21 Best State and National Parks in Wyoming

0
Boysen State Park

Wyoming’s state parks are a treasure for those who appreciate the allure of the American West. The majestic landscapes, from the geothermal wonders of Yellowstone to the imposing peaks of Grand Teton, are utterly breathtaking.

On a visit to Yellowstone, the eruption of the Old Faithful geyser is emblematic of nature’s punctuality and grandeur.

Grand Teton National Park offers a stark contrast with its jagged mountain skyline. A hike to Inspiration Point provides an unparalleled vista that feels like standing at the world’s edge. Beyond these renowned parks, Wyoming’s lesser-known state parks offer their own unique experiences.

Sinks Canyon mystifies with a river that abruptly disappears underground, while Hot Springs State Park invites relaxation in its therapeutic waters, frequented by local bighorn sheep.

Historic sites such as Fort Laramie immerse visitors in the narratives of early pioneers. Wyoming transforms the great outdoors into an expansive canvas, where every star-studded night and sunrise paints a memory worth savoring.

Best State and National Parks in Wyoming

1. Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park Sign from Gardiner, Montana Entrance
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

It’s not a state park – but my editor would snap my neck if I didn’t mention it! Yellowstone National Park is one of the most popular state parks in Wyoming and the country. The park is home to geysers, hot springs, waterfalls, and wildlife. Visitors can also enjoy hiking, camping, and sightseeing in the park.

Upper Terrace Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Yellowstone is a great place to see wildlife in its natural habitat. The best time to visit Yellowstone’s wildlife is early morning or evening when they are most active. Yellowstone is also a great place to hike and camp.

There are over 900 miles of hiking trails in the park. Camping is allowed on designated campsites only. Yellowstone National Park is one of the best Wyoming state parks worth visiting.

You can explore the national park on tour with a local guide, join a Yellowstone private tour from Jackson, or experience the Yellowstone River whitewater rafting.

If you’re looking for accommodation in Yellowstone, the Old Faithful Inn, Lake Yellowstone Hotel, and Old Faithful Snow Lodge are among the best options for booking a stay.

2. Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Again, it’s not a state park, but you must check out this place if you’re an outdoor enthusiast! It is one of the most popular Wyoming state parks. The park is home to the Grand Teton, the tallest mountain in the state.

Visitors can also enjoy hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife watching in the park. Grand Teton National Park is excellent for anyone who loves the outdoors. There are numerous trails to explore, and the scenery is simply breathtaking.

The Grand Teton itself is an imposing sight, and it’s worth climbing if you’re up for a challenge. Fishing is also a popular activity in the park, and there are plenty of spots where you can cast your line.

Wildlife watching is another popular pastime in the park, and you’re likely to see plenty of animals if you keep your eyes peeled.

See Related: Best State and National Parks in South Carolina

3. Medicine Bow National Forest

Medicine Bow National Forest

This national forest that stretches across Wyoming and Colorado is another non-state park that deserves special attention. Medicine Bow National Forest (or, more correctly, the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest) is a park that offers a variety of activities for visitors.

The park is home to hiking trails, camping sites, fishing lakes, and more. Medicine Bow National Forest is a great place to visit if you’re looking for various outdoor activities.

The Medicine Bow range extends from southern Wyoming into Colorado, and the Routt range goes north into Wyoming. The hiking trails are perfect for a day hike or a more extended backpacking trip, and the camping sites are ideal for a weekend getaway.

The fishing lakes are stocked with trout, and the scenery is beautiful. You can also find a variety of other wildlife in the park, including deer, elk, and bighorn sheep. Medicine Bow National Park is worth visiting for an enjoyable and scenic outdoor experience.

See Related: Things to Do in Casper

4. Sinks Canyon State Park

Sinks Canyon State Park

Sinks Canyon State Park features a breathtaking canyon with two stunning waterfalls. The park also offers hiking, camping, fishing, and picnicking. Sinks Canyon is located in central Wyoming and is named for the Sinks, a pool at the bottom of the canyon that disappears and reappears downstream.

It is formed when the Popo Agie River flows into a limestone cavern and then resurfaces a quarter-mile downstream. The Sinks feeds the two waterfalls in the Sinks Canyon State Park Canyon, Lower Falls, and Upper Falls. The Upper and most prolonged vertical fall is about 60 feet.

Sinks Canyon State Park is open year-round and offers camping, picnicking, fishing, and hiking. If you are visiting with your kid, there is a junior ranger program for your young ones to enjoy.

See Related: How to Take an Epic Grand Canyon Road Trip

5. Curt Gowdy State Park

Curt Gowdy State Park

Curt Gowdy State Park is an excellent spot for an outdoor adventure. The scenery is beautiful, and the park offers hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and camping.

Curt Gowdy State Park is also home to various wildlife, including deer, elk, and bighorn sheep. So keep your eyes peeled while you’re exploring! Several attractions are nearby, including the Curt Gowdy Museum and the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

Buffalo Hill

Granite Springs Reservoir, Crystal Lake Reservoir, and Ames Monument State Historic Site are among the top sights near Curt Gowdy State Park.

6. Buffalo Bill State Park

Buffalo Bill State Park

Named after a guy who killed a total of zero buffalo (but a genocidal amount of bison), Buffalo Bill State Park is one of the best Wyoming state parks. The Buffalo Bill Dam Visitor Center is about 6 km west of Cody and can tell you about the area. The Buffalo Bill State Park offers opportunities for salmon fishing and picnicking and campsites.

Majestic peaks of Wyoming Absaroka Mountain surround Buffalo Bill State Park. Surrounded by spectacular mountain views, the Buffalo Bill State Park offers salmon fishing and picnicking opportunities and campsites.

The Trout River Nature Trail stretches approximately a quarter-mile from North Fork Campground. At the same time, the Eagle Point Trail is accessible to disabled visitors during the daytime Eagle Point use.

Suppose you want to stay longer in the park. In that case, you may book these notable hotels: Holiday Inn Cody at Buffalo Bill Village, Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel & Restaurant, and Comfort Inn at Buffalo Bill Village Resort.

See Related: List of U.S. National Monuments

7. Hawk Springs State Recreation Area

Hawk Springs State Recreation Area

Hawk Springs State Recreation Area is a great spot in Wyoming to enjoy the outdoors. The park has many visitor amenities, including primitive camping sites, playgrounds, and bathroom facilities.

Hawk Springs is also famous for water-based activities like swimming and fishing. And, if you’re looking to spend some time on the lake, the park has boat docks, launching docks, and a boat ramp.

See Related: Famous Landmarks in Wyoming to Visit

8. Hot Springs State Park

Hot Springs State Park

Hot Springs State Park is one of the best Wyoming State Parks. It has an area with more than a dozen trails and an outdoor park. This full-service park has a boating ramp, fishing opportunities, a volleyball area, a comfort station, and picnic tables available for groups. Hot Springs State Park has an annual activity, but camping is prohibited.

At 8 a.m., the bison can be sighted in the park during their feeding time. If you’re looking for a state park with plenty of nearby attractions, Hot Springs State Park is a perfect choice. You’ll find restaurants, shops, and more just minutes from the garden—also top attractions like Wyoming Dinosaur Center, Rainbow Terraces, and Hot Spring County Museum.

See Related: Day Trips from Zion National Park

9. Legend Rock State Petroglyph Site

Legend Rock State Petroglyphs Site is one of Wyoming’s unique state parks. It consists of over 93 prehistoric panels and over 400 petroglyphs.

Although Legend Rock State Petroglyphs Site is already a world-famous petroglyph site that has been regarded as a historic site by indigenous tribes in the region for several centuries.

The Legend Rock Petroglyph Site is home to picnicking, interpretative trails, and visitors. This area is one of Wyoming’s pristine areas. When you visit Legend Rock State Petroglyphs Site, you’ll see the handiwork of early Native Americans and experience the rugged beauty of the Wyoming landscape.

The hotels to book near the state park are Legend Rock State Petroglyph Site, Paintbrush Inn Thermopolis, and Best Western Plus Plaza Hotel.

10. Glendo State Park

Glendo State Park

Glendo State Park is a hidden gem and state park in Wyoming. It is situated on the western plain and is an excellent outdoor recreation destination.

The park spans 22,000 acres and offers various activities for visitors, from camping and hiking to boating and fishing. Glendo is primarily known for its water sports, with great boat trips, fishing, and water skiing opportunities.

However, the park also has plenty to offer those who don’t want to get on the water, from 21 campground areas with 502 sites to sandy beaches, mountains, and (typically) glistening skies.

See Related: How To Book Flights With Longer Layovers

11. Bear River State Park

Bear River State Park

Bear River State Park is great for exploring Wyoming’s fantastic wildlife and scenery. The park is home to small herds of bison and elk, and the visitor center has several exhibits of different animals.

The Trail Connects Bear project is also based in the park and is a great way to explore the area. There are picnic benches, toilets, grills, water tanks, and car parks nearby so that you can make a day of it.

The Bear River State Park is home to small herds of bison and elk, and the visitor center has several exhibits of different animals. The Trail Connects Bear project is also based in the park and is a great way to explore the area.

There are picnic benches, toilets, grills, water tanks, and car parks nearby so that you can make a day of it. Among the best hotels to book near the state park are the Prairie Inn and Travelodge by Wyndham Evanston.

See Related: A Five-Day Yellowstone Itinerary You’ll Want to Copy

12. Keyhole State Park

Keyhole State Park

Keyhole State Park is one of the best state parks in Wyoming for fishing. Some of the biggest fish in the state are caught here. The park is also located on the Westside in the Black Hills region between Moorcroft and Sundance.

Ten campsites are available to campers, and three group shelters can be reserved for corporate picnics, family gatherings, weddings, and other special occasions.

13. Guernsey State Park

Guernsey State Park

Guernsey State Park is one of the best state parks in Wyoming. It’s a great place to camp, with seven campgrounds, three located near Lake Guernsey. The campgrounds offer bottled water, charcoal grill tables, picnic benches, and a comfort station.

Trailer dump stations can be found at the south entry of this park. Guernsey State Park is also a great place to walk, with a vast trail network starting at Brimmer Point Turnoff.

The trail system includes several loops that provide numerous scenic views. So whether you’re looking to camp or take a stroll, Guernsey State Park is the place for you. Cobblestone Inn & Suites – Guernsey, Bunkhouse Motel, and Twisters Bed and Breakfast are among the best accommodations near the park. 

See Related: Visiting Yellowstone in Winter

14. Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area is one of Wyoming’s most popular parks. Bighorn Canyon covers over 120,000 acres with incredible biodiversity. This recreation area offers fifteen trails to walk 17 miles long. South District has twelve trail types: three easy, two moderate trails, three medium, and three mild. A few other options include water-based kayaking, canoe-riding, or kayaking.

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area is an excellent place to explore the surrounding nature’s rich landscape. Visitors can enjoy a unique opportunity to explore the canyon’s vast, wild environment in this enthralling non-state park.

15. Edness Kimball Wilkins Park

Sunset at Edness Kimball Wilkins State Park
Edness Kimball Wilkins State Park / Facebook Page

Edness Kimball Wilkins Park is an excellent non-state park option if you’re looking for a picnic spot near Casper, Wyoming. This public recreation area has over 40 picnic sites. In addition, Edness Kimball Wilkins State Park has horseshoe pits and volleyball nets, making it the perfect place to enjoy a game or two.

Finally, Edness Kimball Wilkins State Park also has a 2.8-mile trail that follows the historic North Platte River. This trail is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the scenery around Edness Kimball Wilkins Park.

See Related: The Ultimate Summer Trip Packing List

16. Seminoe State Park

Seminoe State Park

Seminole State Park is a hidden gem in the Wyoming countryside. This state park in Wyoming is situated between Rawlins and Alcova, and the park is home to Rocky Sand Dunes, Seminoe Reservoir, and the Miracle Mile of Wyoming.

Boating and fishing are popular activities on the reservoir, and the Miracle Mile is considered one of the best fly fishing destinations in the region. Camping is also available at Seminole State Park, making it the perfect destination for a weekend getaway.

17. Boysen State Park

Boysen State Park
Image by Charles Willgren used under CC BY 2.0

It is one of the best state parks in Wyoming, and it’s perfect for travelers who want to enjoy some fishing and see fascinating geological formations. The Wind River Indian Reservation covers the area, and Boyden State Park provides visitors with opportunities for fishing, including ice fishing located in Wind River Canyon.

Boysen Reservoir is famous for its trout and walleye fishing. The reservoir is usually warm enough during the summer months for several different watersports. A marina and concessions are available on the north side of the lake, offering fishing permits, boat fuel, and meals.

See Related: Most Famous Historic Landmarks in the USA

18. Names Hill State Historic Site

Names Hill State Historic Site

Names Hill is one of the most significant landmarks along the Oregon-Californie Trail and a must-see for American history. The Names Hill State Historic Site is located in LaBarge, Wyoming, near US 189.

The site features a cliff overlooking the Green River, where emigrants carved their names into the limestone when they crossed the river. Names Hill is one of Oregon’s three registered sites where migrant settlers made their names and registered their presence.

The earliest engraved Names on Names Hill are dated from 1822. The Fort Bridger State Historical Society maintains the Names Hill State Historic Site.

19. Devils Tower National Monument

Devils Tower National Monument

Devils Tower National Monument is one of North America’s most distinctive and extraordinary geologic features, hence why this non-state park is on the list. Devils Tower juts out of the beautiful prairies surrounding the Black Hills, and it is a sacred site for many Native American tribes.

This is also one of the best climbing spots in North America, with hundreds of parallel cracks that make it perfect for climbers of all levels. Devils Tower is open to visitors all year round, and there are many ways to enjoy this beautiful place.

See Related: Road Trip Ideas in the US

21. Medicine Lodge Archaeological Site

Medicine Lodge Archaeological Site

Medicine Lodge Archaeological Site is another non-state park that deserves mention. It’s located in Medicine Bow National Forest in Wyoming. The Medicine Lodge Archaeological Site offers visitors the chance to view ancient Native American ruins.

Also, the Medicine Lodge Archaeological Site offers hiking trails and camping facilities. Medicine Lodge is an ancient Native American archaeological site that was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1970.

The Medicine Lodge Archaeological Site is open for tours, picnicking, camping, and hiking. Visiting Medicine Lodge Archaeological Site allows visitors to learn about the past and see some of the unique artifacts left behind.

21. Fossil Butte National Monument

Fossil Butte National Monument

Have you ever wanted to see where dinosaurs once roamed? If so, this national monument is the place for you! What? You’re mad that this isn’t a state park either? It’s an outstanding outdoor destination in Wyoming; what does it take to please you?!

Fossil Butte is home to an abundance of fossils, including the remains of crocodiles, fish, insects, plants, and, of course, dinosaurs. The fossils at Fossil Butte date back to the Eocene Epoch, making them some of the most well-preserved fossils in the world. In addition to seeing these amazing creatures up close, you can learn how they lived and died.

Tips on How to Choose the Right Park for You 

Wyoming Range

When choosing a state park in Wyoming, it’s essential to consider what you’re looking for in a park. Some parks are better for hiking and biking, while others are great for fishing and swimming. Make sure to choose a park that fits your interests and abilities.

If you’re unsure which park suits you, visit the Wyoming State Parks website which has a lot of information to help you decide and learn more about current weather situations, closures, and camping opportunities.

FAQ

What is the best-known park in Wyoming?

The best-known state park in Wyoming is Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone is a world-famous park that covers 3,472 square miles and is home to many types of wildlife. Visitors can enjoy hiking, fishing, biking, and camping in the park.

What can I do at state parks in Wyoming?

State parks in Wyoming offer a variety of activities, including hiking, biking, fishing, swimming, and picnicking. Some parks also have beaches, boat ramps, and playgrounds.

How do I choose the suitable Wyoming state park for me?

When choosing a state park in Wyoming, it’s essential to consider what you’re looking for in a park. Some parks are better for hiking and biking, while others are great for fishing and swimming. Make sure to choose a park that fits your interests and abilities.

Related Resources

Kyle Kroeger
WRITTEN BY

Kyle Kroeger

Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He's a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he'd heard.

Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he's learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.

He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time. Read more about his portfolio of work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *