If exploring the outdoors appeals to you, you’ll want to take the time to visit the most famous landmarks in Wyoming.
This underrated, often overlooked vacation spot boasts nature you won’t find anywhere else in the country. A visit to Wyoming isn’t complete without visiting certain attractions.
Famous Landmarks in Wyoming
1. Yellowstone National Park
It’s safe to say that the most well-known landmark in Wyoming is Yellowstone National Park. Spanning three states, the park is 3,472 square miles long. However, the vast majority of the park lies in Montana.
Here you will find hiking and biking trails, horseback riding, and even river cruises. The system of walk-able trails runs for 1300 miles.
Also Read: Landmarks in South Dakota
You can choose to explore the park on your own or take one of the guided tours. This includes a wildlife tour, tours of the park’s geysers and wildlife, and private, and luxury tours.
Within Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon, there are three breathtaking waterfalls that you have to see to believe.
The park’s tallest is the Lower Falls, which dates back to 1870 and drops 308 feet into the water. In comparison, Niagara Falls is less than half the height of the Lower Falls.
While the closest spot to view it is the Lower Falls Brink, it can also be seen from Artist and Red Rock points as well as the Brink’s and Uncle’s Tom Trails, which is a tribute to the man who built the trail.
While the drop of the Lower Falls is 308 feet, the drop of the Upper Falls is only 109 feet. The Upper Falls can also be some from Uncle Tom’s Trail.
And last, but not least, is the Crystal Falls, which you’ll find between the other two. The water coming from Cascade Creek was responsible for the building of the Crystal Falls.
2. Devils Tower National Monument
The Devils Tower National Monument is a significant part of the Native American culture of Wyoming. Located in the Belle Fourche River Valley, this monument stands 1,267 feet above ground level.
Surrounding the monument is a park that spans two square miles. In 1906, President Roosevelt declared it the first national monument in the nation.
With its Tower Trail spanning 1.2 miles, Devils Tour is a popular destination for hikers. You can see the entire Tower by taking the three-mile-long Red Beds Trail. While you are at it, consider taking yourself on a tour to see the monument’s forest.
While you’re there, take the opportunity to climb its 1,000-foot stone pillar the 275 feet to the top.
And even if you have never been to Wyoming, you know what Devils Tower looks like if you’ve ever seen the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”
3. Grand Teton National Park
Almost as famous as Yellowstone, the Grand Teton National Park boasts a lake and mountain Range. Having officially become a national park in 1929, it spans 310 thousand acres that hold everything from freshwater streams to meadows full of wildflowers.
One of the most distinctive aspects of the park is that the rocks found there have existed for close to 2.7 billion years. Its Snake River is home to many species of water animals, some of which have been around since prehistoric times.
A visit to Grand Teton includes seeing Jenny Lake, which is surrounded by a visitor’s center, campgrounds, and places to rent a kayak or motorboat. It also has a hiking trail that spans 7.6 miles and takes you past the Jenny Lake/Cascade Canyon Overlook.
The Cascade Canyon Trail is a great place to get a glimpse of the 100-foot Hidden Falls waterfall.
When you drive to the park, you’ll also be able to make the trip up to Signal Mountain, a quick 5-mile drive. Alternatively, you can also reach Signal Mountain on a bike.
4. Buffalo Bill Center of the West
The Buffalo Bill Center is the home of five well-known museums. Chronicling the life of Buffalo Bill, you’ll also learn about the lives of Pawnee Bill, Annie Oakley, and Sitting Bull. Known for their work in the Wild West Show, all three have left a lasting legacy.
William F. Cody, a.k.a. Buffalo Bill, carried his self-named Wild West traveling show for years in order to educate people on daily life living in the West. His museum includes pictures and stories about his life.
You’ll also view exhibits explaining how his work in stage plays made him famous. The museum even includes his saddle and tack, from his horseback riding days. Visitors also get to see an example of one of the hunting camps he frequented.
5. Fort Laramie National Historic Site
The expansion of the west is chronicled in the Fort Laramie National Historic Site. Its original purpose was to host those that traveled to Wyoming from trails in California, and Oregon, including many of the Mormon faith.
When you tour this site, your first stop is the visitor’s center. You’ll find it at the site’s Commissary Storehouse, which dates back to 1884. Once you make it past the visitor’s center you’ll see people dressed as they did in the 1800s.
12 of the site’s buildings dating back to between 1849 and the 1880s are open for exploration. Afterward, you can move on to the hiking trail that starts at the Old Island Bridge and takes you past the Laramie and Platte Rivers.
And if you’re traveling with children, have them participate in a program that allows them to act as Fort Laramie Junior Rangers. All your children have to do to earn a badge is to complete a Fort Laramie-themed scavenger hunt.
6. Old Faithful
The Washburn Expedition discovered Old Faithful in 1870, two years before Yellowstone became a national park. You’ll find Old Faithful in the park’s Upper Geyser Basin.
When it erupts, the process lasts anywhere from 1 1/2 to five minutes and can be between 100 and 180 feet in height, with most eruptions being between 130 and 140 feet. Typically, an eruption that lasts 1 1/2 minutes will dispel approximately 3,700 gallons of water. At 4 1/2 minutes long, the average eruption expels 8,400 gallons.
You’ll generally have 20 opportunities per day to see the eruption take place. When the visitor’s center is open, you can stop in to see what time the next eruption is expected. The park’s naturalist staff is constantly working to predict when the next eruption should occur.
7. Independence Rock State Historic Site
Located on Wyoming’s emigrant trails, the Independence Rock State Historic Site’s name is said to be based on a historic legend. The legend states that the emigrants traveling to Wyoming had to arrive no later than the Fourth of July.
In reality, the site got its name from fur trappers who turned it into their campgrounds for the holiday. Many of these individuals carved their names into rocks they found on site.
Independence Rock takes up 24.8 acres of land and has a circumference of over a mile. And while camping isn’t allowed at the site, hiking is. However, there is a strict policy against doing anything to physically harm any of the rocks that make up the site.
8. Guernsey Ruts
Guernsey Ruts, or Deep Rut Hill, as it’s more commonly known, got its name due to the ruts caused by wagons passing through on their way to the Oregon Trail.
The ruts were also caused by emigrants who were desperately trying to make the trip up the steep passage easier on themselves. Since 1966, Guernsey Ruts have been considered a National Historic Landmark.
When you visit, you’re encouraged to hike the Guernsey Ruts Trail. Being almost completely flat, you don’t need to be an experienced hiker to enjoy it. An additional trail will give you better insight into what those who traveled through the Oregon Trail experienced.
9. Bighorn Medicine Wheel
The Bighorn Medicine Wheel was built by the Native American community. Its original purpose was to help predict astronomical events before they occurred. It’s best to visit this attraction during the summer since it spends most of the winter covered in snow.
The arrangement of the stones forms a wheel 80 feet wide, with 28 spokes. The center of the wheel is comprised of a pile of rocks in the shape of a ring. Altogether, six piles make up the duration of the wheel.
There are many medicine wheels on earth, but none has been maintained more than the Bighorn Medicine Wheel. Even today, groups of indigenous people use it to predict the summer solstice.
10. Bridger-Teton National Forest
Spanning 3.4 million acres, the Bridger – Teton National Forest has three main wilderness areas in Teton, Bridger, and Gros Ventre.
Depending on what time of year you visit, you may see wildlife that includes elk, trumpeter swans, bald eagles, bighorn sheep, and mule deer. The forest is also home to over 355 bird species.
Hiking and camping opportunities are available at certain times of the year along with fishing and boating excursions.