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7 Of The Quirkiest Towns In Wyoming

by Staff

Wyoming exists at a fascinating intersection of different facets of Americana. Much of the state is emblematic of the spirit of the Old West, featuring vast prairies building into towering mountain cliffs under gorgeous, moving skies. Then, that same prairie opens up into one of the strangest natural phenomena on earth, with the sputtering, flowing beauty of the geysers of Yellowstone National Park. The towns of Wyoming represent this diversity, and exploring them is an adventure in itself. 

Jackson

Aerial view of Jackson, Wyoming.

In northwestern Wyoming, surrounded by the Grand Tetons, is the small mountain town of Jackson. The town is tucked into the gorgeous Jackson Hole valley, bordered on all sides by some of the most beautiful mountain views in the world. A mecca for skiing and snowboarding, Jackson is a perfect spot to stay to experience the heights of winter excitement. The nearby National Elk Refuge offers another way to see the region’s unique sights, with the peaks of elk activity being from mid-December to early April. While Jackson shines during the winter months, there is still lots to see year-round, including the historic Miller Cabin, an old ranch house that today functions as a museum. The Jackson Hole Rodeo attracts visitors from all around and is a great way to experience the Western culture that infuses Jackson and its surrounding region. 

Rock Springs

Aerial view of Rock Springs, Wyoming
Aerial view of Rock Springs, Wyoming.

South of Jackson, in the vast plains of Wyoming, is the town of Rock Springs. The town, founded as a coal-mining center, has become a hub of history and culture while still remaining something of a hidden gem. The mining and then railroad-focussed history of Rock Springs led to a diversity of residents not typically seen in other small American towns, and this multiculturalism is still celebrated today. Locally owned spots, such as the regionally famous Boschetto’s European Market & Deli, are still operated by descendants of immigrants. The nearby Killpecker Sand Dunes are some of the biggest in the country, and the Boar’s Tusk, a volcanic core towering above the dunes, is one of the most breathtaking sights Wyoming has to offer. 

Lander

Little Popo Agie River, near Lander, Wyoming
Little Popo Agie River, near Lander, Wyoming.

Just south of the Wind River Reservation in central Wyoming is the town of Lander, an emblem of the region’s Wild West lineage. The Fremont County Pioneer Museum and the Museum of the American West are both great stops to learn about this history, though just walking the town’s main street and gazing at the distant mountains under a lively changing sky will put visitors into the boots of an old cowboy. Lander is home to several prominent artists and art galleries, and a spot that should not be missed is the Eagle Bronze Foundry, where local artisans work to craft magnificent sculptures out of bronze and stainless steel. Just south down the road is Sinks Canyon, a gorgeous state park perfect for immersing yourself in the rivers and foothills of Wyoming. 

Cody

The historical town of Cody, Wyoming
The historical town of Cody, Wyoming. Editorial credit: milosk50 / Shutterstock.com

For even more of this cowboy atmosphere, visitors should not miss Cody, which takes its name from the legendary Buffalo Bill Cody. Continuing the spirit of the great western showman, the town boasts itself as the “Rodeo Capital of the World” and features rodeo events every single night from June 1st to August 31st. In downtown Cody is the Irma Hotel, built by Buffalo Bill in 1902. Open for lodging and dining, and featuring a lounge, the hotel also hosts regular Gunfighters’ shows and live music. Just down the street from Irma is the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, a series of five museums that celebrate the region’s Western heritage. Each museum has a focus, spanning different cultures, natural history, and even a gallery of Western art; the Center is a must-stop for every visitor to Cody. 

Sheridan

Wyoming’s legendary meeting place, the Mint Bar, in Sheridan, Wyoming. Editorial credit: Sandra Foyt / Shutterstock.com

In northern Wyoming, on the edge of the beautiful Bighorn National Forest and the base of the Bighorn Mountains is the small town of Sheridan. A gateway to endless outdoor adventures, the town is the perfect spot for those looking to experience the rugged beauty afforded by the mountainous regions of Wyoming. The Soldier Ridge Trailhead is a great hike in the foothills of the Bighorns, and the Red Grade Trail System allows for some slightly more difficult hiking a bit further into the National Forest. Keep an eye out for the wildlife that inhabits the wilderness around these trails, including but not limited to black bears, moose, elk, and deer. For sights of a different kind of animal, be sure to visit Sheridan in May during the annual Eaton’s Horse Drive, where hundreds of cowboys and their trusty steeds ride right through the heart of town. 

Pinedale

Pine Street, Pinedale, Wyoming
Pine Street, Pinedale, Wyoming. Image credit: Tarabholmes via Wikimedia Commons.

One of only four municipalities in Wyoming that serve as gateways to the Continental Divide Trail, Pinedale is a perfect stop for seasoned hikers and hobbyists alike. The town is just south of the Grand Teton National Park and has close access to both Wyoming Peak and Gannett Peak, the state’s highest, both popular destinations for backpackers. A short drive away is Fremont Lake, which is perfect for fishers, swimmers, and those who just want a beach to sit on. The lake is also surrounded by gorgeous campsites, which dot much of the stunning landscape surrounding Pinedale. The Sommers Living History Museum and the Museum of the Mountain Man are both immersive ways to learn about the history and culture of the region, putting all that you see on your trip into a fascinating context. 

Thermopolis

Thermopolis wyoming
Hot Springs State Park in Thermopolis, Wyoming.

Taking its name from the Greek for “Hot City,” the town of Thermopolis lives up to its quirky moniker. Located on top of a natural mineral hot spring and directly bordering Hot Springs State Park, the town is the perfect spot to relax and take a soak. Indoor and outdoor pools and baths are available at the State Park’s free bathhouse or at spots like Hellie’s TePee and Star Plunge. Before or after a plunge in the springs, take a trip to the Wyoming Dinosaur Center, a museum that features one of the largest fossil collections in the world. For a glimpse of some non-extinct fauna, keep an eye out for the many herds of bison that frequent the Thermopolis area, especially around the State Park. 

The small towns of Wyoming are as varied and intriguing as the state itself. Running the gamut from honest-to-goodness cowboy hangouts to centers of outdoor exploration and bubbling hot springs, there are points of fascination for every traveler. There is also a deep, ever-expanding history that exists beneath these towns, ready to be uncovered and shared. 

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