Wyoming is known for its jagged peaks, vast expanses, cowboys and of course that little place called Yellowstone. But, Wyoming has so much more to offer than what you see on T.V. and read about in geography books.
There is plenty of beauty and intrigue in this tenth largest state that you may have not known about.
So, let’s discover what ‘the Equality State’ has to offer in this list of 12 interesting and beautiful places to visit in Wyoming.
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You know this one has to be at the top of the list. To visit it is to love it, and yes, it does live up to all the hype.
Home to 60% of the world’s geysers, there’s something superb about seeing boiling water spew from the core of the Earth. I know it’s not just me.
And let’s not forget the animals! Isn’t that one of the main reasons you want to go? Unspoiled and vast, this ecosystem supports a wide variety of animals that you can see in their natural habitat.
Have you ever been stopped in a bison traffic jam? When we were there last year, we learned quickly to check GPS to make sure there wasn’t a jam before we headed off into the park.
Yellowstone is everything you always heard and read and even more. It is a magical place that I could spend months in and even longer writing about. That’s why I consider it one of the best places to visit in Wyoming.
If Yellowstone is the Grandaddy of National Parks, Grand Teton is the Nana. In all their important patriarchal and matriarchal ways they command respect and awe. This is definitely something that Grand Teton National Park is. Awe-Inspiring!
In contrast to the flatter, more vertically challenged Yellowstone, Grand Teton boasts enough mountain for both parks. Driving from Yellowstone, the view of the Tetons will suddenly spring forth in an image that will burn in your memory forever. There’s just nothing like that first sight of the snowcaps.
Don’t think that you’re leaving the wildlife behind when you leave Yellowstone. More bison, elk, bears, moose and pronghorn are in store. Make sure you hit places such as Moose-Wilson Road and Moose Ponds for some easy viewing.
The hiking is amazing in this park, so ensure you have plenty of time to get a couple under your belt like Jenny Lake Loop or Taggart Lake Trail.
Grand Tetons is in my top three for favorite National Parks of all time, so you should certainly see what all the hype is about!
Devil’s Tower is one of those ancient sacred places that makes you feel as if you stepped into a church. The Lakota people have long found spiritual significance in this wonder of the world. The sacred site was once a place where vision quests and summer ceremonies would be held.
To walk around the “Bear’s tipi” or “Tree Rock” as the natives called it, is to walk among the prayers of a thousand years. You will often find prayer bundles tied around trees indicating that a loved one has been prayed for.
But, change brought about another appreciation for this giant pillar of old, and now Devil’s Tower is a national monument visited by hundreds of thousands of people a year. Some are intrigued by seeing the place that made a movie famous (70s Spielberg hit Close Encounters of the Third Kind was filmed here), while others simply want to photograph and be in its presence.
Whatever the reason is, it is remarkable and beautiful and this is definitely one of the most interesting places to see in Wyoming.
Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area
Not only is Flaming Gorge “GORGeous” (sorry, I couldn’t help myself), but if you like to get wet, this is your place!
Named by Major Wesley Powell who conquered the Green River, he thought the setting sun reflecting on the giant gorge walls made them look like they were in flames. The Fremont people of ancient days probably thought the same thing and you can see their thoughts in petroglyphs throughout the area.
But, if you are an avid trophy fisherman, this place will excite you. Thirty plus pound trophy trout are regularly caught in the gorge, know for its cool water and excellent habitat for supporting such monsterous fish. The record to date is fifty-one pounds, but many think there are even bigger guys out there.
If you like waterskiing, this is one of the best places in the country to see the scenery and conquer the glass-like water that is so prevalent at the gorge. You can also take a guided rafting or kayaking trip down the Green River that promises to be as thrilling as it is relaxing.
Come to the gorge and see why it’s one of the most fun places to go in Wyoming.
Carbon County Museum
The Carbon County Museum, in Rawlins, is not likely to be on many lists that you see in Wyoming. But it is one of the best little museums I’ve ever been to and is a hidden gem, due to its wild west history depicting the area and Big-Nose George.
Who is Big-Nose George, you ask? If you want to know the macabre story, it’s all in the museum, and it’s almost too crazy of a story to believe. Big-Nose George was a criminal that made a habit of robbing trains and stealing horses. After killing two law enforcements officers in 1878, he got to bragging about his endeavors and was arrested for murder. He was sentenced to hang, but an angry mobbed lynched him to death before the official hanging.
A ‘good’ doctor, Doctor John Osborne and an accomplice stole Big-Nose John’s body and used it to study the brain and what makes a criminal commit such deviant acts. But Doc Osborne had other intentions. He took the skin off of Big-Nose George’s chest and legs and decided to make a pair of shoes from it. But before landing in the museum for everyone to see, they would be worn by the doc while he became bank chairman, the largest sheep owner in the territory, and the first Democratic governor of the state of Wyoming (he even wore them to his inauguration).
Equal parts of disgust and curiosity battle in your brain as you peek and then look away from this unusual display. But, one thing is for sure. This is one Wyoming tourist attraction that you won’t want to miss.
National Elk Refuge
The National Elk Refuge is a stop that you have to make if you are in the Grand Tetons from December to April. Every year over 25,000 elk come to the refuge in search of warmer weather and food. The low lying grasslands provide both and also give people a chance to observe this wonderful animal in their natural habitat.
Take a once in a lifetime tour of the refuge by horse drawn sleigh and get up close. Not only will you see thousands of elk, but the chance to see other wildlife such a bald eagles, bison, big-horned sheep and even wolves.
An excursion at the Elk Refuge will be a memory you can make that will last a lifetime. This is certainly one of Wyoming’s best places to visit.
Hot Springs State Park
Any place that has hot springs is a place to be in my book. But, Hot Springs State Park rocks it, with hot springs, petroglyphs, wildflowers and a swinging bridge.
This is a diamond to visit if ever in the Thermopolis area. Walk among the hot springs and look at all of the interesting formations that have occurred over time due to the mineral content in the water.
You can also soak in the hot springs! There are four pools for your enjoyment. Some are quieter than others, but all are inviting and warm all year round. Come stop on your way to Yellowstone and get some rest and relaxation before your whirlwind trip in America’s favorite national park.
You could never come to Yellowstone and miss this Wyoming attraction. Being the number one attraction in the park, there will be crowds, and standing room can get tight around the geyser in the summer. But, when Old Faithful goes off as it does every 20 minutes, you can see it from anywhere is the area.
When my family and I last visited in Septmeber, we were disappointed when it began to rain cats and dogs a few minutes before the show began. But, to our surprise the shower was short lived and we were treated with a double rainbow over the geyser as it erupted a few minutes later. Talk about a stroke of luck! This will be a memory etched in my mind forever.
Wind River Range
The Wind River Range may be America’s best kept secret for the pioneering exploring type. Jagged rock, alpine meadows and forest and 101 hiking trails await you in the special place in the Rocky Mountains.
Hiking is at it’s finest here, where you can see seven of the ten largest glaciers in the lower 48 and 2,300 crystalline lakes and ponds. Now, if you like a hike with a pay-off, this is the right place!
Backcountry camping is for the serious outdoorsmen here. Trails lead to over 600 miles of an escape from the nearest town. So pack your backpack and get a move on to one of the best places to go in Wyoming.
Grand Targhee Resort
This is the best kept secret in Wyoming when it comes to ski resorts. Located in Driggs, one of my favorite towns in the west, Grand Targhee is a great alternative to Jackson Hole Ski Resort on the the other side of the Tetons.
If you want short lift lines, great runs and deeper fresh powder delivered almost everyday, this is your spot. You can stay at the lodge at Grand Targhee, or you can go down the mountain and stay in the cute little town of Driggs.
Wherever you decide to lay your head, Grand Targhee will be one of the best Wyoming vacation spots you’ve ever been.
Cheyenne Frontier Days
For ten days in July, Wyoming’s capital of Cheyenne doubles in population from its normal 60,000 people to 120,000, because of the onslaught of visitors that come to partake in this western tradition that’s been celebrated since 1897.
Cheyenne Frontier days isn’t an ordinary festival. Frontier Park, where the festival is celebrated, transforms into a place to learn the history of the west, buy handmade goods that artisans have for sale in droves, concerts that attract national attention, costumes paraded up and down the park and the rodeo. We can’t forget about the rodeo.
The largest and oldest outdoor rodeo isn’t just your ordinary rodeo, but nine days of bull stomping and clown antics that is something you’ll have to see to believe. But, you better hurry fast, because tickets are a hot commodity and they go fast.
Come explore Cheyenne and discover why it’s one of the most fun places to go in Wyoming.
Terry Bison Ranch
If you haven’t had your fill of bison in Yellowstone and the Tetons, this is a great place to come located right outside Cheyenne. You can get up close and personal with these beautiful beasts and learn why they are so important to the delicate ecosystem of the west.
Ride the Bison Train and see the hordes of bison that live on the ranch, or if you need more speed in your life, tour by ATV. There are also pony rides and horseback riding adventures for the taking if you like being on a four-legged friendly beast.
If you’re hungry there are three establishments to fill your belly.
Senator’s Steakhouse and Saloon, gives you the feeling of the old west and you can chomp down on “Dirty Dan’s” Bison Meatloaf, or go old school and gorge on the 10 oz. Ribeye Special. The Cafe and the grill are a good option if time isn’t n your side. But, either way you won’t leave hungry.
Anyway you slice it, Terry Bison Ranch is one of Wyoming’s best places to visit!
Did we miss any of your favorite places in Wyoming?
Let us know in the comments if there are anymore places in Wyoming you’d like to see on our list!