The Cowboy State may be just a few hours north of Denver, but it feels like it’s a world away.
That’s because Wyoming has held on to its authenticity. The state’s wide-open spaces still give you the feel of a West that you can explore without the crowds. Adventure here is rugged and real, sprinkled with towns and communities where you can wind down—and all of it is easy to access. As things open up this summer, it’s the perfect destination for responsible recreation. To that end, we suggest you point the grill north, travel safe, and discover a new beautiful place to find yourself.
Step into the wilderness of the west. This town has an outdoor adventure for everyone.
Sheridan, Wyoming is where the Wild West and the popular West meet in a spectacular cultural collision. Here beneath the backdrop of the dramatic Bighorn Mountains, the echoes of that confluence are still ringing strong. This is one of the most authentic Western cities in the U.S.
Stories of gunfights and saloon brawls adorn the town itself, which is a beautiful mountain ranching community today. It’s peaceful and serene—the kind of place that makes you want to put your feet up and stay a while, listening to the songs of the Rocky Mountain swallows and chickadees.
Venture just outside town, though, and you enter a wide world of recreation. From downtown, you’re only 30 minutes away from hiking Soldier Ridge, South Piney Canyon or Tongue River Canyon. Or, for the more ambitious scramblers, Cloud Peak offers unrivaled views of the surrounding area. At 13,171 feet, this is the highest summit in the Bighorns and the scenery from the top is well-worth the effort of the climb. You can even make it a multi-night backpacking adventure.
For rock climbers, the Bighorn Mountain range is a massive playground, full of routes varying in length and difficulty. For mountain bikers Bighorn National Forest encompasses thousands of miles of single-track trails to explore. For fly fishermen there’s the deep runs of the Tongue River, Piney Creek and Bighorn Lake, all loaded with walleye, sauger, ling, perch, browns, and rainbow trout.
Of course, the camping in and around Sheridan is also abundant. Unlike other popular outdoor destinations, though, you likely won’t have to share your outdoor space with too many neighbors. The wilderness is so vast here, there is so much to do, and relatively so few people are out enjoying all of it. So go ahead, escaping into the secluded wilderness here is as simple as stepping out your door.
Welcome to Wyoming’s oasis of outdoor recreation.
Among the rolling plains and rocky outcrops of Sweetwater County, Wyoming, you’ll find ancient petroglyphs, striking landscape views, and roaming wild horses—it’s a living oil painting of the authentic American west.
And it’s much more than just a pretty thing to look at.
Between Rock Springs and Green River, from Eden, to the Flaming Gorge, Sweetwater County is rich with outdoor recreation. Mountain bikers can rip miles of high desert trails; fly-fishermen can cast lines into bountiful Rocky Mountain waters; and families can hike, camp, and unwind out in the wilderness.
Explore the Flaming Gorge National Recreation area and reservoir, by boat, foot, or horse. Camp along the shores of the res and cook under the clearest, brightest stars you’ve ever seen. Or, inspire your inner-pioneer and venture out to Eden Valley—a place that’s every bit as beautiful as the name suggests. It’s easy to find your adventure inspiration in the wide-open spaces of Sweetwater County.
Escape the crowds, find adventure, and get your fix of wide-open spaces.
If you’re looking to step off the beaten path and escape into an unpeopled Western wilderness, Albany County, Wyoming, should be at the top of your list.
Whatever your outdoor fixation—be it mountain biking, fly fishing, camping, horseback riding, hiking, boating, stand-up paddleboarding, you name it—you’ll find it in Albany County. With Medicine Bow National Forest at your doorstep, and scattered state parks and recreation areas to base out of, adventure here is always right around the corner.
Bike across some of the most scenic parts of the Laramie Plains. Cast lines into the Big Laramie River, Laramie Plains Lakes, or the Greenbelt. Rock climb among the Vedauwoo Rocks, or camp in sites ranging from the Snowy Mountains, to the banks of the Medicine Bow River.
Opportunities for recreation abound, and the crowds that often flock to popular destinations like Yellowstone, have yet to descend on this part of Wyoming. Maintaining your social distance out here is no problem.
This biking, hiking, and fishing mecca is closer than you might imagine.
With a history as rich as its landscape, it’s no wonder Cheyenne has been an epicenter of the American West since it was first staked in 1867. It’s the furthest northern anchor of the Front Range—only 90 miles from Denver, within easy reach of Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park, and just a day trip from Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Even South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills are within striking range.
It’s a wonder this place isn’t overrun year-round with crowds coming to recreate—but Cheyenne remains a hidden gem of the west. Venture up here, and you’ll find the open spaces are as vast as your will to explore.
Surrounding the city proper you’ll find miles of snaking roads and single-track trails that give easy access for mountain bikers. There’s steep, rocky and technical downhill, and gentle rolling roads—something for every personality and every skill level. No matter what trail you’re on, though, the scenery is picturesque, like something out of a Western novel.
One of the most bountiful areas for recreation near Cheyenne is Curt Gowdy State Park. Just a 25-minute drive from town, this public recreation area spans 3,395 acres. Within it, visitors will find 159 state-maintained campsites; 32 miles of awesome mountain biking, hiking, and horseback trails; several bouldering areas; and one of the region’s largest archery ranges. There’s also Granite and Crystal Lake Reservoirs, connected by Middle Crow Creek, which offer tons of opportunities for boating, fishing, canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding, and kayaking.
Of course, when you’ve had your fill of outdoor adventure, you’ll find a vibrant craft brewery, distillery, and restaurant scene back in town. Pop in and get a taste for the local flavors of Cheyenne, and explore everything the Magic City of the Plains has to offer.
Cover Photo by Allen Meyer, courtesy Visit Cheyenne