When you think of Wyoming, what comes to mind? Maybe Yellowstone National Park, or the ski resort town of Jackson Hole? There are endless places to visit in Wyoming and recently, Brittany took a trip with RVshare and Wyoming Office of Tourism to show you the beauty the state has to offer. If Wyoming has been on your travel list for a long time, you’ll definitely want to add these stops to your itinerary!
This article was contributed by Brittany Werkmeister, a photographer and avid adventurer.
Meeteetse | Kirwin Ghost Town Off-Road Adventures
Due to recent flooding in the area and snow still on parts of the trail, the actual ghost town was inaccessible. But there were tons of back roads in the area for us to explore that lead to lakes or beautiful mountain views. We spent hours getting lost in the mountains enjoying the wind in our hair and even sometimes a little rain.
Pick up and drop off of the ATV was super easy and Tom was incredibly helpful and made sure we had everything we needed for a fun trip! Coolers, tie downs, helmets, goggles, and even a Garmin GPS for when you are off grid and have no cell service were all included.
When we got to Thermopolis, our first stop was Hot Springs State Park. The park features a large colorful terrace where hot water flows 24/7 into the river below. There are trails along the terraces and even a swinging bridge over the river for a different vantage point. Another neat aspect of the park was the herd of bison in the pastures! There is a paved road where you can drive to see the bison roam. While the park has a free bath house for guests, we decided to check out the famous Star Plunge.
This waterpark is located in the state park and is accessible for a small fee. What caught our eye most was the large water slide looping in and out of the building. Not only does it feature waterslides, but star plunge has 2 warm pools, indoor and outdoor, a hot pool, a children’s area, and even a vapor steam cave. After exploring the park, we grabbed dinner at One Eyed Buffalo Brewery where I tried Rocky Mountain Oysters for the first time!
We stayed at Fountain of Youth RV Park in Thermopolis. This RV Park has a hot springs pool that is available to all guests. There are 2 sections in the pool, one warm, and one hot for those who prefer to soak in warmer temperatures. As a hot springs enthusiast this was a major perk.
Wyoming summers can be quite warm during the day but as soon as the sun starts setting, the temps drop with it, so we spent the evening soaking until our fingers were pruney. In the morning we had to stop and grab coffee at Dairyland & Hot City Coffee. We had passed this shop the day before and was intrigued by the mini golf course next to it. This local shop has all things coffee, sandwiches, and ice cream with the option of a little putt putt. The coffee was amazing and the mini golf was a fun way to start our morning!
South Pass City Historic Mining & Ghost Town
While getting gas in Thermopolis, I was chatting with a local who was curious about our RV. I told her about how we were renting it through RVshare and are visiting from Arizona. She had informed me about a historical mining town that is not too far out of the way from our next destination. One thing I have learned from all my road trips, always take advice from the locals and check out their recommendations. I have witnessed some neat places taking advice from a local and South Pass City is one of them!
I did some research, verified her directions on the map and we were on our way. This little town has a population of about 5 humans, roughly 3 cats, approximately 2 dogs and a ton of history. Thanks to local volunteers, this town has been restored to showcase how miners of the gold rush lived and worked. On weekends they take guests on guided tours of the infamous Carissa mine and English tunnel. There’s about 4 miles of trails to explore and a handful of historic buildings to discover. This was a nice place to stretch our legs, learn some history, and break up our long day of driving.
We came across the green river last minute while headed to our next destination. While it was much warmer than in the mountains, we found our own private beach on BLM land to soak up the sun and go for a swim. After inflating the paddle boards, we loaded up the dogs and paddled up the wide river along the tall cliffs. While originally just planning on stopping for a quick paddle, we couldn’t get over the views of the nearby North chimney rock and the neighboring towers, so we stayed a little longer and camped for the night.
Gap Lakes Trail
While the road to the trailhead was still closed to vehicles for the season, it was still accessible by foot. We hiked the closed road to the trailhead passing about 3 other beautiful lakes. In the late summer, there are campgrounds accessible near the lower lake. Much of the trail was still covered in snow, but I was able to stay on track by following the route on my Garmin GPS. The lake was still partially frozen over with small icebergs scattered through the melted areas of blue water. On our way back down to the RV, thanks to all the snow coverage, there were tons of great opportunities for glissading.
Vedauwoo was really something. Rolling hills with boulder stacks spread throughout the landscape. The area is best known for rock climbing, but you don’t have to be a climber to enjoy it. We spent our morning wandering up and around the rock formations, camp coffee in hand, for different vantage points of the area. From a distance we witnessed a baby and momma elk, as well as one curious little bunny.
South Fork Lodge | Horseback Riding in Bighorn NF
After checking in at the lodge, we headed to the stables to meet our horses. It was a small group, only 3 of us and 2 guides. Our guides took us on a fun ride through the mountains. There were many amazing look-out points where we would stop to view the surrounding mountains. The wildflowers were in full bloom and putting on quite the show in every meadow we passed through. After the ride, we stopped back at the lodge for a nice lunch before heading to find our next camp spot.
Crazy Woman Canyon | BLM Camping in Bighorn NF
After finding a nice camp spot, we met up with a friend and hopped in their 4X4 for a scenic drive through Crazy Woman Canyon. Though the signs recommend a high clearance and 4X4 vehicle, we did pass a Prius on the drive! (Drive at your own risk of course!) This beautiful canyon features a creek flowing throughout, tall cliff walls, and an abundance of green vegetation. We stopped in a few pull outs to explore the area on foot and let the dogs play in the creek.
After an amazing drive, we headed back to camp for dinner. Our camp spot was in a green meadow along the forest. Large purple clusters of lupine were growing throughout making for a perfect photo op.
Tensleep | Castle Gardens
Tensleep is a small town just outside the bighorn national forest. While the town is small, there are many places to grab a bite to eat, restock on supplies, or have a few beers. For lunch we stopped at a small burger joint, 1 Cow. The menu focuses on their specialty, Burgers. Similar to In-N-Out, they feature one type of burger which contains their signature sauce, and even a special slaw of onions, pickles, tomatoes etc.
Next, we headed to Tensleep Brewery to try some locally brewed beers. The two of us split a flight and ordered a cinnamon sugar Indian taco from the local food truck on the patio. All were delicious and worth the stop! After visiting Tensleep, we headed off to our next destination for the evening, Castle Gardens. I had seen pictures before visiting, but they do not do justice to how beautiful this place was in person.
I quickly understood why it was called Castle Gardens. Large rock structures appearing almost castle-like protruding from the ground all around. As soon as we finished setting up camp for the night, I couldn’t help but wander the trails scattered around the area. Many lead to neat alcoves in the rock, or even tiny little windows or arches. It was the perfect place for watching the sunset and concluding our little trip around wonderful Wyoming.
I am a photographer and avid adventurer based in Arizona. When I’m not behind the camera, you can usually find me off the beaten path with my boyfriend & two dogs. We are often hiking, camping, off-roading, soaking in hot springs or paddling the nearest body of water. Iceland has been my most favorite place to travel so far but road trips in my truck hold a special place in my heart.
Professional photo social: @wilde.wanderphotography
Professional Photo Site: wildeandwanderphotography.com
Personal/travel social: @Gingerlustt