January 17, 2017
I’m a bit embarrassed I’m just now writing this post. I’ve lived in Wyoming for quite awhile now and I’ve been so focused on sharing my travels with you that I completely forgot to help those out who are trying to visit my very own home state.
It’s true there are no pink walls or buildings (or none that I have come across) in Wyoming, and you are not apt to run into perfectly curated coffee shops like you are in most major cities, but then again when was the last time a buffalo crossed right in front of you on the road? Or the last time you rounded a trail to find yourself looking right at a momma moose and baby? Plus if you haven’t seen the Teton Mountain Range yet, you are m i s s i n g out.
Wyoming has to much to give to its visitors and often teaches valuable lessons, not learned in other travels. Still, being so different from most destinations there are some decisions to keep in mind.
This I think is going to be the biggest challenge for most visitors. Whether it’s time of the year or having enough time traveling from location to location, our expansive and sometimes treacherous state is really dependent on time.
The easiest, yet most traveled season to Wyoming is Summer and it’s completely understandable. We hardly ever get Summer days above 90 and if they are I swear there is always a breeze that will immediately cool you off. But get ready to f i g h t the expansive crowds. Locals know to keep their distance from Jackson Hole and Yellowstone National Park in the Summer, and head off to other less trafficked state destinations, like Pinedale and Cody.
In my humble opinion, first time travelers should shoot for a much more relaxed, albeit cooler, September to mid October travel dates. The crowds and lines will be long gone, and the days will still be warm. But if you are looking for a winter wonderland destination than anytime from November to March will give you probably more snow than you thought possible.
Again, time is going to be a big factor in your decision. If you only have a couple days to travel in Wyoming I would suggest a direct flight and focus more on the Jackson Hole area. But if you have more than a few days you could easily drive from Denver National Airport and enjoy the state in a long road trip.
At the very least, don’t expect to be able to fly in anywhere without a rental car. It’s not a state made for taxis and Uber rides.
And with a winter vacation I would again suggest a direct flight. So m a n y roads close at the end of October and our roads are notoriously treacherous to drive on. Even on my last trip with my friend Megan, driving into Jackson got a bit tricky as we were trying to beat a storm moving in. We are a bit more used to the volatile weather and able to plan around it, but if that’s not something you are willing to do by all means save yourself a headache and catch a direct flight.
Y A Y!! Now to the fun stuff…
Again for first time, apprehensive visitors I would send them straight to Jackson Hole. This is the most traveled and desired part of our state that mimics larger, more luxurious cities. It’s also extremely close to the Teton Mountain range (my absolute favorite) and Yellowstone Park, so it’s just a great spot for Wyoming newbies.
Typically though when I travel to the Teton area, I actually aim to stay in Driggs, ID at a small Airbnb. It has much more of the laid back Wyoming vibe I prefer. (It’s also much kinder for any budget.) So it’s really up to you weather you want to be in the touristy well known spots or escape to a bit more seclusion.
Bin 22 – A restuarant/wine shop perfect for relaxing in after a long day of adventuring.
Persephone Bakery – By far my favorite place to stop due to it’s amazing sweets and truly stunning decor. If you need curated coffee shops this should be at the top of your list.
Rustic Inn – Granted I got to stay at these individual sweet cabins free of charge with Megan a month ago, I would easily stay here again if I was able to swing the budget. The rustic cabins and general atmosphere made for the ultimate mountain getaway, and their spa looked no less than heavenly.
The Tetons – Easily one of the most photographed parts of our state, the jagged cliffs soar above the surrounding area giving you a truly scenic view. If you haven’t gone… you need to. I’m already looking forward to the next time I get to visit.
Wind River Mountain Range – While the Tetons are easily my favorite feature of Wyoming, I was a bit in awe of seeing this lesser known mountain range. Jagged, different shaped cliffs and expansive valleys make up this range, with numerous trails leading towards picturesque views.
We took an hour drive from downtown Pinedale to the trailhead at Square Top Mountain and were in completely in awe. With not much time to hike or explore we relaxed on the shore snapping photos, but I’m always telling L I want to make a trip back to kayak across the lake towards the mountains.
Poppy’s – A surprisingly charming flower boutique shop hidden in our downtown that offers Rifle Paper Co products along with floral bouquets and endless rustic charm. Remember how I said expect less curated modern shops? This is the best exception.
Medicine Bow Peak – A forty minute drive my hometown that offers up jagged cliffs reminiscent of the Tetons. It certainly doesn’t have the attention grabbing peaks, but it’s a bit breathtaking with the ice blue lake at the bottom of the peak.
And s o m u c h more!
This is always a big concern of mine no matter where I travel to. A lot of it comes from traveling across the country for work by myself, but really I think safety should be the number one thing everyone thinks about when traveling, solo or not. New places are just that – new and unknown. And being educated is never, ever going to hurt you.
Wyoming is one of the best states in the US for lack of violence and petty theft. Still I would treat it with the same common sense of safety as you would any other unknown place and you should be ok.
The biggest safety concern when traveling here is wildlife and driving.
A quick Google search will show you the history of tourists running into danger out in Yellowstone, but to be fair the vast majority of these cases aren’t following the rules put forth by the park. Always keep your distance from animals as they are w i l d. Wyoming is a beautifully wild part of our country and many seem to confuse it with an interactive zoo. If there is sign telling you not to do something, play it safe, follow the rules and enjoy your sights from a safe distance.
Clearly I could go on and on about my home state, as I really do think it’s one of the most unique places to travel to. If you are ever in the area and need a good reference you are always more than welcome to reach out and I’d be happy to help.