Sometimes you just don’t feel like hiking in order to see the natural beauty Wyoming has to offer. Well, you’re in luck. Take the road less traveled, sit back, relax and enjoy the view.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Beartooth Scenic Byway
Beartooth Scenic Byway is the only National Scenic Byway in Wyoming. Charles Kuralt described this byway as "the most beautiful drive in America." This two lane route is the highest paved primary road in Wyoming. The Wyoming section of this drive is 47 miles or about a 1 hour drive and winds through Custer, Shoshone and Gallatin National Forests and eventually leads up to the Northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park.
Pictured is the byway as it winds through the Shoshone National Forest in the Island Lake area. The highest point of the drive is at Beartooth Pass. The scenery along the way includes mountain landscapes, glaciers and alpine meadows. Beartooth Scenic Byway is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
2. Big Horn Scenic Byway
The Big Horn Scenic Byway is a 58 mile paved highway that runs along the crest of the Big Horn Mountains. It stretches from Powder River Basin to the Big Horn Basin. The scenery includes thick forests, meadows, waterfalls and canyons. The most scenic part is on the western end which is where you will find Shell Creek Canyon and Shell Falls. This 1 hour drive follows US 14.
3. Bridger Valley Historic Byway
Bridger Valley Historic Byway is a 20-mile loop around noteworthy historical sites throughout Fort Bridger, Urie, Mountain View and Lyman. It runs from I-80 Exit 34 and then reconnects with the interstate at Exit 48.
4. Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway
The Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway starts west of Cody along the border of the Shoshone National Forest and follows the North Fork of the Shoshone River through the Wapiti Valley and on to the East Entrance of Yellowstone National Park. The 27-mile paved highway, US 14/16/20, is a minimum of a 45 minute drive.
5. Centennial Scenic Byway
Centennial Scenic Byway stretches from Pinedale to Dubois. The byway is horseshoe shaped and includes a combination of US 26/287 and US 26/89/191. During this drive you will see badlands, ranch land and mountainous ecosystems. If driven straight through, the 163-mile drive usually takes around 4 hours.
6. Chief Joseph Scenic Byway
Chief Joseph Scenic Byway is named after the Native American Chief of the Nez Perce Tribe. The byway links Cody with the Beartooth Highway and Yellowstone National Park by crossing the Shoshone National Forest through the Absaroka Mountains to Clarks Fork Valley and then on to the northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park. This is a 47-mile paved byway that takes a minimum of 1 hour to drive.
7. Cloud Peak Skyway Scenic Byway
Cloud Peak Skyway Scenic Byway is the southern most route across Bighorn National Forest and into the Big Horn Mountains. This 47-mile stretch, also known as US 16, is a paved 2 lane highway that crests at Powder River Pass. The drive usually takes a minimum of 1 hour.
8. Flaming Gorge - Green River Basin Scenic Byway
The Flaming Gorge-Green River Basin Scenic Byway runs along the border of Wyoming and Utah. The drive begins just west of Rock Springs and traverses through high desert, rock formations and mountain peaks. The 100-mile drive takes about 3 hours.
9. Snowy Range Scenic Byway
The Snowy Range Scenic Byway is located in the southern portion of Wyoming. The route crosses the Medicine Bow Mountain Range. If driving straight through, the drive takes about 1 hour.
10. Wind River Canyon Scenic Byway
The Wind River Canyon Scenic Byway begins in Shoshone at mile post 100, follows US 20N through Wind River Canyon and Wind River Indian Reservation, and ends up north of Thermopolis at milepost 134. Along the way, you will notice the yellow and red rock of Owl Creek Mountains, the Boysen Reservoir, rock walls, the Wind River and maybe even some mountain sheep. The layers of rock are also marked with interpretive signage. Allow for about 40 minutes to take the drive.
11. Star Valley Scenic Byway
Star Valley Scenic Byway is an 80-mile stretch of US 89 located in Lincoln County that passes through Salt Canyon, Salt River Pass and ends at the Lincoln County line in Snake River Canyon. The scenery along the way includes wilderness, rivers, wildlife and snow-capped mountain peaks.
12. Battle Pass Scenic Byway
Battle Pass Scenic Byway is a 57-mile paved stretch of Highway 70 that runs westward from Encampment, through the Medicine Bow National Forest and crosses over the Sierra Madre Mountains where it drops into Savery, Dixon and Baggs. The Byway was named after a battle fought between a group of fur trappers and Native Americans.