Looking for a trip that combines the exhilaration of the outdoors with historical discovery and unbounded scenery? Then a trip to Wyoming is for you.
A single road trip across the state will take you through Old Western heritage, Indigenous cultural sites and the peaks and prairies of two prominent national parks. Fossil beds, elevated lakes, world class skiing and adventures on horseback are an intimate introduction to the past and present of the state.
Ready for an adventure? Here are 27 things to do in Wyoming you’re not going to want to miss.
GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK
Gracing Wyoming’s northwestern corner, Grand Teton National Park is both a state and national treasure. Just south of Yellowstone National Park, the Teton mountain range is home to a number of summits, prehistoric ecosystems, and waterways, like the Snake River.
With vibrant Jackson Hole as your gateway, visit in any season to experience all the Tetons have to offer. Climbing, fishing, backcountry hiking and mountain biking join winter activities like skiing and snowshoeing, making the park a year round destination.
Despite their ancient geological history and role in early Indigenous culture, the Tetons never get old; the park holds something for everyone to discover. Whether you take in the panoramas on one a scenic drive or gaze over the horizon on a mountain top hike, this pocket of Wyoming will keep you coming back to the Mountain West.
Read More: 29 AMAZING THINGS TO DO IN JACKSON HOLE, WYOMING
Discount Tickets: Grand Teton National Park: 4-Hour Wildlife Safari Adventure
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
Less than an hour north of Grand Teton lies Yellowstone National Park. As one of the country’s most popular national parks, Yellowstone has no shortage of iconic natural phenomena, including the Old Faithful geyser, Mammoth Hot Springs and Yellowstone Lake.
Home to a dormant super-volcano and unique geothermal features, the park is full of surprises, especially if you go slightly off the beaten path. Spanning the corners of three states, the park is yours to explore, with hiking, water activities and camping around every bend.
Established in 1872, Yellowstone is the first national park in the United States, making it a historical monument to conservation. If you’re staying in Jackson, Wyoming, the drive to the park totals a little under two hours; take a day trip or make it an overnight camping excursion.
Read More: 38 BEST THINGS TO DO IN YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
Discount Tickets: West Yellowstone: Yellowstone Park Tour with Local Guide
Located in the eastern half of the state, Devils Tower joins Yellowstone National Park as a first — in this case, the first National Monument in the country. Over 1,200 feet tall, Devils Tower is the result of thousands of years of erosion and geological activity. The unique rock formation stands out in the Badlands landscape, looming over the grassy prairie.
Its haunting presence has given Devils Tower a significant role in Native American myths, making it a natural and cultural relic. Visitors can hike around the tower’s wide base, while experienced climbers can tackle its rugged walls.
If you’re planning your trip around Devils Tower or the South Dakota Badlands, which are just across the state border, stop by any of the small towns in between for a window into Old Western heritage. Pine Haven, Beulah and Sundance all have their own histories to contribute to local lore.
Read more: DEVILS TOWER NATIONAL MONUMENT
FLAMING GORGE NATIONAL RECREATION AREA
Crossing the border between Wyoming and Utah, Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area includes the Flaming Gorge Reservoir, Dam and the Green River. With red rock walls on both sides, the reservoir is nearly one hundred miles long and offers boating, fishing, and waterfront camping under the shade of pines.
If you’re planning to tour the reservoir by boat, rentals are available at the Buckboard Marina on the west side of the reservoir. The marina also features a campground for easy access to the boat launch. No boating experience? Kayaking, rafting and tubing are all equally fun ways to explore the gorge. If you’re planning on fishing, local guide services can get you out to the best spots that guarantee a catch no matter your experience.
Flaming Gorge Recreation Area is in Southwestern Wyoming state, and there are a number of resorts, hotels and campsites in the area.
BUFFALO BILL CENTER
Located in the town of Cody, the Buffalo Bill Center’s five museums hold a vast collection of Old Western artifacts, memorabilia, documents and archives. The museum is dedicated to the memory of Buffalo Bill, the famed showman and soldier known for his touring Wild West performances.
Along with exhibits, galleries and a research library, the Buffalo Bill Center emphasizes interactive experiences, taking your visit out of a traditional museum setting. Alongside private tours, join an authentic outdoor Chuckwagon Dinner or learn about the area’s largest birds at the Live Raptor Experience.
Family friendly yet full of historical curiosities to keep the adults on their feet, the Buffalo Bill Center is a must- stop, especially if you’re staying in or around Cody. Cody is located about two hours west of Yellowstone National Park.
Read More: 11 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN CODY WY
NATIONAL ELK REFUGE
Just outside of Jackson sits a haven for endangered animal species, including one of the country’s largest elk herds. The refuge is the destination for thousands of elk that migrate south from Yellowstone and surrounding areas each winter.
During warmer months, the refuge is open to visitors from 9am to 5pm; the Visitor’s Center has displays and educational information about the herd. In the winter, the refuge hosts sleigh tours to view the elk and their natural habitat. The sleigh rides are a longtime local tradition and a special way to ring in the holiday season while spending time outdoors.
Sleigh tours are scheduled seasonally, running from December to April. If you’re visiting Jackson for the snow, a sleigh ride is a great way to sit back and relax on a day off the slopes.
Read More: 29 AMAZING THINGS TO DO IN JACKSON HOLE, WYOMING
HOT SPRINGS STATE PARK
Joining Wyoming’s list of nationally acclaimed nature sites, Hot Springs State Park is located in central Wyoming. Situated along the banks of the Big Horn River in the town of Thermopolis, the park is home to a bathhouse and viewing terraces that introduce visitors to local mineral hot springs.
A long history of therapeutic mineral baths gives the bath house timeless charm, and entry to the 104- degree bath pools is free. Short trails, fishing opportunities and a boat launch make this a day trip destination. The park’s foot bridge offers views of the cascading river below.
It’ll be hard to believe you’re still in town while strolling Hot Springs State Park; Thermopolis is a worthwhile stop if you’re driving across the state on your way to Yellowstone or Devils Tower.
WYOMING DINOSAUR CENTER
After visiting the hot springs in Thermopolis, stop by the Wyoming Dinosaur Center to view fossils that are not only rare, but local, too. The space houses 20,000 bones found around Thermopolis along with international specimens.
The Dinosaur Center goes far beyond your average museum experience, opening working activation sites within a few miles of town to the public. The “Dig for a Day” program allows you to make your own archeological discovery by joining experts on an actual dig.
Visitor discoveries contribute to center research, and you might even locate a bone that hasn’t been registered before.
Museum hours vary seasonally, and digs are scheduled daily in clear weather.
OLD TRAIL TOWN
When in Cody, don’t miss Old Trail Town, the culmination of a local archeologist’s efforts to preserve his town’s history, Wild West style. Thanks to him, original 19th century buildings, carriages and artifacts are now displayed at a site that Buffalo Bill himself had designated “Cody City.” Old Trail Town features 26 structures and 100 horse-drawn carriages, making it the largest collection of western buildings and memorabilia in the state.
You can visit Old Trail Town daily from 8am to 6am. Each building has a story, from the Taggart Carpenter Shop to the Buffalo Bill Hunter’s Cabin. Saved from ruin and re-assembled on site, the structures form a historic collage. Visit the Mountain Man memorias and gravesites of local figures to learn more about the people who called the area home two centuries ago.
GRAND TARGHEE RESORT
Surrounded by the Teton peaks, Grand Targhee Resort is a family friendly ski resort one hour north of Jackson, Wyoming. Known for its cat skiing and boarding experience and Nordic Trails, the resort has everything an experienced skier might need to make every day out on the slopes an adventure.
Beginner runs and lessons are available as well, and snowshoeing or fat biking offer the chance to try something new.
Planning a summer visit? After the snow has melted, Grand Targhee turns into a forested summer destination, with a bike park, scenic chair rides, kids’ camp and even whitewater rafting opportunities. No matter what season you choose for your trip, the resort allows you to live and play in the Teton Valley without missing a beat.
Read More: 8 WYOMING SKI RESORTS (INCLUDING ONE THAT THE REGULARS WANT KEPT SECRET)
If you’ve ever wanted to experience life on a working dude ranch, then check out Wyoming’s Bitterroot Ranch. Nestled along the Shoshone National Forest, the ranch offers generations of expertise in ranch operations, horseback riding, and horsemanship.
Established in 1971 and family run to this day, the ranch offers cozy accommodations along with a variety of experiences on horseback to choose from. Learn the basics over a weeklong stay or sign up for a more nuanced program like Heidi Potter’s Holistic Horsemanship Clinic.
Whether you’re a city person to the core or a horse whisperer in training, the Bitterroot team is here to help you learn, relax and get to know the Wind Valley, all at once. Additional special programs include summer yoga and riding retreats, and pack trips.
Hidden in Swift Canyon, Intermittent Spring is a stunning cold- water source active ten months of the year. The spring gushes periodically, releasing fresh water every twenty minutes.
Tucked into Wyoming’s western edge, Intermittent Spring is known as the largest rhythmic spring in the world; the number of similar springs across the globe is estimated to total no more than a hundred. A short hike leads you to a rocky slope to view the phenomenon for yourself.
The spring is best visited in late summer, and is located just east of the town of Afton. Keep an eye out for the town’s famed Elkhorn Arch while you’re at it!
For a moderate yet rewarding hike in the Teton Range, try the trail to Phelps Lake, located at the Southern tip of Grand Teton. Starting at the Death Canyon Trailhead, the trail is about seven miles long round trip.
You’ll get your first look at the water about a mile into your walk, and there are plenty of mountain views along the way to keep you motivated. The lake is known for its still beauty as well as its “jumping rock.” Twenty feet above the lake surface, the jumping rock is the perfect platform for diving into the lake, especially if you need a pick me up after a sweltering hike.
The trailhead is only a forty minute drive from Jackson, Wyoming, making Phelps Lake a popular morning hike.
TERRY BISON RANCH
Just south of Cheyenne, The Terry Bison Ranch Resort is your opportunity to get up close to one of the area’s largest bison herds. The ranch offers a full list of activities for the whole family, including bison train tours, horseback riding and ATV tours.
The Senator’s Steakhouse and Saloon is on- site for buffalo burgers, prime ribs and more. Book one of the resort cabins and make the ranch your home base for exploring Wyoming’s capital city.
JACKSON HOLE AERIAL TRAM
Located within Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram is a nine to twelve minute ride that takes you over 4,000 feet in the air. Experienced skiers can take the tram to reach Corbet’s Couloir, North America’s steepest run. Reaching the summit, the tram is your gateway to the winter runs or hiking trails in warmer weather.
Cozy and quaint, Corbet’s Cabin welcomes riders at Rendezvous Peak, serving homemade waffles to go with the views. Lovingly known as “Big Red,” the tram is a year- round Wyoming icon.
Discount Tickets: Snake River Scenic Raft Trip
ANTLER ARCHES OF JACKSON
If you’re spending a day exploring Jackson, stop by the town’s George Washington Memorial Park, also known as Town Square. At the park’s four corners, you’ll find the town’s antler arches, making for four unique photo opportunities.
The gateways are built of hundreds of elk antlers, a tradition dating back to 1953. Woven around a steel frame, many of the antlers are gathered at the nearby National Elk Refuge.
The arches are rebuilt every couple of years, and have become a quintessential part of Jackson’s local culture.
Discount Tickets: Jackson Hole Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Flight
MEDICINE BOW NATIONAL FOREST
Extending from Northern Colorado to south- central Wyoming, Medicine Bow National Forest is home to a number of local mountain ranges, as well as forests and diverse fauna and flora. The Wyoming portion of the forest is just west of Laramie, meaning you can stay in town and be a short drive away from hiking, camping, and fishing destinations.
Medicine Bow Peak is one of the most popular hiking areas near Laramie and offers views that rival those of the state’s famous national parks. Try the Lakes Loop hike to see a number of lakes dotting the landscape below, or visit South and North Gap Lakes to get up close to the water.
The forest and surrounding regions will keep you enthralled, whether you’re in the area for a weeklong trip or just driving through.
FOSSIL BUTTE NATIONAL MONUMENT
Western Wyoming’s Fossil Butte National Monument is one of the best preserved fossil areas in the country, and in the world. The landscape and its conditions have kept freshwater fish, insect and mammal fossils immaculately preserved, giving the monument an international reputation.
Today, the monument includes a scenic drive, picnic areas, hiking trails and a Visitor Center where you can view some of the local fossils. Want to get even more involved?
Held each summer, the Fossil Butte Quarry Program guides visitors through collecting their own specimens, which then become part of the monument’s ongoing research into ancient organisms.
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF WILDLIFE ART
While out in Jackson, take a short drive to the National Museum of Wildlife Art, housed in a sandstone castle just north of town. Founded in 1987, the museum is dedicated to work about wild animals representing various mediums, time periods, and concepts.
Andy Warhol and Georgia O’ Keefe are just two of the prominent artists featured in the museum’s collection, and the museum holds work dating back to 2500 BCE. Along with galleries, the space includes a gift shop, outdoor sculpture trail, and restaurant.
The museum itself is an architectural gem and is adjacent to the National Elk Refuge, meaning you can organize an entire day around both destinations.
Totaling about 2.5 miles roundtrip, the hike to Yellowstone National Park’s Mystic Falls is mild and worthwhile, bringing you to the foot of a seventy foot waterfall. Cascading through a wildflower and tree- lined canyon, the waterfall is a beautiful spot to round out your morning hike.
The trail also takes you over the Firehole River, which often has steam rising off of its surface. Though this is primarily a summer hike, it can also be done in spring or fall depending on weather conditions. The Mystic Falls trail can be reached from the Biscuit Basic trailhead and parking area.
Perched on Grand Teton National Park’s Snake River, Schwabacher Landing is a water lover’s dream, allowing seamless access to the river. Often used as a launch for rafters, the landing also features a quick 1.3 mile hike with panoramic mountain views.
This mild hike will lead you along a portion of the river known for its beaver dams. Capturing the mountains reflected in the water on camera will be one of the highlights of this hike, and your chances for seeing wildlife are high.
The Schwabacher Trailhead is just off of Highway 191, north of Moose Junction.
Discount Tickets: Grand Teton National Park and Petroglyph Tour
JACKSON HOLE RESORT
Known across the world for its expert, intermediate and beginner level ski runs, including the steepest run on the continent, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is an independently owned ski resort located in Wyoming’s Teton Village. Snowboarding joins skiing as the primary sports on the mountain, and the Aerial Tram ferries visitors to one of the highest points within the resort. The Mountain Sports school offers lessons for all levels, and equipment rentals are available.
You can book accommodations through the resort, with choices ranging from luxury hotel stays to classic lodge experiences. The resort’s iconic reputation, paired with incredible scenery and outdoor fun make it an unforgettable stop on your next visit to the Mountain West.
NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAILS INTERPRETIVE CENTER OF THE WEST
Casper, Wyoming’s Historic Trails Interpretive Center of the West is your one stop destination to learn about some of America’s most crucial passageways. Emigrant trails like The Pony Express, Oregon, Mormon and California Trails are the focus, and the center works to educate visitors through research, activities and exhibitions.
The Center draws a map of 19th century America using the stories of the people who moved across the west and the artifacts they left behind. Wyoming’s role in some of these pathways was crucial, and the Center works with local history to paint a complete picture of American emigration.
The museum is open daily and features eight family friendly galleries, along with an orientation film.
At first glance, Buford is barely a spot on the map between Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming. Located off of Interstate 80, the town is one of the country’s smallest, populated by a single resident. Stop by the Buford Trading Post to learn more about this former railroad town.
Buford is an unofficial “ghost town,” and is an interesting pit stop on your drive west from the state capital. The Tree in the Rock Historical Site is just west of Buford, also off Interstate 80.
BRIDGER VALLEY HISTORIC BYWAY
Bridger Valley Historic Byway is a twenty mile detour off of Wyoming’s Interstate 80. It runs through a part of the state that was once the crossroads for a number of historic trails, including the Pony Express route, the California Trail and the Mormon Trail. The Transcontinental Railroad also ran through the area.
The Byway allows drivers to loop around the area, joining back up with Interstate 80 at Exit 48. As you take in the scenery, it won’t be hard to imagine thousands of weary travelers moving through 19th century Wyoming, their eyes on the promise of the West. You can catch the loop at Exit 34 off the Interstate.
COLTER BAY VISITOR CENTER AND INDIAN ARTS MUSEUM
Located on the shore of Grand Teton National Park’s Jackson Lake, Colter Bay is a top day trip and camping destination thanks to its picturesque view and lake access. Colter Bay Visitor Center is adjacent to Colter Bay campground and has all the information you might need about must- see sites within the park.
The center is also home to an extensive collection of Native American artwork reminding visitors of human presence in the park long before it became a national wonder. The center also hosts an American Indian Guest Artist Program, where contemporary artists can share their work with visitors.
If you’re driving east out of Cody, keep your eyes peeled for a hilltop home known as the Smith Mansion.
Built by eccentric engineer Lee Smith, the home was a limitless project he embarked on and did not live to finish. The home is an architectural kaleidoscope of balconies and terraces built of wooden logs, all collected by Smith himself.
The structure has been a fixture on the horizon for decades, and is a startling sight, even from the highway.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO WYOMING
- CHEYENNE: 15 Things To Do In Cheyenne Wyoming You’ve Got To Experience
- GLAMPING: GLAMPING YELLOWSTONE: 7 EXPERIENCES YOU’LL NEVER FORGET
- OLD FAITHFUL: 19 TIPS AND THINGS TO DO
- PACK SMART: YELLOWSTONE PACKING LIST: 17 THINGS YOU WILL WANT TO BRING
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