One of the least populated states of the US, Wyoming, boasts natural landscapes with giant snow-covered mountains and is home to various natural wonders. Besides sightseeing, it has one of the best outdoor recreational activities like skiing, hiking, kayaking, and fishing. It’s a place where you can spot cowboys’ farmlands and see people catering to their flocks or get to listen to a rich tribal tale. The place is rustic, rugged, and wonderful.
From a historical perspective, one of the fascinating things about the state is its rich civil rights history. The state is known to be the first to have given voting rights to women back in 1869, as is often referred to as the Equality State.
Besides having two national parks: Yellow Stone Park and Grand Teton National Park, nature’s great wonders, Wyoming is home to twelve state parks, four wildlife refuges, and four national forests. It is also a haven for a great diversity of wildlife. You can witness nature’s incredible rock formations, such as the famous Devil’s Tower, or go skiing or hiking at its finest ski resorts. If you are a person with tastes that align more towards calming, natural scenic beauty, outdoor adventures, and have a desire for wildlife, and rural cowboy setting, then it is your must-visit place.
Attractions not to miss in Wyoming
We have assembled fifteen attractions that you mustn’t miss in your tour to Wyoming.
1. Yellowstone National Park
Famous for having an astonishingly jaw-dropping natural landscape, Yellow National Park, established in 1872, is the oldest and first National Park. While visiting this park, keep in mind that you will be exposed to great experiences, from seeing cascades falling into deep gorges, flowing rivers and streams, to witnessing gushing geysers. The park offers a diverse ecosystem to explore. Some of the park’s attractions that you should not miss include Yellowstone lake, Tower-Roosevelt, Lower Falls, Norris, Hot Springs, and the famous Old Faithful.
The Myriad of wildlife abounds here, including gray wolves, antelope, elk, grizzly, black bears, eagles, and swans. So rest assured you will be catching sight of some of the exquisite wild animals. To appreciate the park, you can go hiking trails that extend over a vast area or make your overall experience more adventurous and thrilling. You can stay in the campgrounds that offer stunningly beautiful scenic views. The park covers an area of around 2.2 million acres and is the largest park that attracts more than three million visitors each year. It is a perfect place for sightseeing, indulging in recreational activities, and having the time of your life because the park is a sight to behold.
2. Grand Teton National Park
The park is famous for its vast mountain ranges formed by the natural phenomena of the earth’s crust millions of years ago, giving rise to mountains more than 12,000 feet high range, and the highest among them is Grand Teton, having a colossal height of 13,770 feet. The park was established in 1929, sits just 10 miles away from the Yellowstone National Park, and is home to diverse and numerous wildlife.
More than 60 species of mammals 300 species of birds, including bison, moose, and Elk, are seen here. So you have a pretty good chance to catch a glimpse of some of the wild animals whose beauty will leave you in wonder at the marvels of nature. The park also offers many hiking trails and camping grounds, so to enjoy your stay here, make sure to put your hiking shoes in your packing bags. While sightseeing and hiking at various trails, you can also bring your photography cameras along and take some spectacular shots of the place.
3. Hot Springs State Park
Located near Thermopolis, and centered around the largest hot spring, Hot Springs State Park is a great tourists attraction where you can soak in the gushing water coming from the springs, indoors or outdoors, depending on your preference. The water flowing from the hot springs is of a temperature of 134 degrees Fahrenheit. The park has various spots where you can witness water coming from these springs and flowing over the landscapes; the sight is magnificent to see. Early settlers, native American tribes, and mountain men considered the hot mineral springs a great blessing due to their natural healing qualities.
The fresh hot water is supplied to various bathhouses, spa resorts, and outdoor water parks, so you have plenty of options to choose from. The well-known three pools include The Wyoming State Bath House, Hellie’s TePee, and Star Plunge. Here while immersing yourself in hot, steaming water, you can repose and let yourself feel the serenity of the place. It is a favorite family spot, and if you want more, there are hiking trails and flower gardens in the area.
4. Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area
The Flaming Gorge area extends from the southwest side of Wyoming and stretches over to the northeast region of Utah. In 1869, John Wesley Powell and his men sailed off from the Green River Wyoming to explore Colorado rivers. After completing their journey, he and his men saw the sun’s reflection on the red rocks, and he named it Flaming Gorge. Red Canyon Vista and Visitor Center sit above the gorge and provide stunning views of the gorge. Prehistoric fossils are also often found here, and some of the red rocks have petroglyphs.
The Flaming Gorge Reservoir is formed by impounding the water of the Green River and extends over ninety-one miles to the north. It provides recreational activities like water-skiing, parasailing, rafting, swimming, kayaking, and fishing. Fishing is particularly famous because trophy lake trout, kokanee salmon, smallmouth bass, and brown trout abound in the Reservoir. It also has hiking and camping grounds. The hiking trails go through the meadows, slopes, and mountains, providing a panoramic view of the surrounding area.
5. Bridger-Teton National Forest
Outside of Alaska, the third-largest national forest stretching over 3.4 million acres, The Bridger Teton National Forest is home to three wilderness areas: The Bridger Wilderness, The Teton Wilderness, and Gros Ventre Wilderness. Abundant wildlife is found here, and besides seeing the extraordinary natural beauty of some of the highest peaks that the wilderness boasts, such as Gannett Peak, the forest also showcases exceptional geological features, providing a luxurious experience of real wildlands.
Trails extending over 3000 miles open the spectacular beauty of rivers, streams, mountains, and rugged wilderness. The place is perfect for hiking, ski touring, hunting, and fishing. Developed campgrounds provide picnic tables, food storage boxes, campfire grills, restrooms, water facilities, garbage services, etc. The periodic springs, famous for being rare and few in existing flows in irregular intervals lasting between 4 to 25 minutes and pouring out 300 gallons per second, is a rare jewel to behold in the forest.
6. National Historic Trails Interpretive Center
Suppose you are up to experience American history in chronological order. In that case, you get the feeling that you are gone back in time, then you should have in your list Nation Historic Trails and Interpretive Center. It is not just a museum. The place reinterprets the importance of historic trails in American history. The trails include California Trail, Pony Express Route, The Oregon Trail, and The Mormon Trail. The museum also showcases through presentations and dioramas the history of the early settlers.
To have an interest in history is a plus for people visiting this place, but you need not be an enthusiastic history lover to enjoy the site. Kids will be fascinated seeing some of the simulated things such as prairie schooner, and not just that, they will also get to watch movies showing stories of the mountain men. When you visit this place, do not forget to see the spectacular views of Casper.
7. The Wind River Range
Another breathtakingly beautiful natural scenery-filled place, The Wind River Range, extending over an area of 2.2 million acres, has everything nature-wise beautiful that you need to have an adventurous wildness experience. It has three wilderness areas: Shoshone and Bridger-Teton, two national forests; and Bridger, Fitzpatrick, Popo Agie. The place is embellished with snow-capped mountains, glacier-carved landscapes, and the blooming wildflowers add to the stunning alpine meadows.
Having over 40 peaks over 13000 feet in altitude and home to seven of the largest glaciers, the place offers plenty of options to explore the majestic beauty through hiking trails. Whether you prefer outdoor camping or commercial lodging, The Wind River Range has all the options you need. Some suitable campgrounds with all the necessary amenities can be found in Dubois, Shoshoni, Riverton, and Lander. The place is also famous as a fishing spot because many fish are abundantly found here, including trout, mackinaw, grayling, and many others. Fly fishing and ice fishing are some of the popular ones. That is not all. You can go water skiing, jet skiing, rafting, canoeing, or kayaking.
8. Fort Laramie National Historic Site
Significantly important historical site, Fort Laramie was the first garrisoned post, and during the plains Indian wars, it was also an important military post. In 1938, the area was announced by President Roosevelt as a national monument. To get the full, satisfying tour, start from the visitor center, and here an audio-visual presentation will be displayed elaborating the history and significance of the site. Other than that, you will also see exhibitions of historical artifacts such as weapons and soldiers’ uniforms.
After the visitor’s center, you will be entering the restored buildings, which will give you a broader view of the lives of soldiers, how they lived, where they ate, etc. There are several restored buildings that you can visit, such as a general store, medical quarters, post office. Most of the people visiting the place take a self-guided tour. However, guided tours are also available in summer. And as you walk around the building, dressed volunteers will give you a fuller experience of the historic site.
9. Devils Tower
Devils Tower is one of the most visited places, a geological marvel. It was proclaimed By President Roosevelt to be a National Monument in 1906. Fun facts, the tower was an alien landing site in the 1977 movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It is considered sacred by the local American tribes, especially the Lakota people, and they call the tower by names such as Mythic-Owl Mountain, Bear Lodge, and Ghost Mountain. Ceremonies are conducted around the tower every year, and prayers are offered. At the height of 1200 feet above Wyoming’s eastern plains, this monument is a sight to behold. At Devils Tower’s Visitor Center, you will get to see exhibitions detailing the history of the area, people, and the formation of this rock from a volcanic eruption.
To get a better view of the place, you should go hiking on the trails extending over eight miles which circle the monument and provide you a panoramic view. The trails wind through the forest and meadows, which have abundant wildlife. Other recreational activities you can enjoy here are rock climbing and fishing in Belle Fourche.
10. The Buffalo Bill Center of the West
The Buffalo Bill Centre has five distinct museums showcasing different themes of American history. In the Buffalo Bill Museum, artifacts from the life of the legendary American soldier Buffalo Bill Cody are displayed. In Cody Firearms Museum, a massive collection of firearms worldwide is on display. In the Draper Museum of Natural History, you will learn a great deal about the geology and wildlife of Wyoming. In the Plain Indian Museum, the history and culture of the earliest inhabitants are exhibited. Lastly, in Whitney Gallery of Western Art, you will be exposed to the world of art. The art collection includes the works of famous artists such as George Catlin, Frederic Remington, and Charles Russell.
11. National Elk Refuge
In Jackson Hole, National Elk Refuge was built to preserve the Elk herd in 1912. To old immemorial time, Elk used to roam freely around the North American continent, gazing in valleys, Foothills, and grasslands. As their lands were taken, they eventually migrated towards the mountainous areas. People living nearby, especially in the Jackson Hole, knowing their presence on the mountainous west, started visiting them using sleighs. The interest in animals and using sleighs to see them became a trend that sleigh rides became popular, and sleighs ride tours were opened to the public.
Nearly one million people visit the refuge each year. In your tour, you might get to see other wild animals as well, such as bighorn sheep, deer, moose, bison, voles, coyotes, beaver, badgers, etc. You may also spot some birds like eagles, ducks, hawks, trumpeter swans, among others. On your tour to the place, make sure you wear some warm clothes. The weather seems much colder during sleigh rides, also cold winds and windstorms can come anymore, so it is better to choose some hot clothes.
12. Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve
Owned by John D. Rockefeller Jr., Laurence Rockefeller Preserve is located along the Moose Wilson Road and extends over 1100 acres. You should start your visit from the Preserve Center, where you will learn a great deal about nature, wildlife, and the preserve’s history. There are various exhibitions utilizing visual, auditory, and tactile senses. A poem by Terry Tempest Williams adorns the wall, welcoming visitors to experience the preserve on many levels. Apart from that, there will be recordings of Rockefeller speaking about reservation, nature videos, photography, and a lot more that will expand your overall experience.
After exploring the Preserve Center, you can go hiking on the eight miles trails extending right from the center of the preserve. On your way, you can see Lake Creek, Philip Lake, and nearby Mountain ranges. The rangers of the preserve are a specialty. They provide you with a guided tour of the vicinity and offer many other programs, such as educational talks, guided hikes, and evening strolls. There are journaling activities for kids to explore nature using the backpack provided to them. The rangers give them a brief introduction before they tour the trails.
13. National Museum of Wildlife Art
Sits on the hillside overlooking the National Elf Refuge, the National Museum of Wildlife Art has in its possession more than 5000 artworks of wild animals from all over the globe. Some renowned artists whose works are on display include Carl Rungius, John James Audubon, Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol, and Robert Kuhn. The permanent collection displays wildlife from 2500BC to the present. The museum also has a gift shop, cafe, and interactive children’s gallery, so there will be a lot more than you can do while visiting there.
The museum’s architecture seems to be a part of the art itself. It is constructed so that architecture and landscape are merged, making it difficult to distinguish one from the other. The Sculpture Trail includes fine art of wild animals such as bronze moose, Elk, bighorn sheep, and bison, which the passers-by mistake as being real.
The famous Sculpture Trail designed by architect Walter Hood gives a unique blend of outstanding natural and artistic beauty. The trails run from Bart Walter’s Wapiti Trail and the sage-covered hillside. The Sculpture Trail features fine art wildlife sculptures that play with light and season to showcase constantly changing views.
14. Fossil Butte National Monument
The monument preserves a fossil butte, a small part of a fossil lake that existed millions of years ago. The water of the lack, which lacked scavengers, and fine sediments preserved the delicate prehistoric fossils. Unbelievably preserved fossils of 100 different insects, more than 20 species of fish, a great variety of plants, and other life-forms have been gouged out. The intact fossils provided valuable scientific data.
There are programs like Fossil Butte Quarry Program during summer where you can search for fossils collected for scientific data. Also, do not miss going on a tour of the Fossil Butte Visitor Centre, where you get to see over 300 fossils on exhibition. Other things to do at the place include sightseeing, grabbing a lunch, hiking, or participating in a ranger’s program.
15. Grand Targhee Ski Resort
Are you craving after a ski resort less crowded? Then, Grand Targhee Ski Resort is your ideal resort, famous for its light power snowfall of average 500′ inches. It is a less crowded family-friendly place with breathtakingly stunning views and remarkable terrains. It is a must-visit place. You can go for Grand Targhee Cat Skiing, an intermediate to advanced level skiing where you can ski over 602 acres of untracked powder while enjoying the spectacular views of the Teton mountains.
Apart from that, you can go snowshoeing along the Nordic trail or single-track trails. Make sure to have a reservation in advance. Targhee Nordic Trail System boasts stunning terrains, groomed trails, wildlife, and clean air to give you an experience of a lifetime. Two of the most beautiful Nordic trails are Quakie Ridge and Rick’s Basin. The trails system extends over 15km and meanders through wooded lands, scenic meadows, and aspen groves. Here you can also go for fat biking. Fun fact, Grand Targee resort was the first in the US to allow winter fat biking on the Nordic trail system. You can ride through The Core, Jolly Green Giants, The Rick’s Basin Trails, Hamster Loop, and Teton Canyon Trail.
We hope you enjoy your visit to the fullest and make sure you tick off all these must-visit places to create beautiful memories that you will cherish your whole life. Do not forget to pin down your experience visiting these spots in the comments section below.