Top 10 Reasons to Visit Wyoming
Wyoming has been on my 'must visit' list ever since my folks went on a trip that included Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota, the heart of 'cowboy country'. The picture they painted when they returned sounded just my kind of wonderful, even just a quick Google image search returns picture after picture of wide open plains, beautiful mountains, stunning lakes and unmissable vistas.
If that doesn't convince you that you need to visit Wyoming, then did you know Grand Teton National Park was also the main geographic inspiration for Disney's The Good Dinosaur? See, even Disney think it's stunning.
Here are 10 reasons why the State of Wyoming is on my bucket list and it should be on yours too:
10. Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite
Speaking of dinosaurs, Wyoming is home to the Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite. This is a collection of fossil dinosaur footprints near Shell, in Big Horn County. They were discovered in 1997 and lie on public land, making the site free to visit! There are hundreds of dinosaur tracks to be found so head down there and imagine you've gone back in time, roaming down the riverbed 167 million years ago, surrounded by dinosaurs.
9. Elk Refuge
Continuing loosely on the animal theme, Jackson is home to the National Elk Refuge. According to their website, they help manage winter habitat for the Jackson Elk Herd as well other endangered species such as wolves, bison and bald eagles. In light of this, the Refuge offers amazing wildlife viewing opportunities. Depending on when you visit, you can explore the terrain on foot or by biike and during the winter months you can participate in a horse-drawn sleigh ride straight into the heart of the Elk herd getting you super close to these magnificent animals.
8. Terry Bison Ranch
The Terry Bison Ranch is also located in Cheyenne and is home to over 2000 grazing bison. You can either ride a train or go on horseback to see the herd and hand feed them too. There is also a restaurant on sight and a pond for fishing.
7. Cowboy Coaster
The Cowboy Coaster in Jackson. This relatively new addition to Snow King Mountain looks like an exhilarating thrill ride of fun. Experiencing stunning Teton views as you fly 465ft down the mountain in a two person car over high speed loops and drops. I'm not entirely sure how much of the view you'll get to experience whilst screaming your face off as you zip down but this has got to be worth at least one ride, surely. There are also quite a few other activities you can do at Snow King Mountain including the Treetop Adventure and the Alpine Slide, which looks rather similar to the Cowboy Coaster.
6. Spectacular Tram Ride
Jackson Hole has an aerial tram that takes you 4,139 vertical feet up Rendevous Mountain. If you can get near the windows, you are rewarded with stunning views but even if you don't, once you reach the top, the stunning views are all yours with Snake River Valley, Grand Teton National Park and Gros Venture Range in the distance. If hiking is your thing, there are trails at the summit or if you just want to sit and watch the world go by, why not visit Corbet's Cabin and sample their famous Top of the World waffles. Once you're ready, you can ski down, take the tram back down or experience a massive adrenaline rush by paragliding down!
5. Buffalo Bill Center
Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody houses five, yes that's right, five museums! Starting out in 1927 and opening to the public with just the Buffalo Bill Museum. It was relocated in 1969 and now documents the history of the American cowboy and the West. TripAdvisor lists it as the number one thing to do in Cody. Within its complex, as well as the Buffalo Bill Museum, it also has the Cody Firearms Museum, Draper Natural History Museum, Plains Indian Museum and Whitney Western Art Museum. That is an impressive amount of information and displays in one place and will definitely set you back at least a day, if not more.
4. Cheyenne Frontier Days
Cheyenne Frontier Days in the capital of Wyoming. I'm probably cheating a little putting this on the list as it only runs for nine days in July (it falls on the last full week in July every year) but it's on here so just go ahead and call me a rebel. Spanning back to 1897, this festival celebrates Cheyenne's Wild West roots and the star of the show? The world's largest outdoor rodeo! There are tonnes of things to see and do including an air show, trick riding, a wild horse race, carnival and pancakes. Personally the pancakes are what sold it for me… It's pretty much everything you'd want and expect the Wild West to be, all wrapped up in a neat little package.
Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park. Yes I know, you can't compile a list about Wyoming without mentioning this magnificent place. Mostly situated in Wyoming, Yellowstone is home to hundreds of species as well as sensationally impressive landscapes. Situated on top of a volcanic hot spot, Yellowstone is home to nearly 60% of the world's geysers but Old Faithful is probably the most famous and popular. It erupts roughly every ninety minutes throwing gallons of waters 130 feet into the air. Definitely a sight worth seeing as well as taking a wander around the rest of the Upper Geyser Basin.
2. Grand Prismatic Spring
The Grand Prismatic Spring is located in the Midway Geyser Basin and is the largest single hot spring in Yellowstone National Park. The extraordinary images of this spring render you lost in the beauty of it all, stunning orange, yellow and blue hues are created by the steam reflecting the colours of the rainbow, it truly seems like you are looking down the lense of a kaleidoscope.
1. Yellowstone Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is the first large canyon on the Yellowstone River and is hailed as the most breathtaking sight in the park. With intense yellow and pink stained rock faces spanning up to a width of 4000 feet as well as striking views of the Lower, Upper and Crystal Falls, it's easy to understand why this awe-inspiring sight is the number one thing to see not only in Yellowstone but Wyoming itself.
By Nicole Wilson