Wyoming is one of the most visited and most beautiful of the 50 states. Home to Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park, this is the best of wild and natural America.
It’s a mecca for nature lovers and outdoor adventurers, but it’s also a testament to the country’s history, recalling the days of frontier life and the wild west. It’s a unique and inspiring visit from start to finish.
Lets explore the best things to do in Wyoming:
1. Yellowstone National Park
This is the world’s first, and therefore oldest, national park.
It’s 2.2 million acres are often described as America’s ‘wonderland.’ Bison still roam free in the valleys, sightings of grizzly and black bears are common, as are elk, antelope, gray wolves, and bald eagles.
The natural landmarks are just as spectacular: Lamar Valley, West Thumb Geyser Basin, Mammoth Hot Springs, Old Faithful, and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone are just a few.
Most people drive through the park, but the absolutely best way to see it is by hiking.
Get up close with the many diverse geothermal ecosystems.
Don’t miss the Lower Falls or the visitors centre while you’re there. Plan to spend several days.
2. Grand Teton National Park
The Teton Mountain Range was formed millions of years ago after a fault buckled and created 12 unbelievable peaks.
All of them more than 12,000 feet high.
The national park that surrounds these peaks is one of Wyoming’s crown jewels.
You’ll find serene lakes, rushing rivers, lush valleys, rugged peaks, and more wildlife than you’ve got storage space in your camera.
Imagine 60 mammal species and over 300 bird species.
Just like Yellowstone, the best way to see the park is by hiking.
But don’t forget kayaking, rafting, mountain climbing, snowshoeing, and skiing.
Use the town of Jackson as your base for exploring the park as well as the nearby Bridger-Teton National Forest.
3. Grand Prismatic Spring
Discovered in the early 19th century within what is now Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Prismatic Spring has been astonishing and stumping visitors ever since.
This very large hot spring displays a vivid rainbow ring on its surface.
It’s the bacteria and microbes in the water that cause the coloration – and it changes with each season.
It’s a true wonder of the natural world, a destination of its own, and definitely not to be missed.
4. The Buffalo Bill Centre of the West
The American West is a unique chapter in the country’s history.
The Buffalo Bill Centre captures that history in five incredible museums.
Visitors can get their fill of the Cody Firearms Museum, the Buffalo Bill Museum, the Draper Museum of Natural History, The Whitney Gallery of Western Art, and the Plain Indians Museum.
If you’re there in the summer you can catch a rodeo, where some of today’s best cowboys ride.
The aim of the centre is to immerse guests in the spirit of the old west through culture, science, art, and, of course, history.
5. The National Historic Trails Interpretive Centre
This is so much more than a museum.
The National Historic Trails Interpretive Centre is an interactive look back at the role that this area played in shaping America.
The centre recreates life on the old pioneer trails through life size dioramas, and multimedia.
Learn what life was like for Wyoming’s first citizens, the importance of the Oregon Trail, the Mormon Trail, the California Trail, and the famous Pony Express route.
Enjoy a guided hikes and special events throughout the year.
6. Smith Mansion
In the heart of the lovely Wapiti Valley is the Smith Mansion.
The stories surrounding the mansion’s history are the stuff of Wyoming legend.
Rumoured to be built by a madman, or perhaps built over a profitable mine shaft, or maybe even built as a joke.
What’s the truth? Lee Smith’s home is a random assortment of terraces and staircases – some that even seem to go nowhere.
A project for his wife and children, the house at first looked fairly normal.
But over time, Smith continued building, adding balconies, additional floors, and more.
Smith eventually fell to his death while working on the house, which has sat empty since.
His daughter has begun a preservation campaign to keep this unique and legendary home a part of the state’s history.
7. Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area
Stretching from Wyoming’s Green River all the way into Utah, the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area is a glorious ode to the natural world.
Named after the red sandstone cliffs of the region, this is a great spot for fishing, boating, camping, kayaking, and swimming.
Near the top of the canyon is a visitor’s centre and the start of the Canyon Rim Trail.
It has magnificent lookouts dotted along the path.
Prehistoric fossils have been found here and some of the rocks have ancient petroglyphs.
8. Fort Laramie
Originally a fur trading post, Fort Laramie went on to become the first garrisoned post in the Wyoming territory.
Almost all pioneers stopped here to replenish before heading out for the Mormon, California, and Oregon trails.
In addition, gold miners, American Indians, ranchers, missionaries, trappers, and more used the post – which appropriately came to be called the ‘Crossroads of a Nation Moving West.’ Over the years, treaties were signed here and wars begun.
Named a national monument by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1938, it’s now part of the national park system.
The visitors centre provides a history of the place and you can join a guided tour that will bring the history of the fort to life.
9. Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo
Every year since 1919, the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo has been celebrating its roots with an incredible festival that grows better and better.
Often called the ‘Daddy of ‘em All,’ the rodeo is one of the best in the state.
The outdoor rodeo offers more than one million in prizes and draws the best of the best.
The festival lasts ten days and includes major concerts, parades, a carnival, a western art show, and a re-enacted American Indian village.
You can also tour an old saloon, get lunch at a chuck wagon cook off, and enjoy the best pancake breakfast of your life.
Don’t miss the antique car show, the air show, trick riding, and the wild-horse race.
10. Devils Tower National Monument
You have to travel a bit to get there, but the Devils Tower National Monument is more than worth it.
Rising 1,200 feet from the Belle Fourche River, the monument is a geological masterpiece.
Made famous thanks to the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind, it’s got a unique history that you’d come to expect from Wyoming.
The visitors centre explains this volcanic marvel and shows the changing culture of the region.
Tower Trail is a paved 1.3-mile trail that goes around the entire tower and guided hikes are available.
Rock climbers love Devils Tower and in the spring photographers flock here thanks to the abundant wildflower meadows in the surrounding forests.
The Belle Fourche River is also a destination spot for fishermen.
Catch walleye, black bullhead, and more.
11. Medicine Mountain
At the top of Medicine Mountain, about 10,000 feet above the Bighorn Range, is a beautiful and mysterious pattern of stones.
Though covered by the areas heavy snows for most of the year, in the summer, the patterns purpose can be seen.
In the shape of a wheel that is 80 feet across, there are 28 spokes coming from the hub – which is large enough to sit in.
Known as a medicine wheel, these sacred hoops (found elsewhere in the mid-west) where built by American Indian tribes.
The wheel at Bighorn has been studied extensively.
Archaeoastronomer Jack Eddy discovered that the wheel helps predict sun positions as well as stars during the summer solstice.
You can feel the energy of this sacred place and its fascinating history make it a must visit when you’re in Bighorn.
12. Hole-in-the Wall Hideout
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were real outlaws in the American West and in the Bighorn Mountains you can visit their infamous hideout.
Beginning in the late 19th century, this area was a popular stop on the outlaw trail during the highly romanticized lawless period of Wyoming’s history.
Used not only by Cassidy’s Wild Bunch but also by the Logan Brothers and Jesse James, the Hole-in-the-Wall is a secluded and remote spot.
As you might imagine, it’s not easy to reach, even today.
To reach it, you have to pass through an eroded hole in the wall mesa, then make a steep climb over loose rock to reach the top.
From here you have a 360-degree view of the pass – absolutely no one can sneak up on you.
Once accessible only on horseback, today you can take a paved road to a foot trail that will take you to the top.
13. Bridger Valley Historic Byway
Once the crossroads for pioneers, this 20-mile loop is now a majestic drive through history.
Used by those on the California and Oregon trails as well as the transcontinental railroad, the Lincoln Highway, and the Pony Express.
It includes stops at the Fort Bridger State Historic Site and the towns of Lyman, Urie, and Fort Bridger.
It’s a perfect day for history buffs.
Stop at the historic site to visit the museum and take a tour around the historic buildings.
14. The Crow’s Nest
The Old Faithful Inn, adjacent to Yellowstone National Park, has a fun and interesting feature.
On the third floor, you’ll find a 76-foot stairwell that leads to an indoor tree house.
From the tree house, you can take a catwalk out on to a roof top deck.
Known as the Crow’s Nest, it was designed by Robert Reamer to create his childhood fantasy of a tall tree house.
Originally, the orchestra played there to entertain guests on the floors below.
Full of imagination, it’s a wonderful way to view the park.
15. Vore Buffalo Jump
Vore Buffalo Jump is a natural sinkhole and one of the most important archaeological digs in the state.
Once home to the pre-historic Plains Indians, it was used to trap bison over 500 years ago.
Historians estimate that several tribes used the area and that a minimum of 10,0000 bison where trapped there.
Visitors are welcome during the summer months when you can chat with staff members to learn exactly how the sinkhole was used and how the Indians made use of each part of the bison.
If you’ve never seen a natural sink hole, you’ll be fascinated by Vore.