The Best of Wyoming’s 5 Popular, or Not So Popular, Tourist Destinations
Have you ever been to Wyoming? Chances are that if you have heard of our wonderful state, you think of certain tourist destinations. Most people likely think of Yellowstone, although some still think this natural wonder is in Montana or Idaho. To the contrary, although some of Yellowstone is in those two states, it primarily lies within the state of Wyoming. Beautiful Yellowstone comes to mind for many, but there are at least 4 other exciting tourist destinations that Wyoming has to offer. Some of these may have the traditional tourist appeal, while others are a steal for those who do the research. A large portion of the entire Mormon Trail from Illinois to Utah passes through Wyoming and was traversed by early Mormon pioneers starting in the mid 1800’s. As long as we are speaking of trails, you should know that Wyoming also offers the historic national site of Fort Laramie somewhat near Wyoming’s capital of Cheyenne and approximate to the University of Wyoming. Fort Laramie was a stop along the Mormon Trail and also the infamous Oregon and California trails. Next, if visiting Wyoming you should definitely know about Heart Mountain near Cody, Wyoming. The Heart Mountain Relocation Center was one of ten internment camps used by the U.S. military during WWII for incarceration of Japanese / American citizens, authorized by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Last, and on a more positive but no less historical note, Wyoming’s 5th and final tourist destination to be mentioned here is none other than the beautiful Jackson Hole. This is a grand area with a great deal of natural beauty, historical information, and outdoor opportunities. Wyoming has so much to offer other than what is listed here. Stop by and visit an untainted state full of historical sites and scenic wonders.
Yellowstone has long been the primary tourist attraction in Wyoming. It is a popular pick among many of the National Park Service destinations in the U.S. Recently, President Barack Obama and his family visited Yellowstone and the unique Old Faithful geyser. The geyser is deemed Old Faithful due to its timely 60-90 minute interval between eruptions since its naming in 1870. Yellowstone also has beautiful canyons, lakes, waterfalls, and wildlife for any tourist to enjoy. Tragically, in 1988 many of Yellowstone’s forests were a part of the largest wildfire in recent history of the area. Today, new growth continues to permeate in Yellowstone and tourists can gain valuable information about the processes of natural reforestation after the fire. Wolves have since been reintroduced to their natural habitat in Yellowstone, although this is still a very controversial topic for many. Many other animals and wildlife can be found in Yellowstone including everything from fresh water rainbow trout to a very large an ominous grizzly bear. Bring a camera and a friend, Yellowstone has enough to offer for your entire vacation.
- Boulder House Painters
Heritage Painting and Design
Next on our list of popular, or not so popular, tourist destinations of Wyoming we come to the famous Mormon Trail. The Mormon Trail was the 1300 mile course from Nauvoo, Illinois to Salt Lake City, Utah traversed by early pioneers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during 1846 - 1868. In Wyoming, the first stop on this historic trail was at Fort Laramie near the eastern border of Wyoming. The trail extends on through Wyoming passing near Casper, Wyoming and Independence Rock, further on through South Pass and close to another wonder of South Pass City, and finally toward western Wyoming and the Utah border at The Needles. By the way Independence Rock is a great stop along the trail where many early travelers carved their name in the rock along their treacherous journeys. This trail formed by early Mormon pioneers has many stories that can lead you to more sites and other trails used historically. Early travelers pulled hand carts themselves along the trail in absence of animals to do so. The Mormon Trail represents the hard work and dedication of pioneers and is worthy of all that it tells us about their virtues.
Speaking of Fort Laramie, let’s visit there too in our search for great attractions in Wyoming. As mentioned, Mormon pioneers stopped in Fort Laramie, along with many other early travelers from other famous trails such as the Oregon and California trails. Fort Laramie was a stopping place for many traders, trappers, cowboys, and outlaws at various times in its history. Established as a private fur trading fort in 1834, Fort Laramie became a military outpost along the Oregon Trail in 1849 due to increased tensions among settlers and Native Americans. Closed by the military in 1890, the State of Wyoming reopened Fort Laramie in 1937 and continued restoration efforts through 1977 when the National Park Service deemed Fort Laramie a historic site worthy of recognition due to its rich history from various travelers along many trails. Spend some time getting to know this old mainstay where you can still feel history in the air.
Heart Mountain near Cody, Wyoming surely brings a great deal of conversation to your visit to Wyoming. It was the site of the Heart Mountain Relocation center, an incarceration camp for Japanese Americans during WWII. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered many to be imprisoned there following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Heart Mountain is less a picturesque site to visit and more of a stop for learning, empathy, and conversation. At one point, Heart Mountain was nearly a population of 11,000 … but, today is desolate with somewhere to rescind past hatred and grow toward a better tomorrow. “Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it,” George Santayana.
Jackson Hole is the final tourist destination worthy of mention in our search of popular, or not so popular, Wyoming stops. The beautiful Jackson Hole area is near Yellowstone National Park, but likely stands alone in noteworthy attractions in Wyoming. From the history of the town’s fur trade and bands of Native American inhabitants to the areas rich beauty, to the modern ski resorts and other outdoor opportunities, Jackson Hole is a treasure in Wyoming. Many famous people reside in the area and none other than the former Vice President of the United States, Dick Cheney. Movie stars, businessmen, and others populate the area along with common town folk making for a great deal of diversity. Who knows who you might meet when gazing at the majestic Grand Tetons? Float the Snake River or stay at a Dude Ranch. Take a few days in the summer or the winter to have a great time in this vacation spot and embrace its Western culture.
So, those are the 5 popular, or not so popular, places to visit in grand Wyoming. We could go on for many more words telling you of other places across this vast state, but you should really come and search out for yourself all that we mentioned and many that haven’t been describe here. Wyoming is a great place to visit for its fresh air, modern vacation spots, friendly people, and historic value. Don’t let another year go by without spending a few days in this untainted wilderness. Maybe you will like it so much you make Wyoming your new home. It’s a great place to visit full of popular, natural, or little known places. ~Article Written by D.C., 2009
- Yellowstone National Park Vacation Resources
Yellowstone Park: Resources to help plan your travel to Yellowstone National Park for vacation.Includes hotels,maps, tours, and lodging. Get your complimentary free trip planner.
- Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail (U.S. National Park Service)
- Fort Laramie, Wyoming - Crossroads to the West
Fort Laramie was one of the first trading posts and forts in the Old West
- Heart Mountain, Wyoming Foundation
- Jackson Hole Historical Society & Museum
- Boulder House Painter