Wyoming Story Ideas
There are some places that are hard to describe, not due to a lack of words, but because of the way they make people feel. One such place: Wyoming. Here among our natural wonders and national parks, wide-open spaces and starry skies are endless story ideas that inspire and differentiate Wyoming from other vacation destinations. As you strive to tell deeper and richer stories through editorial, content and video, we’ve highlighted some of the story ideas that can be found in the Cowboy State.
Wyoming’s Skies and Spaces
Home to some of the darkest skies in the continental United States, Wyoming is one of the best places for uninhibited views of the night sky. With nearly half of its land mass being public land—including national parks and monuments, forests, wildlife refuges and wilderness areas—Wyoming has abundant opportunities for sightseeing, stargazing and enjoying clear skies and fresh air. Plus, many places throughout the state offer stargazing experiences—including Devils Tower National Monument, Jackson Hole and Yellowstone National Park—that result in incredible views of the Milky Way, star clusters and planets.
The Great Outdoors
Wyoming offers endless opportunities to disconnect from modern distractions and connect with the spirit of the West and the raw nature that’s found among our untouched terrain and small towns. Incredible backcountry landscapes—including the breathtaking Wind River Mountains, Sweetwater County’s Killpecker Sand Dunes and Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area—are easily accessible and waiting to be discovered. And, with a population of only 563,000 living in 97,914 square miles, it’s not hard to find your own piece of Wyoming’s great outdoors.
Boots, Chaps & Cowboy Hats
Known as the Cowboy State, it’s likely no surprise that the spirit and real-life legacy of the cowboy lives on in Wyoming. The state’s cowboy heritage dates back to the cattle drives of the 1850s and is still prevalent today with the bucking horse and rider symbol found throughout Wyoming, even making appearances on our license plates and the helmets of our University of Wyoming football team. Plus, cowboys and rodeos are everywhere—from Cheyenne and Cody to Evanston and Sheridan—making Wyoming one of the best places to live the western way of life. For more incredible experiences, download A Guide to Rodeos in The Cowboy State.
Road Trips, National Parks + Trails
Wyoming was made for road tripping. With a diverse landscape that includes Devils Tower National Monument in the northeast to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks in the northwest, Wyoming is a rich treasure trove of characters and history, with some of our best stories found along scenic byways and backroads. Each of Wyoming’s scenic byways provide travelers with the opportunity to uncover and create their own western experience. Often overshadowed by its counterparts, the Beartooth Scenic Byway is Wyoming’s highest paved primary road and crests the Rocky Mountains at 10,947 feet. Appropriately called “the most beautiful drive in America,” the Beartooth Highway is the only national scenic byway in the state. Meanwhile, in southwest Wyoming, the 100-mile-long Flaming Gorge-Green River Scenic Byway starts just west of Rock Springs and winds its way through a high desert, incredible rock formations and snowcapped mountain peaks.
Here in Wyoming, dude ranches have been a part of our landscapes for more than 100 years. Home to Eaton’s Ranch, the first dude ranch in the U.S., it’s no surprise that Wyoming is able to meet the interest in nostalgic, authentic experiences at various properties, including working ranches, traditional guest ranches and resort ranches. In fact, guest and dude ranches are such an integral part of the Wyoming way of life that the Dude Ranchers Association was founded in Cody, Wyoming, in 1926. Whether your readers are searching for a relaxing vacation meandering Wyoming’s sweeping countryside on horseback or something a bit more rustic with a true ranch hand experience roping cattle, Wyoming’s dude ranches offer an authentic western experience for every comfort level.
In Wyoming, handcrafted isn’t just a hipster trend. It’s how we’ve been doing things for generations. For example, Sheridan’s King’s Saddlery is run by third-generation descendants of the three King brothers who started the business in 1946. Not to be outdone, Wyoming’s emerging distillery and brewery offerings frequently feature recipes that have been passed down through the years. But, that doesn’t mean we don’t welcome newcomers with open arms – like cowboy Tim Kellogg, a chocolatier out of Meeteetse, who started his business in 2004 simply to raise money for a new bronc saddle.
Taste Wyoming Cuisine
While Wyoming is known for its wide-open spaces and natural wonders, the culinary, spirit and brewery scene is rapidly gaining traction for locals and visitors alike. Local flavors include bison ribeye, Rocky Mountain oysters, Chugwater chili, peanut-butter-and-bacon burgers, handmade chocolates and huckleberry-infused cocktails.
Art & Culture
An important part of being preserving Wyoming’s “Forever West” mentality is by preserving and cherishing the state’s history and culture. Attractions like the Buffalo Bill Historical Center celebrate the spirit of the American West, including the culture and art that bring the heritage of Wyoming to life, while places like the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson preserve an incredible collection of work from early American Indian Tribes to modern-day artists.
Inspired by Wyoming
Once you see it for yourself, you’ll understand why Wyoming has served as the inspiration for classic and contemporary tales. And, for visitors, these experiences are just a road trip away. Just a few scenes from Disney’s “The Good Dinosaur” and you’ll see landscapes inspired by Wyoming which tie in nicely with the numerous dig sites all over the state. Meanwhile, fans of the TV series “Longmire” can visit some locations mentioned by author Craig Johnson and bibliophiles can experience the same western landscapes and lifestyles prevalent through CJ Box’s popular Joe Pickett series.
The Wild West: Buffalo Bill + Butch Cassidy
No matter how much time passes, Wyoming will forever remain steeped in the history and folklore of the wild west. Plus, as the state was home to western icons like Buffalo Bill Cody and Butch Cassidy, it’s no wonder Wyoming is looked at as a place where the west lives on and western heritage can still be experienced today. And while the state’s history and legacy remains, modern-day adventures in Wyoming can bring the western spirit to life by visiting the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody (celebrating its 100th anniversary this year), staying at the Occidental Hotel in Buffalo (past patrons include Butch Cassidy, The Sundance Kid, Buffalo Bill, Teddy Roosevelt and Calamity Jane) or touring the Museum of the Mountain Man in Pinedale.