Experience the American west with a trip to Wyoming, known for its open country, wide vistas, jewel-blue skies and natural beauty.
One of the best ways to enjoy Wyoming’s natural wonders is through its many state parks. With a dozen state parks, visitors can get up close and experience nature and wildlife via hiking, biking and water activities. Here are 10 of Wyoming’s most breathtaking natural wonders.
Yellowstone National Park
In 1872, Yellowstone became the country’s first national park. It’s easy to see why this place – just over an hour’s drive from Jackson – captured the nation’s attention: In addition to its vast forests and stunning landscapes that welcome activities such as hiking and horseback riding, it’s a hub of hydrothermal activity. See erupting geysers, including the famed Old Faithful; steaming hot springs such as the rainbow-hued Grand Prismatic; and mud pots and fumaroles.
Thermal activity in Yellowstone National Park
Grand Teton National Park
Just south of Yellowstone National Park are the soaring, jagged mountains of Grand Teton National Park. Go rafting down the Snake River or fish for fine-spotted cutthroat trout from its banks. Take in snow-capped mountain vistas from Snake River Overlook or Schwabacher Landing, and be on the lookout for bison, moose, elk, bear and eagles.
The peaks of Grand Teton National Park as seen from the Bridger-Teton National Forest
Devils Tower National Monument
This unique rock formation, soaring 386 meters into the sky, was the country’s first national monument. The butte, about an hour from Gillette, is a popular spot for rock climbing, hiking, camping and geological study.
Hiking the trails surrounding Devils Tower National Monument
Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area
Bright red canyon walls inspired this sprawling wilderness’ name. Here, you’ll be treated to world-class fishing on the Green River, hiking trails and boating opportunities. Relax for the night at one of the area’s many campsites near Rock Springs.
Forested red canyon walls surrounding Flaming Gorge
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
With 27 kilometers of trails, Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area offers hiking and biking options for most everyone. Enjoy the water of Bighorn Lake or tour the historic ranches and ghost towns near the canyon along the Wyoming-Montana border.
Towering rock formations in Bighorn Canyon
Monument Hill and Hot Springs State Park
About 136 kilometers from Cody in Thermopolis, Monument Hill and Hot Springs State Park offer both outdoor adventure and relaxation. Hike up the hill for wide-open views of Thermopolis, home to the world’s largest mineral hot springs, and then relax in the bathhouse at Hot Springs State Park. The park is also home to Wyoming’s state bison herd.
Views of Monument Hill from Hot Springs State Park
National Elk Refuge
Head to the National Elk Refuge in Jackson to see thousands of the majestic creatures. If you visit during the winter months, explore this sprawling elk habitat on an unforgettable sleigh ride. In summer, take advantage of the area’s multi-use pathway for walking or biking, or drive along the Refuge, Curtis Canyon and Flat Creek roads.
Spotting elk in a winter wonderland on the seasonal sleigh ride
Just outside the town of Pinedale is Wyoming’s second-largest lake – the seventh deepest in the USA – which was formed by an ancient glacier. Perfectly clear-blue and framed by mountain views, Fremont Lake is a prime spot for kayaking and fishing, but you can also rent a pontoon boat to explore farther out into its expanses.
The pristine waters of Fremont Lake framed by gorgeous mountain scenery
Vedauwoo Recreation Area
Head just west of Cheyenne to marvel at these ancient Sherman granite rocks in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest. Native Americans named the area Vedauwoo, which means “land of the earthborn spirits.” It’s a majestic spot for rock climbing, hiking and horseback riding.
Overlooking one of the unique rock formations in Vedauwoo Recreation Area
Fossil Butte National Monument
Start your tour at the interpretive center, near Kemmerer, to learn about the area’s history and why it’s such a prime spot to find fossils. Then, head out into the sagebrush landscape for hiking and wildlife viewing. In summer, tour the quarry with a ranger to study the area’s geology.
The Fossil Butte Visitor Center, home to exhibits offering insight into the surrounding landscape
Popular airports in Wyoming include Casper-Natrona County International (CPR), Cheyenne Regional (CYS), Jackson Hole (JAC), Sheridan County (SHR) and Yellowstone Regional (YRA) for the Cody area. The airports have rental cars available. Because of Wyoming’s immense size, you’ll want to have your own transportation.