There are ten National Park Services in the state of Wyoming. The state has two National Parks – Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. The rest of the national park services are made up of a jaw-droppingly scenic National Recreation Area and epic National Historic Trails. The state is also home to a fascinating National Historic Site, as well as some astounding National Monuments. So, whether you are into nature or history, day trips or overnight adventures, The Equality State has a national park service that’s sure to excite and delight. So, if you are ready to embrace the state’s wild open wonders, here’s our list of the best national parks in Wyoming.
7 Best National Parks in Wyoming
1. Yellowstone – National Park
Yellowstone became the world’s first national park on 1st March 1872. The park is famous the world over for its unique hydrothermal and geologic features. Within Yellowstone National Park’s 2.2-million acres you’ll find huge canyons, rushing rivers, flourishing forests, hot springs and gushing geysers, including its most famous, Old Faithful. When you visit Yellowstone, there are unequalled opportunities to observe wildlife in an intact ecosystem, including one of the largest elk herds in North America. Yellowstone is also home to the largest free-roaming, wild herd of bison in the United States of America. You can also see one of just a few grizzly populations in the contiguous United States, as well as rare sightings of wolverine and lynx.
2. Grand Teton – National Park
The Teton Range towers over the valley of Jackson Hole. It provides dramatic alpine scenery which attracts millions of visitors to Grand Teton National Park each year. The Teton Range contains some of the oldest rocks in North America. Today, it is marked with glacial features including sharp ridges on high peaks, U-shaped canyons, sagebrush-covered outwash plains, conifer covered glacial moraines, and a glacially gouged lake. The scenery and serenity of this place are remarkable and you can explore the National Park by following over two hundred miles of trails or by paddling down the Snake River.
3. Bighorn Canyon – National Recreation Area
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area straddles the border between Wyoming and Montana. On foot, you can explore the wild landscape by hiking more than 17 miles of trails. These range from leisurely short strolls to dramatic overlooks. If you are an aquatic fanatic, you can take Bighorn Lake and paddle a canoe or kayak or go boating. Out on the lake, you get a wonderful perspective of the awe-inspiring massive canyon walls that tower above you. For those who enjoy wildlife spotting, the National Recreation Area is home to gorgeous herds of Pryor Mountain wild horses and flocks the park’s namesake Bighorn sheep.
4. California – National Historic Trail
The California National Historic Trail covers 5,665 miles across ten states. It is the longest National Historic Trail in the United States of America. By following this trail, you are following in the footsteps of thousands of emigrants who also travelled along this trail in the 1840s and 1850s by wagon. The route took them from the Midwest toward the Pacific in search of gold and opportunity. This was the greatest mass migration in American history. Along the Wyoming section of this trail, you can stop off at many historical sites of interest as well as beautiful natural landmarks like Independence Rock. Thousands of emigrants camped at the foot of this granite outcrop and carved their names and messages into the rockface.
5. Pony Express – National Historic Trail
The Pony Express National Historic Trail traces the route that men once rode on horseback to deliver mail from Missouri to California. It took the men just 10 days to cover the 1,800-mile trail. The route crosses through eight states with plenty of places en route to stop where you can admire the scenery and learn more about this historic postal route. In Wyoming, you can stop at Fort Bridger, which was once, in 1843, as a fur trading post and today contains 27 historic structures and four historic replica structures.
6. Fossil Butte – National Monument
Fossil Butte National Monument is located 15 miles west of Kemmerer. It is home to some of the world’s best-preserved fossils. Fossilized fishes, insects, plants, reptiles, birds, and mammals were all found here in the flat-topped ridges of southwestern Wyoming’s cold sagebrush desert. Fossil Butte National Monument protects this world-class paleontological heritage. It also preserves the best paleontological record of Cenozoic aquatic communities in North America. On a visit, you can see these delicate fossils and learn more about the remarkable history of the region.
7. Fort Laramie – National Historic Site
Fort Laramie began life as a fur private fur trading fort in 1834. However, it eventually evolved into the biggest and best known military post on the Northern Plains. It was abandoned in 1890. Today, however, it is a wonderful historical site with 12 restored buildings that date from 1849 to the late 1880s. The site is also home to a visitor centre, where you can learn more about this important outpost. There are also numerous other ruins throughout the grounds to explore.