The Equality State’s rugged and untamed landscapes lure everyone from movie directors to outdoor adventurers. The spirit of the Wild West lives on in its towns, too, with rodeos and ranches providing a look into Western life.
Way of the Gun
History stalks the streets of Cheyenne, with century-old hotels boasting storied pasts and live gun shows that recreate the town’s rough legacy. Watch the Cheyenne Gunslingers reenact gunfights or come face-to-face with 2,300 bison at the Terry Bison Ranch. You can also immerse yourself in rodeo exhibits and an extensive collection of antique wagons at the Frontier Days Old West Museum.
Wyoming Bison Steak
After exploring Wyoming’s wide-open spaces, refuel with a juicy bison steak. The lean game meat has more flavor than beef and tastes best when seared to medium-rare. Ask for a sirloin or go for a ribeye if you have a big appetite. Many restaurant menus also offer other bison specialties including burgers, tacos and sausages.
Landscapes to Die For
Enshrined in Native American legend and in films like “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” Devils Tower National Monument in northeast Wyoming is a thrilling attraction. Standing at 867 feet with sheer vertical cliffs, this 65-million-year-old geological gem is considered sacred by Northern Plains tribes. Join a ranger-led tour to learn more about the unique site or traverse eight miles of trails to admire it from every angle. Rock climbers can scale its almost-sheer sides to earn a stunning view from the top.
The town of Cody celebrates the legacy of the American cowboy. Set at the foot of the Absaroka Mountains in the state’s northwest corner, this town carries on the traditions of the iconic riders and ropers. The Buffalo Bill Center of the West covers every aspect of this mythical region. There are five museums all under one roof, including the Big Horn Galleries, which showcase works by famous Western artists. Old West town offers enlightening trolley tours to pioneer homes and the historic district.
Wide-open Wyoming is home to 12 state parks, five national forests, four national wildlife refuges and a pair of national recreation areas. But when it comes to outdoor adventure, it’s the state’s pair of national parks that steal most of the spotlight. Yellowstone and Grand Teton are among the finest national parks in the country, offering a mix of mesmerizing geography and an abundance of activities.
Iconic National Park
Wyoming’s biggest draw is Yellowstone National Park in the state’s northwest corner. Established as the world’s first national park in 1872, this two-million-acre region seethes with natural hot springs and roars with gushing waterfalls. It also has the largest concentration of geysers in the world. Take a scenic drive or trek along hundreds of miles of trails to reach famous sites like the Old Faithful Geyser, Mammoth Hot Springs and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. The chances are high that you will catch glimpses of bison, elk and bears along the way.
Adventure on the Tetons
Grand Teton National Park is known for the spiky peaks that stab the sky. Start by cruising the 42-mile long Scenic Loop Drive, which shows off the park’s incredible scenery and wildlife. The park itself is home to more than 230 miles of marked hiking trails and lots of opportunities to fish, ride, boat, birdwatch or view wildlife. You’ve probably seen the park’s famous mountains adorning postcards; now see it in person.
Heritage Haunts the Land
In Laramie and Rawlins, visit the Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site and then the Wyoming Frontier Prison. In the town of Buffalo, you can see where the notorious Hole in the Wall Gang stayed at the Historic Occidental Hotel.
Wyoming’s Wild Rivers
Some of the nation’s best trout fishing can be found in Wyoming. Miles of mountain streams and clear, cool lakes provide prime habitats. Grab your fly rod, and take your pick of the Snake, the North Platte or the Big Laramie rivers. Within Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons national parks, you’ll find spectacular fishing within spectacular landscapes. In eastern Wyoming, Glendo State Park and Keyhole State Park are top picks for boating and outdoor recreation.
Big Game Galore
Across the state, hunters will find public lands teeming with wildlife, including elk, moose, bear, antelope and bighorn sheep. The Bridger-Teton National Forest — the third largest national forest in the U.S. — is a top choice near Jackson. In northeastern Wyoming, the Black Hills National Forest offers big and small game.
Go a little wild in the historic Old West town of Buffalo. Resting in the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains in northern Wyoming, Buffalo is a popular destination for hunters, wilderness enthusiasts and aficionados of the cowboy way. From here, visitors can make day trips to a variety of destinations certain to quench the thirsts of adventure seekers of all ages.
The Sporting Life
If you like to ski, boat, fish or hike, Buffalo serves as your gateway to a sportsman’s paradise. Take the boat out on Lake DeSmet just north of the town and take advantage of clear, cool days on the water. Jet Skis and water skis are permitted on this popular lake, as is fishing.
Cowboy State Catches
Anglers can cast their lines at Healy Reservoir and in the Middle Fork of the Powder River, as well as in the mountain streams and lakes throughout Bighorn National Forest and Cloud Peak Wilderness. With a little patience, you’re bound to hook one of several trout species, as well as bass, perch and bluegill.
Head for the Horns
The Big Horns beckon hikers and horseback riders to test its trails, which follow lakes and streams, wind through parklands and climb mountains. The U.S. Forest Service provides detailed trail maps and tips for making the most of a hike. Area guest ranches and outfitters offer visitors the opportunity to ride at their leisure, whether for a half-day or an overnight camping trip.
Land That Tells a Story
Travel back in time 60 million years at the Dry Creek Petrified Tree Environmental Education Area, located 13 miles east of Buffalo. A mile loop interpretive trail winds its way through petrified trees, remnants of the jungle-like swamp that covered the land during this prehistoric era. Paleontologists speculate the crocodiles and large mammals made their home here.
Hunting for Photos
From the comfort of your RV seat, you can still experience the beauty of the region. Cloud Peak Skyway—US 16—crosses the southern Big Horns and showcases views of snowcapped peaks on its 45-mile route. Equally thrilling are views of Hospital Hill, Meadow Lark Lake and Tensleep Canyon.
As the Wheel Turns
Medicine Wheel Passage, also known as US 14A, rises from the Bighorn Basin near the town of Lovell and crosses through steep canyons and alpine meadows, but the main attraction is the largest intact Native American medicine wheel in North America. The rocks and markings that created the 80-foot-diameter wheel remain intact.
Wyoming’s frontier history is preserved at Fort Phil Kearny. The fort’s historic site features a museum that tells the outpost’s story. Butch Cassidy’s famous “Hole in the Wall” hideout is nearby; don’t miss out on the tour of Outlaw Cave and Dull Knife Battlefield.
Ride ’em and Rope ’em
If you visit in the summer, you might be lucky enough to stroll around the Johnson County Fair and Rodeo, which kicks off in the last days of July. From agriculture lessons to bucking broncos, the fair is a tribute to Wyoming’s farming and ranching heritage.