By far one of the best reasons to visit Wyoming is its incomparable natural beauty. Home to Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and six mountain ranges that surround the Big Horn Basin, it is Wyoming’s majestic outdoors that travelers come to see year-round. Outdoor activities dominate vacation itineraries in Wyoming, such as hiking, rock and mountain climbing, white water rafting, and skiing. Here are the best places to visit in Wyoming.
1.Yellowstone National Park
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Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming was the world’s first national park. Established in 1872, it is still the largest park at 2.2 million acres. Visitors will be in awe of the panoramic views, spewing geysers from among 10,000 thermal activities, and epic waterfalls.
The park also offers lush seasonal landscapes of lakes, rivers and streams, forests, mountains and meadows, and abundant wildlife. Must-see places include the areas of Canyon Village, Lake Village, West Yellowstone, Mammoth Hot Springs, Norris, Old Faithful, and Tower-Roosevelt. Activities like hiking, camping, biking, boating, skiing, snowshoeing, fishing, horseback riding, and wildlife viewing entertain individuals and families year-round.
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Jackson, Wyoming, sits at an elevation of over 6,000 feet. The town’s central hub, George Washington Memorial Park, better known as Town Square, is recognizable by four arched elk antler entrances.
Besides the restaurants, cafés, art galleries, spas, and shops that surround the park, there are carriage rides and staged Old West shootouts here too. During the summer, visitors can ride horses, bike, hike, rock climb, and boulder. The Snake River runs through town and provides kayaking, fishing, floating, and white water rafting experiences. During the winter, downhill and cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling reign. Next read: 25 Best Things to Do in Jackson Hole, Wyoming
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Cody, Wyoming is the namesake of town founder William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, frontiersman and showman. Like many scenic Wyoming towns, outdoor activities are the main draw. Visitors can hike, fish, raft, rock climb, and camp during summer, and ice climb during winter.
Must-see natural attractions near Cody include Buffalo Bill Dam and Reservoir, Absaroka Mountain Range, Beartooth Mountain Range, Heart Mountain in Bighorn Basin, and Yellowstone National Park. In town, guests will be impressed by the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, a complex of museums with a research library. The complex is also home to Stampede Park, the self-proclaimed rodeo capital of the world. Things to Do in Cody
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In Cheyenne, Wyoming’s capital, visitors can begin their trip at the historic Cheyenne Depot & Museum; it’s a tourist hotspot and home to the city’s Visitor Center. For an overview of the area, the Cheyenne Street Railway Trolley offers a narrated historic city tour.
Other major attractions around Cheyenne include the Curt Gowdy State Park for salmon and trout fishing, Vedauwoo Recreation Area for hiking or biking among ancient rock formations, and Cheyenne Botanic Gardens, which is both inspirational and educational. Must-see highlights in the area include the Terry Bison Ranch, the Bit-O-Wyo Ranch trail rides and cowboy dinner shows, and the 10-day Cheyenne Frontier Days outdoor rodeo.
5.Places to Visit in Wyoming: Casper
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Casper, Wyoming, is known as an outpost to the Old West. During westward expansion, Casper provided respite for travelers headed to Oregon and California. Today, Old West culture still thrives with western wear shops, western themed restaurants, an active rodeo scene, and the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center.
Sportsmen will appreciate fishing the North Platte River for brown and rainbow trout, or hunting deer, antelope, pheasant, and duck. City slickers are drawn to area championship golf courses, local theater, the symphony, and a vibrant restaurant scene. Nature lovers will enjoy a trip to Casper Mountain for downhill and cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling.
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Thermopolis, Wyoming, offers unforgettable family summer vacations with two of the best reasons to visit – thermal pools and dinosaurs. Visitors of the Wyoming Dinosaur Center get a chance to see one-of-a-kind dinosaur exhibits, and take tours of active dig sites. Some can even participate in digging with the Dig for a Day Program.
Hot Springs State Park provides visitors with gorgeous views of colorful cascade terraces, a free bath house for the whole family to enjoy, and a swinging bridge offering great views. Other activities in and around Thermopolis include viewing nearly 300 petroglyphs at Legend Rock Petroglyph Site, a Wyoming Whiskey Distillery Tour, and a two-day DINOmite Loop Tour.
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Rock Springs is located in the high desert of Southwestern Wyoming. Visitors enjoying coming to Rock Springs for hunting and fishing vacations, off-roading trips, and golfing getaways. The small city is home to Rock Springs Family Recreation Center and the popular Wataha Recreation Complex.
Sweetwater County Events Complex in Rock Springs hosts the national high school rodeo finals, the Red Desert Roundup Rodeo, and the Mountain States Circuit pro rodeo finals. Wyoming’s Big Show, the county fair, is held here each summer. Nearby natural attractions include area hiking and mountain biking trails, Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Loop Tour, and White Mountain Petroglyphs.
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8.Places to Visit in Wyoming: Buffalo
Historic Buffalo, Wyoming, is a symbol of Old West heritage tucked away in the Bighorn Mountain foothills. Buffalo is at the eastern end of the 47-mile Cloud Peak Skyway Scenic Byway that runs through Bighorn National Forest and the Bighorn Mountains to the town of Ten Sleep.
History buffs will appreciate over a dozen buildings in town which are on the National Register of Historic Places, including the 1880 Occidental Hotel where the protagonist in the western novel, The Virginian, caught his man. Visitors can view over 15,000 Old West artifacts at the Jim Gatchell Museum, and visit the nearby Hole-in-the-Wall Outlaw Hideout of the Sundance Kid, and the Wild Bunch.
9.Grand Teton National Park
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Grand Teton National Park in northwestern Wyoming is located between Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Yellowstone National Park. In the popular Moose District, visitors can hike or drive through scenic areas, or visit popular places such as the park Visitor Center, Mormon Row and Menor’s Ferry Historic District, Murie Ranch, Death Canyon, and three mountain lakes. Teton peaks are the highlight of the Jenny Lake area.
Visitors to Colter Bay will discover mountain lakes, Snake River, Flagg Ranch, and Colter Bay Visitor Center. Laurance Rockefeller Preserve offers visitors a place of solitude to connect with nature. Camping is available throughout the park for all, from RV vacationers to rugged backpackers.
201 Headquarters Loop Moose, WY, Phone: 307-739-3300
10.Wyoming Destinations: Yellowstone Lake
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Yellowstone Lake is located inside Yellowstone National Park. The 136-acre lake is the largest high-elevation lake in the country and is known for excellent cutthroat trout fishing. Wildlife lovers will enjoy elk sightings near Fishing Bridge, Bridge Bay, and Pelican Creek. Grizzly bear sightings are frequent along streams feeding Yellowstone Lake.
Swimming in the alpine lake is not recommended because of water temperatures, and canoeing and kayaking are also dangerous due to rough water conditions. Lake Village provides visitors with a store and restaurants, and Lake Yellowstone Hotel & Cabins offers historic Colonial accommodations. Hiking trails are on the lake’s southern and eastern sides.
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Ten Sleep acquired its name by being “ten sleeps” between two Sioux camps. This cattle and sheep ranching town sits at the western end of the 47-mile Cloud Peak Skyway Scenic Byway that runs through Bighorn National Forest and the Bighorn Mountains to Buffalo, Wyoming. This is the place to experience dude ranching at its finest.
Other popular activities include rock and mountain climbing, horseback riding, hiking, boating, and four-wheeling. During winter, visitors can snowmobile, ski, snowboard, and ice climb. The Bighorn Mountains are visible from Thermopolis to Shell Creek at Signal Cliff, a historic point for Native American smoke signals.
12.Places to Visit in Wyoming: Sheridan
In the shadow of the Bighorn Mountain Range, Sheridan, Wyoming, provides visitors with a balance between an Old West experience and modern-day amenities. Nearby Indian War battle sites like Rosebud Battlefield, and the Battle of Little Bighorn National Monument provide glimpses into the past.
The weeklong Sheridan WYO Rodeo, and First People’s Pow Wow & Dance in July are wildly popular. The Trail End State Historic Site reveals the life of wealthy ranchers at the turn of the 20th century. Visitors can share a beer with local cowboys at the 1907 Mint Bar, take a horse and carriage ride, or experience a cattle drive at a guest ranch.
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Lander is a small town in Wyoming, established in 1884, with a population of just over 7,000. Visitors to this town can enjoy a wide range of outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, fishing, horseback riding, and more.
It also boasts a few cultural attractions such as the Lander Art Center that features eight rotating exhibits each year, and the Lander Children’s Museum, great for kids 12 and under with various exhibits in math, science, art, music, and reading. Visitors can also check out the Lander Historic District with unique shopping opportunities, the Grand Theater, and monuments like the Bucking Horse and Rider statue.
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Dubois, Wyoming, is said to be “one of the last real Western towns” in the nation. The local wildlife and natural areas are one of the highlights, since it’s positioned between two amazing mountain ranges – Wind River and the Absarokas. Visitors will get glimpses of deer, bighorn sheep, wolves, eagles, falcons, and mountain bluebirds among lupine wildflowers, cactus flowers, and Indian paintbrushes.
Its historic roots provide a variety of local attractions and Native American treasures such as Petroglyphs at the Whisky Basin trailhead, the Cowboy Cafe, and the Dubois Museum. Outdoor activities are abundant throughout the year, from off-roading and fishing to dog sledding and Nordic skiing.
15.Things to Do in Wyoming: Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
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The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone in Yellowstone National Park has long been thought of as the most magnificent part of the park. The canyon, forged by rhyolite lava flow, faulting, and heat, is 20 miles long with a maximum width of 4,000 feet, and a depth of 1,200 feet.
There are hot springs, active geysers, and three majestic waterfalls – Lower Falls, Crystal Falls, and Upper Falls. The canyon’s rocks have continuously been changed over thousands of years turning their coloring to red, pink, yellow, and white, and providing picturesque formations. Thomas Moran, a 19th century painter, described the canyon best when he said, “Its beautiful tints were beyond the reach of human art.”
16.Devils Tower National Monument
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Devils Tower National Monument is a geologic wonder that juts out of a rolling prairie neighboring the Black Hills. It is a sacred monument to the Lakota tribe as well as twenty additional affiliated tribes. It is most known for being one of the best traditional crack climbing areas on the continent.
The Tower features several natural, secluded hiking trails, as well as the Tower Trail, a 1.3-mile paved circle at the base of the monument. Round out your visit to the Devils Tower by seeing the Circle of Sacred Smoke sculpture, scrambling the boulder field, and stopping by the Visitor’s Center to check out the interpretive exhibits, and cultural and history programs.
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17.Upper Geyser Basin
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The Upper Basin in Yellowstone National Park is known for having the largest population of geysers, including some of the biggest in the world. Among them is the most notable of all – Old Faithful Geyser, which erupts the most consistently and frequently.
There are four additional large geysers to check out: Daisy, Castle, Grand, and Riverside. For the best chance to see them erupt, visit the Old Faithful Visitors Center to get daily prediction times. There are hundreds more geysers and hot springs, plus a Morning Glory Pool, unique observation points, and asphalt and dirt trails all along the Firehole River.
18.Grand Prismatic Spring
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The Grand Prismatic Spring is located in the Midway Geyser Basin. It is the largest hot spring in Yellowstone Park at 370 feet wide and over 120 feet deep. Its natural core temperature is 160 degrees Fahrenheit. The most spectacular thing about this spring is its ever-changing colors.
During the summer months its outer edge features reds and oranges, during the winter it naturally changes to a stunning holiday green. The pool’s interior remains a sparkling azure blue which provides a striking contrast to the edges. Visitors can view the spring by hiking the Fairy Falls trail, or walking the 0.8-mile boardwalk that passes Excelsior Geyser.
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19.Things to Do in Wyoming: Laurance Rockefeller Preserve
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The Laurance Rockefeller Preserve offers a variety of activities beginning at the Preserve Center, where visitors can learn about Mr. Rockefeller’s vision for the preserve. Audio recordings of his ideas on conservation, high-definition nature videos, a soundscape room, and large-scale photos all help depict his ideals.
Daily activities are offered through the center such as sunrise and evening walks, and guided hikes to Phelps Lake. Visitors can also hike the 8-mile trail network which features views of the Teton Range, Phelps Lake, and Death Canyon. Scenic drives from Moose to Teton Village provide views of forests, wetlands, and wildlife.
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20.Bridger-Teton National Forest
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The Bridger-Teton National Forest is just under 3.5 acres of land encompassing a great quantity of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in Western Wyoming. It has immeasurable wildlands, untouched watersheds, and abundant wildlife. Visitors will enjoy the more than 3,000 miles of trails and roads, pristine rivers and streams, and stunning wilderness.
The Periodic Springs located within the forest are a rare find, and one of only a few that exist. These springs have intermittent water flows lasting from 4 to 25 minutes and releasing just under 300 gallons per second. The Snake River Canyon is another gem famed for its peculiar geology, clear waters, and various outdoor adventure opportunities.
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21.Bighorn National Forest
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The Bighorn Mountains are the sister range to the Rockies and offer the most diversified landscape in the region. Visitors will find everything from grasslands to prairies, clear lakes to glacially sculpted canyons, and small hills to steep mountain walls.
There are more than 100 miles of scenic byways, multiple reservoirs, miles of streams, acres of forest, and a plethora of trails. Bighorn National Forest has more than 30 campgrounds and cabins, several scenic drives, picnic areas, and observation areas to experience. There are numerous outdoor recreation activities, from hiking, fishing, bicycling, and swimming to hunting, horseback riding, off-roading, and more.
22.Things to Do in Wyoming: National Elk Refuge
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The National Elk Refuge consists of almost 25,000 acres of intermountain valley featuring grassy meadows, rolling hills, and marshes in the Jackson Hole area of Northwestern Wyoming. The refuge also has several acres of forested areas with stunning Douglas firs, aspen, and Lodgepole Pine along the picturesque Gros Ventre River.
The varied wilderness offers excellent habitats for animals native to the area like the nationally significant Jackson Elk herd, various endangered species, several big game animals, birds, and fish. Bald Eagles, Trumpeter Swans, bison, and wolves are just a few of the other animals the National Elk Refuge provides for and preserves.
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23.Castle Gardens Petroglyph Site
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Castle Gardens Petroglyph Site is located in central Wyoming, and is known for its unusual formations. Visitors have been drawn to this locale for thousands of years due to the windblown sandstone creations that are reminiscent of the turrets and towers of castles.
The area is filled with Native American rock art, better known as petroglyphs, specifically featuring the Castle Gardens Shield Style. These are the oldest and most well-known illustrations of shield-bearing warrior figures, and have been characterized as “elaborate” and “carefully made” figures. The unusual technique and distinguished style are what make them unique to Wind River and Bighorn Basin.
24.Thunder Basin National Grassland
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Located between the Bighorn Mountains and the Black Hills in Northwestern Wyoming, is the vast Thunder Basin National Grassland. It’s a shortgrass pasture with woody vegetation along rivers allowing cattle and sheep grazing to continue to this day.
This is an excellent locale for hiking, fishing, and hunting as well as sightseeing. There are no set campground areas however visitors are allowed to camp in scattered areas. The adjacent Medicine Bow and Routt National Forests provide guests with opportunities to engage in additional outdoor recreational activities like climbing, horseback riding, off-roading, swimming, kayaking, and bicycling to name a few.
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25 Best Places to Visit in Wyoming
- Yellowstone National Park, Photo: Courtesy of Brad Pict - Fotolia.com
- Jackson, Photo: Courtesy of Michael - Fotolia.com
- Cody, Photo: Courtesy of Brad Pict - Fotolia.com
- Cheyenne, Photo: Courtesy of David Gilder - Fotolia.com
- Places to Visit in Wyoming: Casper, Photo: Courtesy of Zack Frank - Fotolia.com
- Thermopolis, Photo: Courtesy of Sascha Burkard - Fotolia.com
- Rock Springs, Photo: Rock Springs
- Places to Visit in Wyoming: Buffalo, Photo: Buffalo
- Grand Teton National Park, Photo: Courtesy of Eric - Fotolia.com
- Wyoming Destinations: Yellowstone Lake, Photo: Courtesy of Photos By Ev - Fotolia.com
- Ten Sleep, Photo: Courtesy of jkraft5 - Fotolia.com
- Places to Visit in Wyoming: Sheridan, Photo: Sheridan
- Lander, Photo: Courtesy of Ronnie Howard - Fotolia.com
- Dubois, Photo: Courtesy of gerda 1201 - Fotolia.com
- Things to Do in Wyoming: Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Photo: Courtesy of Fyle - Fotolia.com
- Devils Tower National Monument, Photo: Courtesy of sframe - Fotolia.com
- Upper Geyser Basin, Photo: Courtesy of benny marty - Fotolia.com
- Grand Prismatic Spring, Photo: Courtesy of lucky photo - Fotolia.com
- Things to Do in Wyoming: Laurance Rockefeller Preserve, Photo: Courtesy of Krzysztof Wiktor - Fotolia.com
- Bridger-Teton National Forest, Photo: Courtesy of Zack Frank - Fotolia.com
- Bighorn National Forest, Photo: Courtesy of brad dailey - Fotolia.com
- Things to Do in Wyoming: National Elk Refuge, Photo: Courtesy of CE Photography - Fotolia.com
- Castle Gardens Petroglyph Site, Photo: Courtesy of wollertz - Fotolia.com
- Thunder Basin National Grassland, Photo: Courtesy of tdezenzio - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of jfunk - Fotolia.com