Settled by rugged pioneers following the path of the transcontinental railroad, the capital of Wyoming beckons to you as it did to settlers all those years ago. Stomp your boots and wave your Stetson at Cheyenne Frontier Days, the world’s largest outdoor rodeo and Western celebration. Breathe in the comforting scent of leather at The Wrangler while you outfit yourself in the latest western wear. Challenge yourself by rock climbing at Vedauwoo or mountain biking at Curt Gowdy State Park, or simply take a hike and soak in all the natural beauty surrounding you. With so much to see and do here, you can live the legend of Cheyenne through its storied history and thriving present.
Fort Laramie National Historic Site, Wyoming
Fort Laramie National Historic Site preserves and interprets one of America’s most important locations in the history of westward expansion — hosting emigrants from the Oregon, Mormon and California trails — and Native American resistance. Begin your tour at the visitor center located in the restored 1884 Commissary Storehouse with an 18-minute orientation film before entering the museum and browsing the bookstore. Transport yourself in time during the summer as you walk around the grounds and see staff and volunteers in period-appropriate dress bring history alive. You’ll hear bugle calls while exploring 12 restored buildings from 1849 to the late 1880s, continuing across the fort to see more ruins. Your adventure can continue to a hike on a trail that leads from the Old Iron Bridge to the confluence of the Platte and Laramie Rivers, where spectacular views and a variety of birds and other wildlife are found.
For adventure, history and a literal taste of the Cowboy State, Casper is the place to be. 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.
Devils Tower, Wyoming
While America’s first national monument garnered significant attention as the backdrop to the 1977 Stephen Spielberg movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the tower is sacred to Northern Plains Indian tribes and the Black Hills region Kiowa Tribe. With oral storytelling and a history that dates back thousands of years, today, American Indian tribes continue to hold sacred ceremonies at the tower, including sweat lodges and sun dances. There is more to this monument than its rich history. You can stop at the visitor’s center to learn about one of the ranger-led programs, night sky viewing, hiking and even climbing to the top of Devils Tower. If one day isn’t enough to explore this unforgettable area, bring your camping gear to stay within the monument, or stay just outside or in accommodations at one of the nearby towns.
Whether it’s beautiful scenery, wide open spaces, outdoor recreation or getting a sense of history through local museums, Buffalo and its surrounding communities are places you’ll love to visit. Enjoy the Western hospitality of restaurants from family fare to fine dining, in addition to shops, art galleries and a wide selection of lodging. Sit down for breakfast at the Busy Bee Cafe, a name you might recognize from the hit book and television series, Longmire, which took much of its inspiration from the Buffalo area. Stay at the historic Occidental Hotel, a western gem that once welcomed Teddy Roosevelt, Calamity Jane and other Old West icons. Or experience the Western lifestyle yourself at one of the area’s guest ranches, like Paradise Guest Ranch. Head into nearby Bighorn National Forest to enjoy fishing streams and alpine lakes, hiking among breathtaking scenery and camping in serene areas like the South Fork Campground. Winter activities include snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing and snowmobiling.
Historic downtown doors swing open to extend warm hospitality as legendary as the icons that once roamed these parts, while dramatic vistas of the Bighorn Mountains meet the serenity of wide-open spaces. Gaze at the neon lights lining Main Street in Sheridan’s historic downtown, including that of the bronc rider above the saloon-style Mint Bar. Book a stay at the Historic Sheridan Inn Hotel to spend time where author Ernest Hemingway put the finishing touches on A Farewell to Arms. Explore the Brinton Museum to discover Native American history and Western art. Then, venture outdoors to take on a multitude of activities within the surrounding Bighorn National Forest. Hike the legendary peaks of the Bighorn Mountains, relax and pitch a tent at Sibley Lake, crush fresh powder at Antelope Butte Ski Area or explore the area’s world-class snowmobile trails. Epic events, live music, remarkable ranches and hotels, wilderness hikes and more live at the base of the Bighorns in Sheridan, Wyoming.
Founded by the legendary scout and showman, Colonel William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, Western attractions such as nightly summer rodeos, gun fight reenactments, cowboy music and the world-class Buffalo Bill Center of the West offer just a few things to do in Cody. You can even walk through Old Trail Town to see authentic 1890s frontier buildings that made up the new town site. Those pining for an outdoor escape can find mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, fly fishing, horseback riding and river rafting in the nearby Shoshone National Forest. Just a 50-mile drive will bring you to the iconic Yellowstone National Park, where you can spend days admiring geysers, lakes and wildlife. The Cody-Yellowstone area, which includes Powell to the north and Meeteetse to the south, also boasts three scenic byways featuring stunning landscapes. If you’re feeling daring, head to Sleeping Giant for a ziplining experience with breathtaking views of the Absaroka Mountains or zip down the area’s ski runs in the winter. Save some time for strolling through Cody’s downtown, which includes fine restaurants, art galleries, unique shopping and the historic Irma Hotel.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
From hiking and horseback riding, to fishing and scenic wildlife tours, there are plenty of things to do across its 2 million acres. The iconic spots — Old Faithful, Lower Falls and Yellowstone Lake — may be familiar from paintings and photographs, but seeing them in person is a humbling, enthralling experience you can enjoy year-round. When it comes to where to stay in Yellowstone National Park, you have choices, but booking early is key. From inside the park hotels and motels, to campgrounds and backcountry camping with the correct permits, there’s a perfect basecamp for your wild and wonderful Yellowstone adventure.
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Located just north of Jackson, Wyoming, Grand Teton has a diverse and long-standing history that includes human use from more than 11,000 years ago. Nomadic Indians, American Indian tribes, early American explorers and permanent settlers once called this national park home. Today, you can explore the park’s extensive history and culture through ranger-led programs, visitor centers and historical points of interest like Mormon Row and the Moulton Barns. In addition to a fascinating history, Grand Teton’s stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife provide the perfect location for nature lovers and outdoor adventurers. Delve deeper into this region’s breathtaking scenery with a backpacking trip (permits required). Or start planning and booking your stay early to reserve campsites or comfortable lodging within park boundaries. Wherever you rest your head, make sure you wake up ready to explore all the activities Grand Teton offers, including hiking, boating, rock climbing, wildlife tours and more.
Several towns are nestled within this valley, including Jackson, which boasts incredible dining, shopping and lodging options for those seeking a fun and relaxing escape to the mountains. Choose from a number of guided activities, such as horseback riding at the A-OK Corral, whitewater rafting along the Snake River or going on a scenic wildlife tour. You can also create your own adventure by hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, fishing and more in the surrounding mountains and Bridger-Teton National Forest. Skiing is the major winter pastime around these parts, with Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Snow King and Grand Targhee all offering top-notch runs. For a unique winter experience, try dog sledding in Jackson Hole or visit the National Elk Refuge. The refuge provides a home for thousands of elk each winter and offers sleigh rides among the elk from mid-December through early April.
With the Green River, New Fork Rivers and more than 1,300 surrounding alpine lakes, Pinedale is an outdoor haven with plenty to do year-round. One of four Wyoming gateway cities to the Continental Divide Trail, the mountains provide a paradise for backpackers, featuring treks like Cirque of the Towers and Titcomb Basin. Find a guide or outfitter to explore the mountains and surrounding Bridger-Teton National Forest by horseback, ATV or through a hunting trip. For something more relaxing, grab your kayak, fishing rod or water skis and head to Fremont Lake, Wyoming’s second largest natural lake. Or travel 52 miles north to Green River Lakes, where glimpses of wildlife and stunning views of Squaretop Mountain await. In the winter, Pinedale is known for its access to over 300 miles of groomed snowmobile trails through varied terrain, along with its frozen lakes that offer ice fishing, snowshoeing, skating and more. Downhill skiers can head to White Pine Ski Resort for an affordable, family-friendly experience. No matter the season, don’t miss out on Pinedale’s downtown, which offers shopping, dining and its very own craft brewery.
Rock Springs, Wyoming
This high-desert oasis provides adventure around every corner. The charming downtown has an award-winning main street featuring great shopping opportunities and locally revered restaurants. The Killpecker Sand Dunes, just a few miles north of town, are the largest sand dunes in North America and the second largest in the world. Experience the dunes in an AWD vehicle, ATV, or on a sandboard or sled. Explore Boar’s Tusk, a long-extinct volcanic core standing above the dunes or explore the White Mountain Petroglyphs. Drive south of town to boat, fish, swim, and mountain bike at Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. If you’re looking for western culture, be sure to check out Sweetwater County Events Complex. The arena hosts annual rodeos and Wyoming’s Big Show at the Sweetwater County Fair and Rodeo.
Head to Hobo Hot Springs for a free experience in a natural setting near the North Platte River, or book a stay at Saratoga Hot Springs Resort to soak under teepee-covered pools. More than just hot springs, Saratoga offers plenty of outdoor activities, with Elk Mountain, the Snowy Range Mountains and the Sierra Madre Mountains surrounding this quaint town. Hundreds of miles of hiking trails are scattered throughout the area’s Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, and anglers can enjoy premiere blue-ribbon trout fishing along freestone rivers flowing throughout the Platte Valley. Fish on your own or hire one of many outfitters to be your guide. In the winter, snowmobilers will have room to ride with over 300 miles of premiere snowmobile trails. Peruse unique shops and dine at local restaurants downtown before spending the night. Lodging in Saratoga ranges from the natural Silver Lake Campground to the Historic Hotel Wolf and luxurious Brush Creek Ranch. No matter your travel style, you’ll be sure to find something to enjoy in Saratoga.
History buffs can step into the past at the Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site, where the infamous outlaw, Butch Cassidy, was once held. Go back further in time at the University of Wyoming’s Geological Museum, Wyoming’s very own “Jurassic Park.” Outdoor enthusiasts can explore Laramie’s picturesque surroundings of Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest and the Snowy Range Mountains. From climbing gravity-defying rock formations in Vedauwoo Recreation Area to downhill skiing at Snowy Range Ski Area, Laramie offers year-round outdoor adventure. Be sure to explore Laramie’s historic downtown with a walkable brewery or mural tour; downtown Laramie features brilliant full wall murals created by local artists. Then, grab a bite to eat at any foodie hotspot, such as Sweet Melissa Café, Altitude Chophouse and Brewery or Roxie’s on Grand.
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