Road Trip Through Wyoming: Exploring the Cowboy State

Traveling down Chief Joseph Highway. Photo by Wyoming Tourism
Traveling down Chief Joseph Highway. Photo by Wyoming Tourism

Everyone remembers their summer road trips as a child. A time when facing backwards in the family station wagon was a summertime ritual. A trip complete with memories that comprised of natural wonders, historic sites, outdoor adventures and stops for milkshakes. The times may be far different than they were back then, but the Great American Road Trip lives on – and Wyoming is the perfect place to make it happen.

Road tripping in Wyoming is nothing new. Families have been exploring the Cowboy State by car for decades. The Wyoming Office of Tourism has made planning for it even easier with their creation of four different routes through the state. Each route features some of the state’s main attractions, as well as lesser-known stops that are intended to get visitors off the beaten path.

Be sure to stop by welcome centers along each of the routes for distinctive keepsakes. These nostalgic, retro-style stickers depicting classic Wyoming attractions and towns will help commemorate the trip.

The Park to Park route begins in Southeast Wyoming, then travels through the state capitol of Cheyenne and ends in America’s first national park, Yellowstone, home to Old Faithful. This route has its fair share of history, culture and million-dollar views. Also, if the timing is right, visitors can catch the world’s largest outdoor rodeo and western celebration, Cheyenne Frontier Days, July 18-27.

For outdoor adventurists, the Rockies to Tetons route offers plenty of rock climbing and biking opportunities. Originating in Cheyenne, this route boasts beautiful campgrounds and biking/hiking trails that can be found in both Curt Gowdy State Park and the Snowy Range Mountains. The option of ending this route in Yellowstone National Park, the town of Jackson, and/or Grand Teton National Park leaves even more room for exploration.

Enjoying the day at Yellowstone. Photo by Wyoming Tourism
Enjoying the day at Yellowstone. Photo by Wyoming Tourism.

Visitors who are looking to start their trip from Salt Lake City should consider the Salt to Stone route. From Bear River State Park in Evanston and Fossil Butte National Monument near Kemmerer, to the fishing opportunities in Pinedale, this route is nothing short of the classic Western experience. Along this route, there is ample opportunity for visitors to watch wildlife, like elk and bison. Visitors might even consider checking in for a couple of nights at a guest ranch with friends or family.

For those visitors traveling from South Dakota, the Black to Yellow route is the ideal choice. Featuring an archaeological site detailing the late-prehistoric Plains, as well as the Historic Occidental Hotel and the Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum, this route is chock-full of one-of-a-kind historical attractions. Don’t miss America’s first national monument, Devils Tower, while rolling through the northeast corner of the state. The northern plains of Wyoming are a mecca for horseback riding, fishing, camping and other outdoor recreation.

No matter which route you choose, “Wyoming’s Great American Road Trip” will make planning a trip to the Cowboy State easier than ever before and bring out the explorer in everyone. So, pack those bags, roll down the windows, find the perfect playlist and buckle up. The open road is calling.

Author Bio: Chris Mickey is the media and public relations manager at Wyoming Office of Tourism

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Janna Graber

Janna Graber is an award-winning American travel journalist and current editor of Go World Travel Magazine. Since moving to Austria at age 19 for college, she's been in love with world travel, and has covered destinations around the globe for more than 55 newspapers, magazines and websites. She's the author of three travel anthology books, including "A Pink Suitecase: 22 Tales of Women's Travel".
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