If it’s one thing we have a lot of in Wyoming, it’s the great outdoors. People come from near and far to get back to nature, and hiking is a great way to do it. If you picture vertical, rocky terrain when you think about hiking in Wyoming, you should know that we have a ton of trails that are easy to tackle. In fact, here are 14 easy hikes that should be on everyone’s bucket list.
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. Clear Lake Artist's Point Loop Trail, Yellowstone National Park
Many of the easiest trails in Wyoming are in our most famous national park. At just under 4 miles, this one loops around Clear Lake and rewards hikers this magnificent view from Artist Point.
2. Mud Volcano, Yellowstone National Park
The mud pots aren't the only thing to see on this short and easy hiking trail (only .8 of a mile). The steam-cooked landscape is just as striking as the pools of hot, muddy water.
3. 3 State Corners, Pine Bluff, Wyoming
The spot south of Pine Bluff where the corners of Wyoming, Colorado, and Nebraska meet is the location of an easy 1.4-mile trail. Hiking along the border of the three states, you'll enjoy wildlife and the scenery and be able to say you walked to three states in a few hours.
4. Imperial Geyser, Yellowstone National Park
If you're up for more miles, the Fairy Creek to Imperial Geyser Trail will take you a total of 6.6 miles. That's out and back, as this trail doesn't loop around. There is still plenty of natural beauty to appreciate including a waterfall and the Imperial Geyser.
5. Vedauwoo Trail, Medicine Bow National Forest
Medicine Bow National Forest has its share of easy hikes, and this trail is less than a mile long. Even pictures can't capture the beauty of the landscape, and you might catch a glimpse of some Wyoming wildlife while you're out.
6. Artist Paint Pots, Yellowstone National Park
Talk about easy: much of this 1.1-mile trail is boardwalks, constructed to keep hikers a safe distance away from the colorful, steaming hot springs and mud pots while still getting close enough to take a good look. You'll also see a number of other geothermal features and some beautiful landscape, as well.
7. Independence Rock, State Route 220, Alcova, Wyoming
Most of the trails on our list are accessible only during summer months, but you can hike the 1.3-mile trail that loops around Independence Rock all year long. A landmark along the Oregon, California, and Mormon trails, you can soak up some history along with the beautiful scenery.
8. Upper Geyser Basin to Old Faithful Observation Point, Yellowstone National Park
Part of this roughly 4.5 mile loop takes you uphill for a bit more of a challenge, but it's still considered an easy trail. There is plenty of flora and fauna to see along the way and it's the best way to view Old Faithful erupting without having to fight the crowds.
9. West Thumb Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park
Another easy must-hike trail in Yellowstone is the West Thumb Geyser Basin Trail. It loops almost a mile around a number of thermal features in Geyser Basin, including the Black Pool which actually is no longer black. You'll also get a gorgeous view of the west thumb of Yellowstone Lake - thus, the trail's name.
10. Wind River Canyon, between Shoshoni and Thermopolis, Wyoming
At over 32 miles, the Wind River Canyon Trail is the longest one on our list, but it's easy to traverse. Hike it all or drive in and hike only a few miles at a time. The colors of the rocks contrast with the lush green of the plant life, and the calming sound of the river running through it makes the entire trip worth your time.
11. Rainbow Lake, Forest Road 120, Cody, Wyoming
Because Rainbow Lake is a feature of this 7.6-mile trail, some hikers like to bring along their fishing gear.
12. Mammoth Hot Springs, near Yellowstone National Park
The limestone terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs are constantly changing, under continual influence by the volume of water that moves over them. That means you'll be treated to new and interesting formations every time you hike the 3.6-mile loop - even if it's more than once a season.
13. Devil's Tower Trail, Sundance, Wyoming
Located about 27 miles northwest of Sundance, Wyoming, this 1.4-mile loop around the Devil's tower is a paved trail, making it one of the easiest hikes you'll take. It's well worth the time as you'll get a chance to see the tower from all sides while enjoying Wyoming nature.
14. Tower Falls Trail, Yellowstone National Park
Score another easy hiking trail for Yellowstone. Just under a mile to hike in and back, you'll be rewarded with the breathtaking view of the 132-foot waterfall cascading in a practically perfect line into the creek below.
With over 97,000 square miles in our great state, this short list is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to hiking trails. What simple trails would you recommend to someone looking for an easy hike?