Wyoming is a place where you can wear a cowboy hat, ride a horse, go to a rodeo, and explore two great national parks, Yellowstone and Grand Tetons. You can eat buffalo (bison) or elk burgers and wash it down with a huckleberry milkshake at lunchtime and go to a western-style dinner of BBQ ribs and chicken, beef stew and cowboy beans at a good, old-fashioned chuck wagon cookout that night.
Wyoming is great for any time of year, not summer; in winter, elk and bison graze in the snow and mountain resorts are ski heaven. If you like wide open spaces, mountain beauty, and no crowds, then Wyoming is the place for you.
Here are the 10 must see attractions in Wyoming.
Your Wyoming vacation would not be complete without a visit to the Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone is the world’s first and oldest national park. It is one of the most awe-inspiring wilderness areas on the planet. Driving through the main roads, you’ll enjoy some of the most scenic views, but the huge network of hiking trails is the best way to appreciate the park’s diverse ecosystems. It is a geothermal wonderland with hissing geysers, bubbling mud pots, and steaming hot springs. Waterfalls gush down steep ravines and glittering lakes and rivers stretch for miles. Huge herds of bison still roam free in the valleys, and the abundant wildlife includes grizzly and black bears, gray wolves, elk, antelope, trumpeter swans, and majestic bald eagles. The park is open year-round.
Taking the entire family to Grand Teton National Park is a treat that they’ll never forget. You will see some of the most breathtaking sights, hike over 200 miles of trails, view extraordinary wildlife, and take gorgeous photographs. Wildlife is abundant. More than 300 species of birds, 60 species of mammals, and many freshwater fish live within the park. Not surprisingly, the park is a paradise for wildlife lovers, photographers, climbers, kayakers, and hikers. The best way to explore the spectacular scenery is by hiking the many trails. Some of the roads and access points close during winter months.
Devils Tower National Monument
Rising more than 1,200 feet, Devils Tower National Monument is a geological gem. This site is considered sacred to the Lakota tribe and other tribes that have a connection to the area. Hundreds of parallel cracks make it one of the finest traditional crack climbing areas in North America. When you are here make sure to drop by the visitor center to see some interactive exhibits on how the monument was formed as well as exhibits on the culture and history of the area. During the spring and early summer, abundant wildflowers create fantastic photo opportunities. Rock climbing is a popular pursuit here during certain months, and anglers can fish for black bullhead, catfish and walleye in the Belle Fourche. Ranger-led tours of the area are available.
Named after the Cheyenne Indians, the capital of Wyoming, was once the largest outpost of the US Cavalry. Today, the town’s museums and historic sites tell the story of Cheyenne’s beginnings in 1867 as a station of the Union Pacific Railroad.
For a taste of the Wild West, head to the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum with rodeo exhibits and antique horse-drawn wagons. Cheyenne’s other top tourist attractions include the Wyoming State Capitol Building, the Wyoming State Museum, and the Cheyenne Depot Museum.
Jackson Hole is the gateway to Grand Teton National Park and a popular stop on the way to Yellowstone. It’s rustic wooden buildings and boardwalks and a town square framed by elk-horn arches is the perfect setting for Old West fun. Add quaint shops, galleries, and restaurants to this charismatic town and you will see why it charms the modern-day visitor.
Bordering the town, the National Elk Refuge protects the largest herd of wintering elk in the world. In season, visitors can ride horse-drawn sleighs into the refuge to view these gentle creatures. It is only a 20-minute drive from town to the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort which offers some of the best skiing in North America.
Situated in Cody, Wyoming, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West is the oldest museum dedicated to American West history. You’ll find plenty to see and do here. The center comprises a complex with five museums—the Buffalo Bill Museum, the Plains Indian Museum, the Whitney Western Art Museum, the Cody Firearms Museum and the Draper Natural History Museum. It’s a great place to take in art exhibitions and displays relating to this fascinating history and to learn more about the history of the American West.
Near the center are the rodeo grounds where some of the best cowboys in the Wild West perform in the summer.
Hot Springs State Park, Thermopolis
Built around the world’s largest single mineral hot spring, Hot Springs State Park is a great place to stop for a relaxing soak. Visitors can soak for free in the warm waters indoors at the State Bath House or in the two outdoor pools.
Also in the area are over 6.3 miles of accessible hiking trails, petroglyphs, and summer flower gardens. Look for the herd of bison grazing in the hills.
Once a private fur-trading post, Fort Laramie became an important outpost serving pioneers emigrating west on the Mormon, Oregon, and California Trails. The area was also an important military post during the Plains Indian Wars. In 1938, President Roosevelt proclaimed the 214 acres of military reservation land a national monument. Today the National Park Service manages the site. Your first stop should be the Visitor Center where a short audio-visual presentation tells the story of the fort’s history. Artifacts such as uniforms and weapons are also on display here. After the Visitors Center, a walking tour of the restored buildings brings the fort’s fascinating history to life.
Caspar National Historic Trails Interpretive Center
The National Historic Trails Interpretive Center is more than a museum. It’s an interactive experience recreating the old pioneer trails and their important role in American history. Full-scale dioramas and multimedia presentations tell the story of Wyoming’s first settlers, the mountain men and fur trappers, the Oregon Trail, the Mormon Trail, the California Trail, and the Pony Express route.
Fossil Butte National Monument
Experience some of the most educational and informative hiking trails in the country at the Fossil Butte National Monument. These trails have wayside exhibits that allow you to discover fossils, wildlife and plants. You may go on an exciting horseback ride around the trails or have a fun picnic with your family at the Chicken Creek Picnic Area.