What Is Wyoming Known For?

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Nicknamed the Equality State, Wyoming is in many ways still a frontier territory on the edge of the great unknown. Home to the smallest population of any state in the nation, Wyoming is as wide-open and remote as it gets in Continental United States, with more cattle roaming the open plains of Wyoming than people living in the Equality State. Yellowstone, the Rocky Mountains, sizzling hot springs and Devils Tower are but a few of the many out-of-this-world natural features sprinkled throughout Wyoming’s sparsely populated regions, with growing urban hubs in Cheyenne and Casper becoming great spots to reconnect with civilization before setting off for the rugged Wyoming wilderness once more.

Great for skiing, hiking, mountaineering, camping, hunting, and pretty much any other outdoor activity you can think of, Wyoming truly is a one-of-a-kind American destination and an undeniably beautiful part of the world where you can explore alpine peaks, deep canyons, vast plains and picturesque valleys, without coming across anyone else for miles on end. Here’s what Wyoming is known for.

What Is Wyoming Known For

1- Yellowstone National Park

The Grand Prismatic Spring In Yellowstone National Park USA
Yellowstone National Park is what Wyoming most known for.

The premier national park in North America, no other outdoor area in the beautiful state of Wyoming can quite match the sheer size, grandiose nature and popularity of Yellowstone National Park.

It’s no wonder this is the most-visited site in the Equality State.

The first park in the newly-established National Park System in 1872, Yellowstone holds the prestigious title of the world’s first national park.

It covers a total land area of more than 2.2 million acres (890 308 ha), with Wyoming accounting for more than 96% of Yellowstone’s total sprawl.


Larger than both Delaware and Rhode Island combined, Yellowstone National Park treats nature lovers to hundreds of species of wildlife, gushing geysers, boiling prismatic springs and a large network of easily accessible pathways to discover this American marvel in all its glory.

2- Devils Tower

Devils Tower Is Located In In Crook County, Northeastern Wyoming
Devils Tower is what Wyoming is known for.

One of the most captivating and awe-inspiring geological features in the world is Wyoming’s famous Devils Tower, which has served as a vital navigational aid for Native Americans and European settlers, as well as a backdrop in countless films and TV series.

Situated in Wyoming’s northeast corner about an hour’s drive from Gillette, Devils Tower is an unmistakable 867-foot-tall (264 m) butte boasting a near-flat summit with a total surface area of roughly 65,340 square feet (6,070 m2).

Popularised in the 1977 Steven Spielberg cult-classic film “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, Devils Tower remains a sacred spot among local Native American Tribes and became the first designated National Monument in the United States in 1906.

3- Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole is another place Wyoming is known for.

Known for its busy ski resort, expensive zip code and famous residents, Jackson Hole seems almost out of place in rugged and untamed Wyoming, making it the perfect destination for curious travellers.

First settled during the 1800s following the successful return of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the Jackson Hole Valley is sandwiched between the Teton and Gros Ventre mountain ranges, providing the valley with unrivalled 360-degree views of some of North America’s most sublime landscapes.

Several A-listers have settled in the valley and made it their second home over the decades, including actor Harrison Ford, Sandra Bullock and Kim Kardashian, and it’s very easy to see why.

4- The Rocky Mountains

Rocky Mountains At Yellowstone River
The Rocky Mountains is what Wyoming is known for.

The iconic Rocky Mountains is among North America’s greatest and most awe-inspiring natural geographical landmarks and stretch from Canada to New Mexico.

The Rockies measure in at more than 3,000 miles long (4,828 km) and run through western Wyoming, where it combines with the Teton Range to serve up spectacular mountain views for travellers exploring western Wyoming.

Wyoming’s stretch of the mountain range is known as the Middle Rockies, which follows a section of the Wyoming-Idaho border and is the perfect habitat for wildlife such as bighorn sheep, bears, elk, cougars, mountain goats and wolverines.

5- Bighorn Canyon

Bucking Mule Falls In Wyoming
Bighorn Canyon is another place Wyoming is known for.

Bighorn Canyon, or the Bighorn Canyon National Park as it is officially called, is a dramatic 120,000-acre outdoor landmark renowned for its abundant wildlife, incredible views and exciting outdoor recreational activities.

Established by Congress following the completion of the Yellowtail Dam in 1966, Bighorn Canyon doubles as a natural border between Montana and Wyoming, and attracts well over 200,000 visitors every year.

Boating, camping, hiking, biking and even ice fishing are some of Bighorn Canyon’s most popular outdoor activities on offer, as well as more than 10,000 years of human history to learn about.

6- Cheyenne

Cheyenne, Wyoming - State Capitol
Cheyenne is a city Wyoming is known for.

Rugged and breathtakingly beautiful, Cheyenne is the wild and untamed capital city of the Equality State which oozes cowboy culture and boasts distinct Old West features reminiscent of Wyoming’s frontier days.

The Equality State’s capital and most populated city is just a few miles north of the Wyoming-Colorado state border and is closer to Denver and Fort Collins than Wyoming’s next-biggest city, Casper.

Among the places to visit in and around Cheyenne are the Wyoming State Capitol, the Cheyenne Frontier Days Festival and the Boots of Cheyenne public art sculptures. This walking tour will cover most places.

7- Buffalo Bill and the Wild West

Buffalo Bill Dam Tunnel Wyoming
Buffalo Bill is a famous figure Wyoming is known for.

Buffalo Bill Cody was a storied figure during the American Old West who gained fame and fortune by entertaining crowds across the United States and Europe with his larger-than-life cowboy persona.

Buffalo Bill was born William Frederick Cody in Le Claire, Iowa on February 26, 1846, and spent a brief period growing up in Ontario before moving with his family to the Midwest, where he started his colourful career as a Pony Express rider, Union soldier, hotel manager, bullwhacker, trapper and wagonmaster.

The Buffalo Bill legend began spreading throughout the Old West by his 24th birthday, which would eventually turn Buffalo Bill into a Wild West icon and the namesake of the northern Wyoming town of Cody, which he helped establish before his death in 1917.

8- The Equality State

The Wyoming State Flag Waving
The Equality State is what Wyoming is known as.

Dubbed the “Equality State”, Wyoming was the first US state to allow women to vote and hold positions in public office, making the state a real trailblazer in advancing women’s civil rights during the 19th century.

So revolutionary was the Equality State’s move that Wyoming’s adoption of the notion in 1869, when it was just a territory, preceded the US Congress’ nationwide adoption of women’s voting rights by some 50 years.

The Equality State was also responsible for electing the nation’s first female governor and first female justice, proving that Wyoming more than lives up to its unique nickname.

9- Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park In Autumn
Grand Teton National Park is Sheridan, Wyoming known for.

Tucked away in Wyoming’s northwest corner lies the Grand Teton National Park, an outdoor haven for four-season recreational activities and home to perhaps the most scenic mountain range in all of North America.

Situated just outside Jackson Hole, the park encompasses several peaks of the Teton Mountain Range, including Grand Teton Peak which, at 13,775 feet above sea level (4,199 m) is the tallest peak in the entire mountain range.

The national park spans an area of about 310,000 acres (125,453 ha) and features a kaleidoscope of soaring peaks, lush meadows and alpine lakes perfectly suited for activities such as hiking, mountain climbing, cross-country skiing, camping and so much more.

10- Hot Springs

Hot Spring In Yellow Stone National Park In USA
Hot springs are what Wyoming is known for.

One of Wyoming’s best-kept secrets is the state’s collection of natural hot springs, which have been a source of relaxation and healing since before European settlement.

Used by the region’s many Native American Tribes for their healing properties, Wyoming’s hot springs draw thousands of travellers to the state seeking the springs’ warm, lapping waters during the chilly winter months.

Often accompanied by a resort with top-notch accommodation options, Wyoming’s hot springs can be found anywhere from the aptly named Thermopolis to Yellowstone National Park, providing travellers with tons of options when planning on visiting Wyoming’s springs.

11- Coal Mining

Long before Wyoming’s stunning landscapes and healing waters were known to the outside world, Wyoming was a region well-known for its vast coal deposits.

First mined on a large scale following the arrival of the Union Pacific Railroad in 1867, Wyoming’s coal industry remains big business, with the state being the largest producer of coal in the United States since 1986.

Wyoming is responsible for roughly 40% of all American-sourced coal, making it the third-largest natural resource in the Equality State behind only the state’s oil and natural gas fields.

12- Wildlife and Nature Conservation

Pronghorn Antelope At Yellowstone
Wildlife and nature conservation is what Wyoming is known for.

More than 100 mammal species and some 400 bird species are known to call Wyoming home, making it one of the ‘wildest’ destinations in the United States.

With a unique blend of prairie, mountain and plains, Wyoming’s list of animal inhabitants includes bison, elk, gray wolves, pronghorn antelope and Bull Moose.

Wyoming also plays a leading role in wildlife conservation efforts, with parks such as Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park crucial in maintaining stable populations of Wyoming’s diverse and endangered wildlife.

13- Dinosaur Fossils

Hidden underneath its natural beauty lies Wyoming’s large fossil beds, which have thousands of unique dinosaur fossils dating as far back as 150 million years.

Wyoming has continuously been the destination of choice for scientists and researchers hoping to discover the near-complete fossilised remains of Stegosaurus, Tyrannosaurus, Supersaurus, Allosaurus and Apatosaurus, with some of the oldest dinosaurs ever discovered in North America unearthed in the Equality State.

On display in museums and centres across the world, Wyoming’s prehistoric inhabitants can also be seen in the state-of-the-art Wyoming Dinosaur Center in Thermopolis or the Wyoming State Museum in Cheyenne, with both venues considered great spots to visit if you’re travelling with kids.

14- Bison Burgers

Home Made Burgers On Wooden
What food is Wyoming known for? You might want to try a bison burger.

Inspired by and connected to the Great Plains region of North America, bison burgers are, as the name suggests, hamburgers made from bison meat instead of regular beef.

Bison burgers, or buffalo burgers as they’re commonly called, were invented just across the border in South Dakota and have developed into a popular menu item in restaurants throughout the nation’s Great Plains states of Wyoming, Montana, North and South Dakota, and Colorado.

A healthier alternative to plain-old beef burgers, bison burgers are naturally rich in protein and contain about 25% fewer calories than beef burgers, so be sure to try a bison burger when you find yourself looking for something to munch in Wyoming.

15- Historic Trails

Independence Rock - Wyoming
Historic Trails are what Wyoming is known for.

One of the most influential events to shape Wyoming was the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which passed through the Equality State twice on their round-trip voyage to the Pacific Coast and opened up modern-day Wyoming for large-scale settlement following their successful return to St. Louis.

The first large wave of Wyoming settlers arrived via the Oregon Trail, a 2,170-mile-long (3,490 km) wagon journey which bridged the continental divide and stretched from Independence, Missouri to Oregon City, Oregon, crossing right through Wyoming in the process.

Many along the trail ended up laying permanent roots in Wyoming instead of completing the full journey, no doubt enticed by the state’s beautiful scenery and natural resources.

Another major event in Wyoming’s history was the Pony Express, a revolutionary express mail service which used a cross-country network of relay horses to deliver mail and news from the East Coast to settlers in the West between 1860 and 1861, a section of which passed through Wyoming.

Although both events ended up vanishing during the mid-1800s, they certainly left their mark on modern-day Wyoming, with museums and cultural landmarks across Wyoming still paying tribute to the two trails, as well as the many lives, cities and regions impacted by them.

16- It’s the Least Populated State

Rich in natural resources, beautiful landscapes, diverse cultures and fascinating history, it might come as a surprise to many to learn that Wyoming is the least-populated state in the nation, with fewer than 580,000 people calling the Equality State home.

One major reason for the state’s lack of human inhabitants is Wyoming’s lack of major gold or silver deposits, which were responsible for attracting prospectors and settlers to neighbouring states such as Colorado and Montana during the 1800s.

What Wyoming lacks in people it more than makes up for with abundant wildlife, wide open spaces, untouched landscapes and less-crowded cities, perfect for travellers eager to swap the bright lights of downtown for a slower-paced and healthier lifestyle.

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Mark Westwood
Mark Westwood is a Seattle-based writer who writes for various online blogs and travel websites. In 2017, he went on a 12-month road trip across the USA visiting many iconic landmarks and small towns along the way. Having explored over 20 countries, his favourite places to date are along the west coast of the USA but he is happiest anywhere where there are mountains and ocean.