Wyoming, in The Great American West, isn’t just loved for what it has, but what it doesn’t have.
The cowboy state where the sky goes on forever isn’t awash in bright flashy lights and crowded streets, its for nature lovers and those who love the sound of silence. Wild and rugged, it’s old-time USA and the country’s least populated state with little more than half a million souls calling it home.
Its wide open plains punctured by the Rocky Mountains have crisp clean air to fill your lungs as you don the leather of boots and horseback saddles and get lost in the wilderness or get active on skis and mountain bikes. Wyoming is dense in Native American and frontier history with wild horses and bison found amidst its alien rock formations and down to Earth locals who would love to welcome you to their magical pocket of the West.
Here’s why exploring Wyoming should be on your bucket list.
Cowboy history and rodeos in Cheyenne
It’s the biggest city in a state without any really big cities, so don’t be surprised if you’re stopped by friendly locals in the streets of Cheyenne and asked about that curious accent of yours and what brings you to their neck of the woods.
The long streets of Wyoming’s capital are steeped in history with the Old West and Cowgirls museums’ sweeping you back over a century to the dusty days of cattle, sheep and mining.
The feather in Cheyenne’s wide brimmed cap is that it’s been home to the world’s largest outdoor rodeo, Cheyenne Frontier Days, held for nine days in late July so saddle up and enjoy this celebration of Western culture.
Venture Insight: The Wrangler in downtown Cheyenne can help you get kitted out in authentic Western gear for your visit to the rodeo.
Rock Climbing at Devils Tower
Big rocks aren’t just made to be looked at, they’re made to be climbed. Just one of Wyoming’s many out of this world rock formations and by far its most famous, Devils Tower, or Bear Lodge as the Indians call it, was made famous in Steven Spielberg’s classic 1970s alien flick Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
With hundreds of cracks coursing through the side of this giant tree stump looking monolith, some over 100m long, clambering over it’s rough skin is a rock climbers dream.
Needless to say, reaching the top of America’s first national monument where you can take in the endless plains around it would make for quite the “I’m the king of the world” moment, and who knows if a UFO will drop down from the sky while you’re there.
Venture Insight: Devils Tower closes in June out of respect for American Indian cultural activities which occur during the month.
Skiing in Jackson
Three ski areas will be at your fingertips from the small town of Jackson in Wyoming’s Jackson Hole Valley including the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Snow King Mountain Resort and Grand Targhee Resort.
With back-country runs showcasing the wild beauty of the Rockies and the Teton National Forest, the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has become one of the most highly rated mountains in America and is known for pushing you to the limits.
With this burst of popularity they’ve carved out areas for more varying skill levels so don’t be put off if you’re not a black-level pro just yet.
Venture Insight: A full-day lift ticket to the Snow King Mountain Resort is considerably cheaper than the other two resorts.
Summer Fun in Grand Teton National Park
Where do you begin in the Tetons? In summer this natural playground will have your blood pumping and mind racing at all the ways you can be consumed by its beauty.
From mountain climbing, hiking and biking its over 300km of alpine trails from river walks to trekking up to the glorious views of Death Canyon, paddle boarding the crystal waters of its peaceful lakes or pumping those legs and running off the side of a mountain and soaring high above on a paraglide like a bird. The 30km Inner Park Loop Road also offers a relaxed way to drive through the Tetons, or try a wildlife tour looking out for grizzly and black bears, wolves, moose and elk.
Then there’s horse back riding, picnics, sunsets and photography as well. We might’ve missed something but you get the idea; there are so many things to do in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park.
Venture Insight: If you want to try and scale the top of Grand Teton then you’ll need to book weeks or months in advance.
Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park
Looking like red, yellow and orange flames flaring their way out from a crystal blue watery eye, Yellowstone National Park’s Grand Prismatic Spring is a natural wonder which seems to come from an artist’s wild imagination.
But the sapphire pool and its warping border of colours are the effect of bacteria and microbes which call the boiling mineral-rich waters of the hot spring home.
It is without a doubt one of the most beautiful sights in all of the USA, with Yellowstone also boasting the Old Faithful geyser, Mammoth Hot Springs and its own Grand Canyon.