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  • Touring the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens’ atrium
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    Cheyenne: Urban Escapes in a Cultural Capital

  • A reenactment of a cannon firing at Fort Laramie National Historic Site in Wyoming
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    Fort Laramie: Native American and Pioneer Culture Converge

  • Checking out exhibits at the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center in Casper, Wyoming
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    Casper: Fly Fishing, Historical Trails and Majestic Landmarks

  • The impressive exhibits of the Wyoming Dinosaur Center in Thermopolis, Wyoming
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    Thermopolis: From Dinosaurs to Hot Springs

  • The Old Faithful geyser erupting at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming
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    Cody and Yellowstone National Park East Entrance – Cowboy Culture and Natural Wonders

  • The majestic mountains reflecting in a waterway at Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
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    Bonus Leg: Moran and Grand Teton National Park

  • A scenic overlook outside Dubois, Wyoming
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    Dubois: Bighorn Sheep and Badlands

Overlooking the North Platte River in Fremont Canyon, Wyoming
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Following Wyoming’s Park to Park Highway

By

  • Route distance:
    1,320.00
  • Suggested Time:
    1-2 weeks

Travel across Wyoming to encounter two national parks and so much more.

As you travel across Wyoming on your way to visit Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, you’ll get a sense of what makes this state so unique. Journey along historic and scenic byways, encountering dinosaur fossils in the Bighorn Basin, exploring small towns, soaking in natural hot springs and eventually venturing to the untamed beauty of the Dubois Badlands.

01
Touring the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens’ atrium
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Cheyenne: Urban Escapes in a Cultural Capital

Fly into Denver International Airport (DEN) and rent a car for a one-and-a-half-hour drive to Cheyenne, Wyoming. Once in town, board the Cheyenne Street Railway Trolley for a quick sightseeing tour of the State Capitol building, historic architecture and cool museums. Stop off at the Cheyenne Depot Plaza, a National Historic Landmark that serves as a vibrant hub for food trucks, events and the Cheyenne Depot Museum.

Enjoy Cheyenne in full bloom at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens. Beyond, the rose and herb gardens, there’s an intricate labyrinth to explore. The Grand Conservatory is the highlight, complete with a giant submarine periscope for sweeping views of the city.

Western fans will love Cheyenne Frontier Days held annually in July. It’s the world’s largest outdoor rodeo event and definitely worth planning a trip around. More than a rodeo extravaganza, it’s a celebration of Western culture at its best. Take advantage of the festivities including nightly concerts from rock and country music stars, a lively grand parade, chuck wagon cookoff and areas like the Indian Village and Frontier Town celebrating local culture.

On your way to your next stop, immerse yourself further into local history with a tour of the Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site in Laramie. This former prison of the Wild West era once held the infamous Butch Cassidy.

270 km
2.67 hours by car
02
A reenactment of a cannon firing at Fort Laramie National Historic Site in Wyoming
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Fort Laramie: Native American and Pioneer Culture Converge

North of Cheyenne, between the towns of Torrington and Wheatland, you’ll find a major point of historical significance for Wild West buffs. Established as a fur-trading post in the 1830s, Fort Laramie National Historic Site eventually became a military post and major hub for Oregon Trail travelers. This crossroads of cultures also witnessed the resistance of Native Americans as the pioneers encroached on their territories. Give yourself a couple hours to explore the 12 restored 19th century buildings on site, as well as other ruins. An audio tour and interpretive programs are also available, and in the summer months, staff dressed in period costumes help bring the site to life. There’s also a hiking trail to the confluence of the Platte and Laramie Rivers, an ideal spot for birdwatching.

In and around Wheatland, take advantage of some time to relax in the outdoors, whether golfing, fishing and boating. Make a stop at Glendo State Park, one of the most historic state parks in Wyoming with cultural artifacts from Arapaho, Cheyenne, Oglala and Brule Sioux Native American tribes. Nested along the North Platte River, it’s also an ideal place for water activities, mountain biking or just to stretch your legs on the way to Casper.

176 km
1.83 hours by car
03
Checking out exhibits at the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center in Casper, Wyoming
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Casper: Fly Fishing, Historical Trails and Majestic Landmarks

Wyoming’s second largest city, Casper is your quintessential Wyoming mountain town filled with Western experiences and adventures in nature. Get a taste of the pioneer life at the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center, where you can climb into the Conestoga Wagon Ride that simulates crossing the North Platte River or relay a message through the Pony Express. The museum also serves as Casper’s official visitor center, where you’ll be able to learn about other historic sites such as Independence Rock State Historic Site. On their journey West, Oregon Trail pioneers aimed to reach this large granite landmark by July 4th.

For an outdoor jaunt, go hiking on Casper Mountain, or venture to Fremont Canyon, where the North Platte River cuts through majestic granite canyons. A pedestrian bridge gives you convenient access to outstanding views; it’s also a strategic spot for shutterbugs looking to get the perfect image. Hiking, fishing (especially, fly fishing for Wyoming’s famed rainbow trout) and climbing are popular pursuits.

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210 km
2 hours by car
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The impressive exhibits of the Wyoming Dinosaur Center in Thermopolis, Wyoming
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Thermopolis: From Dinosaurs to Hot Springs

As you edge your way northwest toward Yellowstone, stop in the friendly town of Thermopolis for a unique look at natural history. If you’ve ever aspired to be an archaeologist or paleontologist, or are simply a huge “Jurassic Park” fan, then you’ll be in your element at the Wyoming Dinosaur Center. Spark your curiosity at exhibits featuring actual fossils and fossils set in plaster casts. Feel like an amateur dinosaur excavator as you tour the onsite dig site (book in advance for “Dig for a Day” programs). Tour the Hall of Dinosaurs and meet a Supersaurus named Jimbo as well as 30 other mounted dinosaur skeletons.

Also in Thermopolis, drop by Hot Springs State Park, a great little stop for a relaxing visit to natural mineral water hot springs. Take a 20-minute dip at the Hot Springs Bathhouse, and explore the grounds featuring the source of the springs, a bison herd and even a swinging bridge overlooking the Big Horn River.

Sweeten your road trip with a stop in Meeteetse. Artisanal chocolate may seem like a big city amenity, but there’s delicious chocolate concoctions to be had on the frontier at Meeteetse Chocolatier. Truffles are hand-crafted with unique local ingredients: sarsaparilla, huckleberry, bourbon and even Coors beer. Traditionalists won’t be disappointed though. Small batches of peanut butter, milk chocolate and dark chocolate with caramel cream truffles are available and equally divine. Grab some for the road as your make your way into Cody and Yellowstone country.

135 km
1.83 hours by car
05
The Old Faithful geyser erupting at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming
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Cody and Yellowstone National Park East Entrance – Cowboy Culture and Natural Wonders

Cody, gateway to the east entrance of Yellowstone National Park, was founded by showman Buffalo Bill. It has the amenities of a resort town with a down-to-earth Old West vibe that’s charming and rustic. Plus, Cody is also known as the Rodeo Capitol of the World. Start your visit at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, which is actually five museums in one. Don’t miss the Plains Museum, which houses one of the finest curated collections of Plains Indian art work and artifacts.

From Cody, take the Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway for breathtaking country drives along the Shoshone River and Wapiti Valley, leading you to the eastern entrance of Yellowstone National Park, one of the most fantastical places in the USA. One of its most famous features is Old Faithful, a geyser that shoots out anywhere between 14,000 and 31,800 liters of geothermal water up 56 meters into the air approximately every 90 minutes. It’s definitely got a wow factor. Another popular geothermal feature is the Grand Prismatic Spring. It’s the park’s largest hot spring, but what makes it so alluring is its rainbow-like orb – bright blue water encircled by bands of brilliant red, yellow and green.

There are waterfalls here, too, most famously at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, where the Yellowstone River cuts through the golden canyon walls and tumbles to its depths. Be sure to see both the Upper & Lower Yellowstone Falls, which together account for more than 300 cascades. Lastly, don’t miss out on Lamar Valley, where extraordinary wildlife spotting combines with the resplendent beauty of the valley to produce an almost cinematic effect in your photos.

Make Cody or one of the park’s lodges your home base for exploring; you’ll need a few days to see it all before traveling through the park to Moran.

151 km
3.65 hours by car
06
The majestic mountains reflecting in a waterway at Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
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Bonus Leg: Moran and Grand Teton National Park

This route takes you a little out of your way, but the majestic beauty of Grand Teton National Park is your reward. Moran is your small-town gateway to the park, where there’s no shortage of epic scenery or activities to fill up your days as well as your camera roll.

Jenny Lake is an ideal jumping off point. Split into two regions, South and North Jenny Lake, this gorgeous lake includes a visitor center, campground, docks and ranger station in the southern section. The northern section is a bit more rustic but still a wonderful locale to boat, camp or picnic. Naturally, the park also features a variety of trails to get closer to nature. Hike along the 31.7-kilometer Paintbrush Canyon-Cascade Canyon Loop for spectacular lakes, ethereal wildflowers and sweeping views. Or, for an easier but still stunningly scenic route, tackle the Taggart Lake Trail, which is perfect for families and kids who want to take a swim or dip a toe in Taggart Lake.

Give yourself time to explore here by staying overnight at Jenny Lake Lodge, Jackson Lake Lodge or Signal Mountain Lodge within the park, or book a stay at a nearby dude ranch or family resort. Your epic adventure is almost at a close.

90 km
1 hour by car
07
A scenic overlook outside Dubois, Wyoming
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Dubois: Bighorn Sheep and Badlands

Amid the Wind River Valley, Dubois can feel thrillingly remote, but it’s only an hour from both Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Teton National Parks. Even just wandering around town will pique your interest with its Western charm and historic buildings. If you’ve landed here in the winter, you can snowmobile, Nordic ski and snowshoe in the surrounding landscape, while summer is ideal for wildlife watching. Bighorn sheep are revered here, and the town pays tribute to the animal with a fascinating museum. A large bronze ram statue greets you at the entrance of the National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Center, where you’ll learn about this majestic animal’s biology and habitat and its influence on this region. After the museum, head to the Whiskey Mountain Habitat Area to try to see the sheep in their natural habitat.

For one last respite in the glory of the outdoors before returning home, let time slip away in the Dubois Badlands. Red rock formations, gorgeous trails and the Wind River are all likely to leave you feeling carefree and relishing the fresh air and open spaces. Whether you hike or take a trail ride, don’t miss the raw natural beauty of this unspoiled terrain. Not far from town, you’ll stumble upon some upscale accommodations set in the middle of the Shoshone Forest at the Brooks Lake Lodge. Stay a night or two to behold the natural wonders while indulging in some luxury to boot. For your return trip home, Riverton Regional Airport (RIW) and Jackson Hole Airport (JAC) both offer connecting flights to the international airports in Denver and Salt Lake City.