Wyoming’s outdoor opportunities are endless. There’s so much to take advantage of with all the mountains, rivers, lakes, canyons, springs and desert. We are so fortunate that Wyoming is home to such a diverse natural ecosystem. Here is the ultimate bucket list for anyone in the Cowboy State who loves the great outdoors.
1. Tongue River Cave
Once in your lifetime, you need to make sure you have the opportunity to go caving. There's something so compelling, mysterious and intriguing about exploring underground passages. This is one of the more accessible caves in Wyoming, does not require a permit and is good for all skill levels. Tongue River Cave is located west of Dayton in the Bighorn National Forest. The cave is 106 feet deep and is made up of just over a mile of passages. It's known for its rare cave formations and animal species.
2. National Elk Refuge
Without national refuges, we would not be able to conserve, manage or restore certain wildlife populations. The development and expansion of Jackson cut off the elk's migration route and severely reduced the elk population which was so abundant in Wyoming. That's why it is so important to appreciate, visit and support the National Elk Refuge. It was created in 1912 to protect one of the largest elk herds on earth. The refuge is nestled right between Jackson, Bridger-Teton National Forest and Grand Teton National Park. The refuge consists of almost 25,000 acres of land and 7,500 elk. During the winter months, the refuge provides horse drawn sleigh rides to the public.
3. Sinks Canyon State Park
Sinks Canyon State Park provides a whole myriad of outdoor opportunities. The park is a recreation area located in the Wind River Mountains southwest of Lander. The canyon is named for "The Sinks" where the river disappears underground and then re-emerges further down in a pool named "The Rise." The park offers camping, hiking, rock climbing, picnicking and fishing.
4. Lake Marie
For those outdoor enthusiasts who love alpine lakes and want to get away from the more popular lakes, Lake Marie is one of the best in the state. This beautiful lake is located along Route 130 west of Laramie. Medicine Bow Peak acts as a beautiful backdrop for the lake. There's a short trail that runs around the lake and a trail that leads to the mountaintop. There are also picnic areas and campgrounds nearby.
5. Hot Springs State Park
For those who want to be immersed outdoors with a few more people around, Hot Springs State Park is a popular outdoor spot. The park is a public recreation area located in Thermopolis. Here, you can enjoy a therapeutic soak in the Bath House where the water is maintained at 104ºF. The park also features a herd of bison, a suspension foot bridge, travertine terraces, flower gardens, boat docks and picnic shelters.
6. Bridger Wilderness
Bridger Wilderness is another Wyoming bucket list item. This must-do outdoor destination is located in the Bridger-Teton National Forest with the wilderness running along the west side of the Continental Divide in the Wind River Range. This area is ideal for those who love to hike or camp.
7. Grand Teton Multi-Use Pathway
Grand Teton Multi-Use Pathway is a 20-mile asphalt trail that runs from the Jenny Lake Visitor Center through Moose and then ends in Jackson. This is for those of you who enjoy hiking and biking along a paved trail. This is also a great outdoor venue for those in wheelchairs.
8. Killpecker Sand Dunes
For a little bit more of a diverse outdoor experience, add Killpecker Sand Dunes to your bucket list. Located in southern Wyoming, Killpecker Dunes is the second largest active sand dune in the world. Recreational activities such as hunting, hiking and horseback riding are allowed as well as ATVs. Motorized vehicles are not allowed.
9. North Platte River
For those of you who enjoy getting outdoors and doing a little fishing, then the North Platte River is the place to be. American Angler Magazine once named the section of the river that runs through Casper as the "#1 Big Fish Destination in the World." The river is known for its world class fly fishing.