Must Do Things in Wyoming
Wyoming is the ultimate outdoorsman's paradise – sparsely populated, green, rugged, wild, and full of tribal history, ranches, cowboys, and rodeos. And then there is Yellowstone with its geothermal magic and Grand Teton National Park, both world famous for their nature and wildlife, the likes of grizzlies, golden eagles, wolves, bison, elk, moose, and black bears. Wyoming visitors are invited to enjoy gorges, hot springs, little prairie towns, first settlers museums, and Wyoming's historic capital Cheyenne. The state is most famous for outdoor adventures – hiking, biking, boating, climbing, fishing, camping, and winter sports. It seems that it has it all and too much to see and do for just one vacation.
With so many activities you will need weeks to thoroughly experience Wyoming, but if you can't devote that much time to this beautiful state, do at least a few of these:
1. Yellowstone National Park
This is the first and the oldest such park in the world. In addition to geothermal pools and geysers of every color of the rainbow, visitors are awed by herds of bison, grizzly and black bears, wolves, elk, moose, antelope, bald eagles, and trumpeter swans that can't be found in such abundance anywhere else in the world.
The park was established in 1872, covers 300,000 acres, and is a wonderland for everything water related – geysers, bubbling mud pots, hot springs, lakes, rivers, and waterfalls. Visitors can drive all over the park during warm months, but consider hiking and taking in all the beauty from up close. The absolute must see attractions are Old Faithful Geyser, Yellowstone Lake, and Lower Falls.
2. Grand Teton National Park
The park is crowned by rugged mountain peaks and is a true gem. The Teton Mountain Range was created millions of years ago with 12 peaks that reach impressive heights of 12,000 feet. The tallest, Grand Teton is standing at 13,770 feet above sea level. Here you will find over 300 bird species, 60 species of mammals, and abundant fresh water fish. The park is overrun with wildlife enthusiasts, photographers, kayakers, bikers, and hikers during summer. The park is partially closed in winter due to heavy snow. The best way to explore it is by hiking.
The historic town is located in the valley right by Grand Teton National Park and embodies the rustic spirit of the West with its museums, wooden structures, boardwalks, and cozy downtown. The town is a gateway to Grand Teton National Park and a stop on the way to Yellowstone Park. Visitors enjoy National Elk Refuge, National Museum of Wildlife Art, floating down Snake River, fishing, skiing down Snow Kind Mountain, and summer sports and concerts at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort at Teton Village, which is a beautiful resort town with restaurants, pools, shopping, golf, horseback riding, hiking, and skiing in winter.
4. Hot Springs State Park
The park features largest in the world single mineral hot spring. People come here to relax and enjoy natural bathhouses, such as State Bath House where the water from Big Spring is always perfect at 104 degrees. You can see bison here, enjoy hiking, petroglyphs, summer flower gardens, and water activities on Bighorn River.
5. Bridger-Teton National Forest
The forest is 3.4 million acres of wilderness. All the forest includes three Wilderness Areas:
- The Bridger Wilderness – Wind River Mountains, glaciers, and Wyoming's highest point Gannett Peak
- The Teton Wilderness – wildlife habitat for bison, grizzlies, and wolves
- Gros Ventre Wilderness – amazing geological formations and Gros Ventre Slide from 1925
Visitors enjoy hiking, fishing, biking, hunting, skiing, and mountaineering.
6. The Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody
5 amazing museums are located here since 1917, where you can relive most of the American history in one place:
- Buffalo Bill Museum – about life of legendary American soldier Buffalo Bill Cody
- Cody Firearms Museum – a huge collection of vintage and modern firearms from all over the world
- Draper Museum of Natural History – Wyoming wildlife and geology exhibits an artifacts
- Plains Indian Museum – interactive exhibits about prairies' original inhabitants and their culture
- Whitney Gallery of Western Art – Wild West themed artworks by Frederic Remington, Charles Russell, and George Catlin
There are also very famous rodeo grounds for the best cowboys of the West close to the center, where all kinds of action can be observed every summer.
7. Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area
This area offers spectacular views and bright red sandstone cliffs for all nature lovers. The river that goes through this gorge is Green River, which feeds Flaming Gorge Reservoir and offers plenty of water for boating, fishing, swimming, camping, and kayaking. On the top of the Gorge you will find beautiful views along the Canyon Rim Trail, so have your camera ready.
8. Casper National Historic Trails Interpretive Center
This place is a lot more than a simple museum – visitors can trace the history of pioneers in America's West through interactive exhibitions, dioramas, and multimedia presentations. You will get to learn about the first settlers of Wyoming, mountain men and fur trappers, the Oregon Trail, the Mormon Trail, the California Trail, and the Pony Express route.
9. Fort Laramie National Historic Site
This area has been a fort for a long time and also a private fur-trading post. It played an important role for the first settlers and during Plains Indian Wars. All 214 acres of it became a national monument in 1938 by President Roosevelt. You should start your tour at the visitor center and then continue through restored buildings and hundreds of artifacts.
10. Devil's Tower National Monument
This flat top volcano rises to impressive 1,200 feet in the middle of plain landscape of Wyoming's eastern plains and is stunning inside and out. Visit the Devil's Tower Visitor Center to learn about its origins and also about people who lived around it for centuries. There are 8 miles of trails around it that go through forests and meadows offering great views. Spring and summer are the best times for wildflower shows. People love to do some rock climbing in the area, while fishermen enjoy angling in Belle Fourche River for bullhead, catfish, and walleye.
The Wyoming capital city is called so after Cheyenne Indians and was once the largest United States Cavalry outpost. Today it's all about historic sites, rodeos, and museums. Cheyenne 10 day Frontier Days Rodeo is taking place every July since 1919 and is a spectacle worth coming here for. Once you're there visit Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum, Wyoming State Capitol Building, Wyoming State Museum, and Cheyenne Depot Museum with its close by Big Boy locomotive steam engine, ready to impress big and small.
12. Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
Red cliffs and red river create beautiful scenery at Wyoming and Montana border. Devil's Canyon Overlook is the most photographed place in the area, which is also famous for hiking, camping, visiting ranches, and trout fishing, boating, and swimming at Bighorn Lake. On the 27 miles of hiking trails visitors can see biggest herds of wild horses in America running alongside bears, eagles, and bighorn sheep. It's definitely a nature lover's paradise!
13. Fossil Butte National Monument
For every fossil enthusiast this is a bucket list worthy kind of place – the area has lots of hiking trails with wayside exhibits with fossils, plants, and wildlife. Visitors also love horseback riding and picnicking in the nature.
14. University of Wyoming Geological Museum
Come here to meet dinosaur and prehistoric animal fossils for the ultimate history lesson of Wyoming. You will definitely be awed by 75-foot skeleton of Brontosaurus in the exhibit hall and get a deeper understanding of our place in Earth's past and present through the museum's exhibits.