In Wyoming, the Wild West comes alive. One of the most sparsely populated states in the US, Wyoming is a land of rugged landscapes, rich tribal legend, rodeos, ranches, cowboy towns, and some of the world’s great wilderness areas.
Yellowstone National Park, with its geothermal wonders, together with spectacular Grand Tetons National Park make up one of the largest intact temperate-zone ecosystems on the planet. Both parks are home to an astounding diversity of wildlife, from grizzlies and golden eagles to wolves, elk, moose, bison, and black bears.
Further afield, you can explore red-walled gorges, hot springs, historic prairie towns, pioneer museums, and the historical attractions of Wyoming’s capital, Cheyenne. With all this wilderness and wide-open space, outdoor adventures abound. Wyoming boasts excellent hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, climbing, and fishing, as well as some of the best skiing in North America.
Discover the best places to visit in this rugged Western state with our list of the top tourist attractions in Wyoming.
1. Yellowstone National Park
The world’s first and oldest national park, Yellowstone is one of the most awe-inspiring wilderness areas on the planet. Huge herds of bison still roam free in the valleys, and the abundant wildlife includes grizzly and black bears, gray wolves, elk, antelope, trumpeter swans, and majestic bald eagles.
Established in 1872, the park is a geothermal wonderland. Hissing geysers, bubbling mud pots, and steaming hot springs betray the forces that formed this staggering landscape millions of years ago. Waterfalls gush down steep ravines, and glittering lakes and rivers stretch for miles.
You can drive through the park, but the huge network of hiking trails is the best way to appreciate the park’s diverse ecosystems, and you can extend your wilderness experience by staying in one of the park’s scenic campgrounds. Top tourist attractions here include the famous Old Faithful geyser, Yellowstone Lake, and the jaw-dropping cascades of Lower Falls.
The park is one of the best places to visit in Wyoming. Sightseeing is excellent year-round, with each season painting the landscape in different hues, but most tourists visit in the summer.
2. Grand Tetons National Park Editor’s Pick
Crowned by the craggy peaks of the mighty Tetons Mountain Range, Grand Tetons National Park is one of the jewels of Wyoming. These mountains, in the state’s northwest, were formed millions of years ago, when a fault in the Earth’s crust buckled, creating 12 peaks reaching heights of more than 12,000 feet. The highest of these, Grand Tetons, soars 13,770 feet above sea level.
Wildlife is abundant. More than 300 species of birds, 60 species of mammals, and many freshwater fish live within the park. Not surprisingly, the park is a paradise for wildlife lovers, photographers, climbers, haymakers, and hikers.
The best way to explore the spectacular scenery is by hiking the many trails and staying overnight in the campgrounds. Some of the roads and access points close during winter months.
Tucked in a sprawling valley at the foot of the spectacular Tetons Mountains, Jackson, Wyoming exudes the spirit of the Wild West. Rustic wooden buildings and boardwalks, quaint shops, galleries, and restaurants, and a town square framed by elk-horn arches add to the charm of this charismatic town.
Jackson is also the gateway to beautiful Grand Tetons National Park and a popular stop on the way to Yellowstone. Bordering town, the National Elk Refuge protects the largest herd of wintering elk in the world. In season, you can ride horse-drawn sleighs into the refuge to view these gentle creatures up close.
Camouflaged in a rocky hillside just south of town, the National Museum of Wildlife Art is another top attraction, with more than 4,000 paintings and many rotating exhibits.
Other highlights include scenic float trips down the Snake River, chuck wagon cookouts, the popular summer rodeo, and downhill skiing on Snow King Mountain. Jackson Hole is also one of the top fly fishing destinations in Wyoming.
A 20-minute drive from Jackson, the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort at Teton Village offers some of the best skiing in North America, as well as a diverse lineup of summer mountain sports and outdoor concerts.
4. Hot Springs State Park, Thermoplastic
Built around the world’s largest single mineral hot spring, Hot Springs State Park is a great place to stop for a relaxing soak. The steamy mineral water gushing from Big Spring is channeled into bathhouses and kept at a constant 104 degrees Fahrenheit. You can soak in the warm waters indoors at the State Bath House or in the two outdoor pools.
Also in the area are hiking trails; petroglyphs; summer flower gardens; and the Rainbow Terrace, where water from another stream tumbles into the Bighorn River. Look for the herd of bison grazing in the hills.
5. Bridger-Tetons National Forest
In the beautiful Bridger Tetons National Forest, outdoor enthusiasts can explore more than 3.4 million acres of western Wyoming’s rugged mountain wilderness.
Within the forest’s boundaries lie three Wilderness Areas: The Bridger Wilderness in the Wind River Mountains is home to the headwaters of the Green River, some of the world’s largest glaciers, and Wyoming’s highest point, Gannet Peak. The Tetons Wilderness provides critical habitat for wildlife such as grizzlies, wolves, and bison, and the Gross Venture Wilderness encompasses fascinating geological features.
In 1925, the Gross Venture Slide carved down a mountainside, creating Lower Slide Lake. You can still see evidence of the slide today.
Crisscrossed by miles of trails, the entire region is excellent for hiking, hunting, fishing, ski touring, and mountaineering.
6. The Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody
The Buffalo Bill Center of the West retraces an important chapter of American history in a complex of five fascinating museums. In the Buffalo Bill Museum, you can view artifacts from the life of Buffalo Bill Cody, the legendary American soldier and showman.
The Cody Firearms Museum contains a large collection of firearms from around the world. Wyoming wildlife and geology are the main themes of the Draper Museum of Natural History, and you can learn about the culture of the prairies’ first inhabitants at the Plains Indian Museum through exhibits and a multimedia show.
In addition to all these historical exhibits and artifacts, the center offers a treat for art lovers. At the Whitney Gallery of Western Art, works by Frederic Remington, Charles Russell, and George Catlin continue the Wild West theme.
Near the center are the rodeo grounds, where some of the best cowboys in the Wild West perform in the summer.
7. Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area
Named for the area’s striking red sandstone cliffs, Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area stretches from Green River, Wyoming, south and into Utah.
Fed by the waters of the Green River, Flaming Gorge Reservoir is a popular spot for boating, fishing, swimming, camping, and kayaking. Adventure seekers can also raft the area of the Green River downstream from Flaming Gorge Dam.
Perched above the canyon, the Red Canyon Vista and Visitor Center offers impressive views of the gorge. From the visitor center, the Canyon Rim Trail threads along the lip of the canyon, with lookouts along the way.
In addition to the colorful rock formations, some of the rock walls display petroglyphs, and prehistoric fossils are often found in the area.
8. The Wind River Range
Looking for the spectacular alpine scenery of Grand Tetons National Park or Yellowstone without the crowds? Head to the Wind River Range in Western Wyoming. Its 2.25 million acres encompass seven of the largest glaciers in the Lower 48 states; lush meadows dappled with wildflowers; glacier-carved valleys; snow capped peaks; and thousands of sparkling trout-filled waterways, including the headwaters for the Green River. No wonder it’s a haven for hiking, hunting, fishing, camping, and climbing.
Hikers, in particular, will be in heaven here. More than 600 miles of trails radiate through the region, including part of the Continental Divide Scenic National Trail, which runs from Canada to Mexico. The 80-mile stretch though this region ascends to an elevation of 11,000 feet and is best hiked during August and September, when the trails are most likely to be free of snow. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. This is grizzly country, but you can also see moose, mountain lions, deer, elk, wolves, and hundreds of different species of birds.
The Wind River Range is also one of the best fly fishing interdenominational. Anglers can catch many species of trout, as well as graying and mackinaw, in the crystal-clear streams and rivers.
Rock-climbers come here to scale the granite peaks, including the famous Cirque of the Towers in the southern region of the range.
Looking for a dose of culture and history? You’ll find that here, too. At the Wind River Indian Reservation, you can participate in a powwow, visit museums, or explore the area on a 70-kilometer scenic drive along the Wind River Indian Reservation Trail. Pick up a self-guided Wyoming tourism map at local chambers of commerce.
The rustic town of Pine dale is the gateway to this remote section of the Bridger Wilderness, and it makes a great base to stock up on supplies. From here, you can don your backpack, lace up your boots, pack your fly rod, and head into one of the most breathtakingly beautiful wilderness areas in the country – minus the crowds.
9. Grand Tar ghee Ski Resort
If you hate standing in lines and paying exorbitant prices for lift tickets, Grand Tar ghee Ski Resort is a hot pick for your next Wyoming ski vacation. About a 90-minute drive from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, this family-friendly resort on the western slopes of the Tetons is a much cheaper option than its famous sister resort, with way fewer people.
Snowfall here averages an impressive 500-plus inches of light, fluffy powder, with 2,270 feet of vertical accessed by five lifts. You’ll find trails for all abilities here, but intermediate skiers are especially well served, with more than 70 percent of the terrain classified as suitable for them. Other amenities include two terrain parks, snowshoeing, and Nordic trails. Back country skiers and snowboarders can also sign up for Wyoming’s only cat skiing, and private snow cat skiing is also available.
Sure, visibility can sometimes be an issue here, but you can ski the trees during foggy days, and the promise of pristine powder pockets helps compensate – Grand Tar ghee offers one of the lowest ratios of skiers to untracked powder acres in the country. Relatively affordable slope-side accommodation is another perk of a vacation here.
Summers are also packed with activities. Take a scenic ride on the chairlift, attend a music concert, bike the trails, and sample the restaurants and shops in this charming small town. No matter what the season, Grand Tar ghee makes a wonderful mountain getaway for everyone in the family.
10. National Historic Trails Interpretive Center, Casper
The National Historic Trails Interpretive Center is more than a museum, it’s an interactive experience recreating the old pioneer trails and their important role in American history. One of the top things to do in Casper, Wyoming, the museum is well worth a couple of hours of your time.
Full-scale dioramas and multimedia presentations tell the story of Wyoming’s first settlers, the mountain men and fur trappers, the Oregon Trail, the Mormon Trail, the California Trail, and the Pony Express route. All the exhibits are in chronological order, which makes visiting this museum feel like a journey through time.
This is one of the best Wyoming attractions for families who want to learn about the country’s history. Kids can climb in the back of a covered wagon, experience a simulated river crossing, and watch movies that highlight personal stories of the pioneers. Best of all, admission is free!
Before you leave, take time to admire the sweeping views of Casper from the overlook.
11. Fort Laramie National Historic Site
Once a private fur-trading post, Fort Laramie, the first garrisoned post in Wyoming, became an important outpost serving pioneers emigrating west on the Mormon, Oregon, and California Trails. The area was also an important military post during the Plains Indian Wars. In 1938, President Roosevelt proclaimed the 214 acres of military reservation land a national monument. Today, the National Park Service manages the site.
Your first stop should be the visitor center, where a short audio-visual presentation tells the story of the fort’s history. Artifacts such as uniforms and weapons are also on display here.
After the visitor center, a walking tour of the restored buildings brings the fort’s fascinating history to life. See how the troops lived and ate by touring the barracks, and you can also visit the officers’ quarters, post office, general store, and medical quarters, among other restored buildings. As you wander around the site, friendly volunteers in period costume help recreate the scene.
Most visitors take a self-guided tour, but interpretive talks are offered during the summer months. If you’re looking for a way to keep the kids entertained, they can sign up for an educational scavenger hunt.
12. Devils Tower National Monument
Rising more than 1,200 feet above Wyoming’s eastern plains and the Belle Fourscore River, Devils Tower National Monument is a geological gem. If you’re looking for northeast Wyoming attractions, this is the big hitter. The Devils Tower Visitor Center details the geology of this flat-topped volcanic marvel and depicts the history and culture of the area through photos and exhibits.
After exploring the monument, you can hike along eight miles of nature trails, which circumnavigate the rock and thread through the surrounding forest and meadows. During the spring and early summer, abundant wildflowers create fantastic photo opportunities. Look out for the prairie dog colonies as you enter the site as well.
Other popular things to do here include rock climbing during certain months and fishing for black bullhead, catfish, and walleye in the Belle Fourche. Ranger-led tours of the area are also available.
Accommodation: Where to Stay near Devil’s Tower National Monument
13. Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
Red cliffs rise more than 1,000 feet above a twisting ribbon of water at the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area on the Wyoming/Montana border.
Photographers love the panoramic views from Devil’s Canyon Overlook, and the area offers a busy lineup of outdoor activities: Cast a line in the Bighorn River’s world-class trout fishery, go boating or swimming at Bighorn Lake, camp in the wilderness, visit historic ranches, and hike more than 27 miles of scenic trails.
Animal lovers can see some of the largest herds of wild horses in the United States, as well as golden eagles, bears, and the namesake bighorn sheep. Stop by the visitor center in Lovell for details.
Cheyenne, the capital of Wyoming, offers a host of rewarding things to do in southern Wyoming. Named after the Cheyenne Indians, it was once the largest outpost of the United States Cavalry. Today, the town’s museums and historic sites tell the story of Cheyenne’s beginnings in 1867 as a station on the Union Pacific Railroad.
One of the town’s top attractions is the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. Held annually since 1919, the late-July rodeo, featuring 10 days of fun-filled festivities, is one of the best in the country. For a taste of the Wild West at other times of the year, head to the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum, with rodeo exhibits and antique horse-drawn wagons.
Cheyenne’s other top things to see and do include the Wyoming State Capitol Building, a National Historic Landmark; the Wyoming State Museum, with interactive child-friendly exhibits; and the historical railroad displays at the Cheyenne Depot Museum. Near the depot, in Holiday Park, look for the Big Boy locomotive, one of the largest steam engines ever built.