Wyoming — Attractions
The Cowboy State is one of the best places in America to experience the rugged culture of the cowboy while immersing yourself in a vast region of natural beauty. The wilderness is the real attraction, with world-class national parks like Yellowstone and Grand Teton, and unique landmarks like Devils Tower. There aren’t many towns to choose from in Wyoming, but between trendy little Jackson and true grit cowboy Cody, you can get a clear picture of the society and culture of this state.
Wyoming’s premier resort town is nestled at the foot of the majestic Grand Tetons. This sophisticated, Western-flavored town is both an outdoor mecca and a place for cowboy wannabes to hang out. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has legendary black diamond slopes for winter skiing and summer mountain biking. The Snake River is hot for fly fishing and kayaking, while Grand Teton National Park is a wonderland of wildlife and nature. Jackson also has superb restaurants, a boisterous nightlife, and some posh lodges to sleep in. Whatever the season, Jackson Hole is one of America’s most scenic and most entertaining mountain towns.
Address: Western Wyoming
Yellowstone National Park
America’s original national park is just as enchanting today as it was in 1807 when the Lewis and Clark Expedition first discovered it. Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon are the main highlights, but even more surreal geological wonders are just a bit farther into the Wyoming Park. The Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces are a psychedelic marvel, while the Lonestar Geyser Trail is a wonderful hike along the Firehole River. You can also drive through the park to spot wildlife and stop to admire attractions like West Thumb and Yellowstone Lake. If possible, try and stay at one of the grand old hotels right in the park for a total immersion experience.
Address: PO Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168
Grand Teton National Park
One of the American West’s most dramatic and most exciting mountain ranges is the Grand Tetons. Rising like a jagged jaw line from the rolling prairie, the peaks are legendary for mountain climbing, rock climbing, skiing, and mountain biking. Besides all the adrenalin sports, the national park offers top-drawer hiking along Inspiration Point Trail and horseback riding to Jenny Lake. The largest elk herd in America lives in the Teton Valley, and you’re also likely to spy moose, eagles, and even a bear or two. An easier way to experience the majesty of the Tetons is by driving Signal Mountain road, where 360 degree views await at the summit.
Address: PO Box 170, Moose, WY 83012-0170
Founded by legendary Wild West character Buffalo Bill Cody, this city is a great place to layover for a few days in between outdoor adventures. Though it doesn’t have the resort chic of Jackson, Cody is more authentically western. There are several excellent western attractions and museums here, including the Buffalo Bill Historical Center and Old Trail Town, a restored Wild West frontier town. In summer, catch the Cody Night Rodeo or hop on the Cody Trolley Tour for a fun tour of the town and all its colorful stories. As the eastern gateway to Yellowstone, Cody really bursts into life each May when the park opens.
Address: Northwest Wyoming
Buffalo Bill Historic Center
This massive museum lives up to its billing as the Smithsonian of the West. It features both a scholarly look at the origins of the frontier West as well as the entertaining side of its gunslingers, outlaws, and showmen like Buffalo Bill himself. The Cody Firearms Museum boasts 5,000 vintage guns, while the Plains Indian Museum sheds fascinating light on the heritage of the Plains Indians. The Whitney Gallery of Western Art is also on site, exhibiting hundreds of pieces of art depicting the West in its infancy. With five museums under one roof, this modern attraction is a cultural highlight of Wyoming.
Address: 720 Sheridan Ave, Cody, WY 82414
Wind River Valley
Often overlooked by travelers, the Wind River Valley is one of Wyoming’s most lovely regions for outdoor recreation and Native American culture. The Wind River Indian Reservation is home to thousands of Shoshone and Arapaho people. Though the reservation offers few attractions, the tribes hold a series of fantastic powwows which are open to visitors from May to September. Lander and Riverton are the two main towns in the area, providing good bases for exploring the empty wilderness of the Wind River Range, a real gem for backpackers and hikers alike seeking solitude and thriving wildlife.
Address: Western Wyoming
Devils Tower National Monument
This absolutely surreal tower of rock rising alone from the empty Wyoming plains is worth the drive. It’s the 50 million-year-old core of a volcano, but it looks as if someone meticulously carved it. The Lakota Indians consider it sacred, and you can get a full experience of Devils Tower in a single day. Several trails offer different perspectives of the tower, while the ranger station has an excellent information center. There is also a cool prairie dog colony on site that is entertaining. Devils Towers really puts on a show at dusk when the sun sets, so try and stick around for the photo op.
Address: US Highway 14, Devils Tower, WY 82714