There is a saying that if you want to escape the crowds, go to Wyoming. And if you look at the license plates of the most populous state, you see the image of the cowboy waving his hat as the horse tries to throw it off. This picture has been emblazoned on every car for years – and it says everything about this state: this is classic “cowboy country” with wide, almost endless grass plains and the mighty Rocky Mountains with lakes, glaciers and coniferous forests. Two natural wonders ensure that the state is considered a tourist magnet: Yellowstone National Park, which was declared the first national park in the USA in 1872, and Grand Teton National Park. They both attract up to 7 million guests from home and abroad every year.
Location and size
With a land area of 253,600 km² – three times the size of Austria – Wyoming is the tenth largest state in the USA. Wyoming’s borders were defined solely in terms of latitude and longitude, so it appears on maps as a rectangle extending 450 km in the NS extent and between 550 and 580 km in the WO extent. The “Old West of the USA” is bordered by Montana to the north, South Dakota and Nebraska to the east, Colorado to the south, Utah to the southwest and Idaho to the west. The eastern part of the country consists of the Great Plains – the large and expansive prairie that stretches from southern Canada through the USA to the Mexican border. In the western part of the state are the Rockies. The highest mountain is Gannett Peak at 4,210 m, the second highest, Grand Teton Peak, popular with photographers, is 4,196 m high. Because of the heavy rainfall, the mountain peaks are densely forested. Coniferous trees, which are also used economically, predominate. Wyoming is known for its mineral resources such as oil shale, bituminous coal, iron ore and uranium. The mountains also attract many guests who come here for hiking, climbing and rafting in the summer and skiing in the winter.
According to collegesanduniversitiesinusa, with almost 580,000 inhabitants, Wyoming is ranked 50th in the US – and thus in last place. The population density of only 2.3 people per square kilometer is record-breaking, only in Alaska is it even lower. Around 60,000 people live in the capital Cheyenne (in the metropolitan area there are almost 99,000), in Natrona County – around Casper – around 79,000. The white population is around 91%. They are descendants of European settlers whose ancestors are 26% German, 16% English, 13.3% Irish and around 8% Scandinavian. 13 percent of the residents are Hispanics, only 3.5 percent are of Native American descent.
Getting there Located
virtually downtown, Cheyenne Regional Airport (CYS) has historical roots – it was here that one of the first airmail services to Salt Lake City was served in the 1920’s. Today there are direct flights to Dallas/Fort Worth with American Eagle and direct flights to Denver with United Express. Most visitors come by car, such as I-25, which goes from New Mexico to Denver and Wyoming, and I-80, which goes from California to Salt Lake City and Cheyenne to New Jersey.
Wyoming’s plains have a typical steppe climate. You can see that in the climate table for Cheyenne. There is hardly any precipitation here all year round (only around 380 mm), the annual average is 8.1 °C. Depending on the altitude, the Rocky Mountains have a typical alpine climate with heavy rainfall, short summers and long, cold winters. The best time to travel is between June and September. The temperatures are pleasant, the sun shines a lot and it hardly rains.
|Average temperatures in Cheyenne , Wyoming in °C|
Top highlights are Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park
The small town is the seat of the University of Wyoming, which at 2,195 m above sea level is the highest university in the USA. The University of Wyoming Art Museum , which documents the history of the state, is worth seeing . (2111 East Willett Drive, Laramie, WY 82071 www.uwyo.edu/artmuseum )
Laramie was also home to the state’s first prison: the Wyoming Territorial Prison is now designated a State Historic Park. Outlaws like Butch Cassidy and others were imprisoned in the renovated building. (Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site, 975 Snowy Range Rd, Laramie, WY 82070 wyoparks.wyo.gov/news-territorial-prison )
Bighorn Mountains (Bighorn National Forest)
Wyoming’s hiking paradise includes the Bighorn Mountains with the 4,016 m high Cloud Peak and the deep gorge of the Bighorn River. The area is named after the bighorn sheep that live here. The mountains are bordered by two very scenic highways – US Hwy 16 to the south and forked US Hwy 14 to the north. The northernmost section leads to the archaeologically important Medicine Wheel . This 24m stone circle, built more than 10,000 years ago, is considered sacred to the Sioux and Cheyenne. 27 miles east of Lowell, Bighorn Scenic Byway US Hwy 14; www.fs.usda.gov/bighorn
Starting points for exploring Bighorn National Forest are the ranch towns of Buffalo (Powder River Ranger District, 1415 Fort Street, Buffalo, WY 82834) and Sheridan (USDA Forest Service Bighorn National Forest, 2013 Eastside 2nd Street, Sheridan, WY 82801). Sheridan is known for its Historic Sheridan Inn , a hotel that has existed since 1893 where Buffalo Bill, Calamity Jane, Ernest Hemingway, and Theodore Roosevelt have stayed. Numerous memorabilia adorn the walls of the illustrious guests (856 Broadway, Sheridan, WY 82801, sheridaninn.com )
Jackson has been the state’s most visited city since the days of the trappers. Located at the southern entrance to Grand Teton National Park, the town of 10,000 lost some of its natural beauty to ski lodges and family resorts. Despite the tourism with the countless boutiques and galleries on the main square, it has retained the Wild West ambience. Adjacent to the national park is the 10,100-acre National Elk Refuge – located between Jackson and Grand Teton Park, home to around 8,000 elk who winter here. Guided tours on horse-drawn sleighs are offered between December and April. (Visitor Center: National Elk Refuge, 532 N. Cache Street, Jackson, WY 83001, www.fws.gov/national_elk_refuge )
Also worth a detour is the cable car from Jackson Hole Ski Area to the top of Rendezvous Peak for panoramic views. (Jackson Hole Hole Mountain Resort Aerial Tram
3275 West Village Drive, Teton Village, WY 83025