyoming border as you travel through three charming towns steeped in frontier history — Baggs, Dixon and Savery. Pause for Western lore at Baggs Outlaw Stop and the Little Snake River Museum before continuing on the Battle Pass Scenic Byway for winding roads and breathtaking terrain. If you’re feeling thirsty, mosey on over to The Cowboy Inn or the Dixon Club for a refreshing adult beverage. When it’s time to retire, you’ll have everything you need at Dixon Motel & Club. Or, if your schedule is loose: Ranch life calls for an extended stay at Ladder Ranch or Boyer YL Ranch, where you’ll horseback ride, fish and hike through Wyoming’s scenic Little Snake River Valley.
Days 2–3: Encampment & Riverside
Found along the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range, Encampment and Riverside offer a double dose of outdoorsy bliss for the adventure-savvy traveler. Stop for Grand Encampment Museum’s ranching relics and rugged views of Medicine Bow National Forest (enjoyed best on foot along a section of the Continental Divide Trail). Or, pause for the Thomas Edison marker that looks over brilliantly blue Battle Lake along the Battle Pass Scenic Byway. Feeling hungry? A ginormous bacon burger with avocado and crispy fries at Bear Trap Cafe & Bar will soothe your empty tum. For sweet dreams on a schedule and lots of rustic allure, stay at The Cabins at Riverside or Spirit West River Lodge. Or, tack on some vacation days at A Bar A Ranch, a nearly 100,000-acre cattle ranch by the banks of the North Platte River.
Days 4–6: Saratoga
Known just as much for blue-ribbon trout fishing as for its toasty mineral hot springs, Saratoga is a nature-lover’s paradise cradled by massive peaks (thanks to its close proximity to both the Snowy and the Sierra Madre mountain ranges!). You’ll appreciate this laid-back town for its easy access to all the things you want to do in Wyoming, like hiking, camping, hunting, Nordic skiing, snowmobiling and so much more. Stop to enjoy downtown Saratoga’s unspoiled charm, then take a steamy soak in Hobo Hot Springs or go fly-fishing along the Upper North Platte River — where you just might spot a bald eagle. For some much-needed calories after a day spent outdoors, delight in The Grumpy Italian’s oh-so cheesy pizza and Snowy Mountain Brewery’s velvety stouts. Then rest your head at Saratoga Hot Springs Resort — with its on-site, private hot springs — or the Historic Hotel Wolf. Both offer unique Western history and delicious dining options.
Day 7: Elk Mountain
As the northern gateway to the Snowy Range, Elk Mountain is a perfect place to pause for a day of tranquility. Found at the base of its namesake — the more than 11,000-foot-high Elk Mountain — this tucked-away locale got its start in the mid-1800s as a stage stop along the Overland Trail. You’ll enjoy Elk Mountain Museum’s quirky local collections (open seasonally), plus the ample wildlife along the rugged and rolling Pass Creek Road. Stop in to savor the gourmet cuisine at the Historic Elk Mountain Hotel Restaurant before retreating to your room just a few steps away.
Day 8: Hanna & Medicine Bow
Founded originally to serve miners and locomotives, the towns of Hanna and Medicine Bow will appeal to the historian and nature enthusiast alike. You’ll revel in the expansive sage-brush flats — and might just spot a nimble pronghorn antelope (or three). See the Hanna Basin Museum and the Medicine Bow Museum for Western treasures, then head out for some fly-fishing along the cascading Medicine Bow River for trophy-sized rainbow and brown trout. After a day on the go, you’ll appreciate hearty saloon fare and a room for the night at The Historic Virginian Hotel.
Day 9–10: Rawlins & Sinclair
Once a remote and rowdy railroad stop, Rawlins — along with nearby Sinclair — delivers a welcoming, Old West atmosphere and lots to do. No matter the season, you’ll love Seminoe State Park’s otherworldly grandeur, along with downtown Rawlins’ numerous dining and shopping options. Insider tip: Take one of Rawlins’ downtown walking tours for historic insight. During the warm seasons you can spend some time playing Rochelle Ranch Golf Course’s rolling greens. Plus, the Wyoming Frontier Prison, open year-round, is where you can discover Wyoming’s colorful criminal history. Make stops for fudgy ice-cream sundaes at The Grindz and savory French Dip sammies at Buck’s Sports Grill, then pull over for a restful night at one of Rawlins’ numerous hotels and motels.
No matter your trip length, Wyoming’s Carbon County delivers it all: room to roam through the great outdoors, delicious dining, oodles of history and ample lodging. Plan ahead: Make sure you have the most up-to-date travel information as you map out your naturally socially distant road trip!
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.