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Battlestar Galactica actress Katee Sackhoff once said of Wyoming, “We’ve got bears, we’ve got a lot of shotguns.” The same holds true for wilderness and outdoor adventure. The state boasts 27.6 million acres of public lands—and only a fraction lie in marquee regions like Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. Near lesser-known spots, like Sheridan and Dubois, you’ll find federal parks, monuments, forests, and Bureau of Land Management plots that stretch, seemingly, with no end. But not every Wyoming town has the culture or amenities to satisfy today’s savvy outdoor traveler. Seasoned ones—like Colorado’s Front Rangers—want top-end hiking, biking, and backpacking trails plus trout-filled streams, pristine whitewater and an authentic Wild West feel. If the person we just described is you, look no further than this special travel guide to Wyoming, which features its lesser-known but spectacular mountain-adventure retreats, some that might surprise you as much as a shotgun in the back of a truck.

Sweetwater County

Get Festy in Rock Springs and Green River

Take the adventurous route to the national parks of Wyoming, and stay in Sweetwater County this summer. With events including concerts, rodeos and festivals happening each day, even our outdoor adventure has to share top billing. Plan your summer with these Sweetwater County happenings:

Flaming Gorge Days, June 22-24, 2017: “Southwest Wyoming’s Weekend of Fun!” features kid’s games, parades and live performances from The Spazmatics, American Dueling Pianos and comedian Sam Adam.

International Days, July 8, 2017: Celebrate the diverse heritage of Rock Springs, Wyoming, known as the “Home of 56 Nationalities.” Immerse yourself in international cuisine, costumes, exhibits and performances all day long.

Wyoming’s Big Show, July 29-August 5, 2017: With plenty of rodeo action, carnival rides, a wide variety of delicious dining and evening concerts from Dan + Shay, Bush, Locash and Scott McCreery, the Big Show delivers.

Sweetwater Blues N’ Brews, August 12, 2017: Join us in Bunning Park in Rock Springs when national blues bands and local and regional breweries come together to form one tasty summer festival for live music and beer fans alike.

River Festival, August 18-19, 2017: Great food and drinks, activities, music, and fireworks are all jam-packed into the River Festival. With a Cajun Shrimp Boil, Car Shows and a marathon, there’s fun for all ages and interests.

Nearly Eclipsed, August 21, 2017: Sweetwater County is the perfect basecamp to witness the 2017 total solar eclipse. Experience 96 percent of the total solar eclipse and enjoy a variety of outdoor adventures as well as family-friendly, affordable dining and lodging offers.

Because, on your way to the national parks, it’s not just about getting there. It’s about getting out. Don’t just vacation. Adventure. TourWyoming.com

Sheridan

Find Adventure in the Bighorn Mountains

It’s called “Wyoming’s Jewel” for a reason. Twenty-five miles from the Montana border, Sheridan sits at the edge of the 1.1-million-acre Bighorn National Forest and its top-notch camping, fishing, hiking, rock climbing and wildlife watching. With a population of 18,000 people, the town is about as Western as you can get. “It’s pretty cowboy,” says Shawn Parker, executive director of Sheridan Travel & Tourism. “We have one of the biggest rodeos in the west. But the arts are huge, with a lot of support through philanthropy.” Sheridan also boasts one of the oldest dude ranches—Eaton’s—in the world. The outdoor recreation opportunities are off the hook, but you could say they’re still in their relative infancy. Which is yet another boon to this relatively secluded spot. While the Boulders, Jacksons and Bozemans of the world offer outdoor rec opportunities and races, they are crowded. Meanwhile, camping, hiking or backpacking in the Bighorns can be an out-of-body experience. “You’re far removed from civilization the second you get out of your car,” says Parker. “You can still find incredible solitude and empty trails here.” Try car-camping at Sibley Lake, with access to a 60-mile backpacking loop into the heart of the Bighorns. If fishing, mountain biking or horsepacking is more your thing, hit up Fly Shop of the Bighorns, Sheridan Bicycle Co. or The Sport Shop, for gear, instruction or inside tips. Black Tooth Brewing Company employs a group of avid rock climbers, trail runners and mountain bikers and hosts a 24-hour Tooth to Tooth adventure race with 13,000 feet of elevation gain… or you can enter the Dead Swede 100- or 40-mile gravel grinder race… or try the Big Horn Scenic 52-mile trail run. The options for adventure are wide open up here. sheridanwyoming.org