Traveling has become quite a trend recently, thanks to Instagram photographers and vloggers who are continuously scouring the world for the best places to visit. Through their pictures and videos, we get to look past a country’s popular tourist destinations; instead, we are treated to key places that we have not even heard before. More importantly, we are treated to cultural sites that hold much history and heritage. One of these places is Wyoming, known for its natural and rugged landscape and where the days of the Wild West is given life.
If you are the kind of traveler who likes being surrounded by nature almost everyday, then Wyoming is the destination for you. Even if you plan to stay in for the day in your hotel or at any of the Jackson Hole cabin rentals, you will be treated to such stunning sceneries. And from hiking or mountain biking to visiting a wide-open space wilderness, there is much to explore in one of the most beautiful states in the US. Here are some of the best things to do during your Wyoming trip.
Devil’s Tower National Monument
This ominously named destination is the first declared national monument in the United States. It rises at 1,200 feet above the Belle Fourche River and a summit that is 5,112 feet above sea level. No one knows why the mountain looks the way it, and the theories become more and more interspersed with the supernatural or the science fiction. But one look will tell you why it is such a geological masterpiece. Its shape looks like an entrance to a different place, a volcanic marvel that depicts the changing culture and history of the region.
Here, you may choose to hike the 8 miles of trails that go around the rock and the surrounding meadows. If you visit here in the spring, you might even see an abundance of wildflowers surrounding the forests. Assuming this is your first time to hike the Tower, make sure to join the guided hikes so you will not get lost traversing the natural trails. Otherwise, you might want to try rock climbing as an alternative to hiking.
The Belle Fourche River is also a good place to stop by if you want to do a bit of fishing. You can catch Channel Catfish, Black Bullhead, Smallmouth Bass, Catch WAlleye, and more.
Another destination that inspires dark legends, the Smith Mansion can be found at the heart of the Wapiti Valley. There were rumors that the house with countless balconies and winding staircases was made by a madman. Some even say that the plot of land it was built on was a profitable mine shaft; while others say that it was built as a joke. But the truth is more mundane than you might think: Francis Lee Smith just wanted to build his family a home.
Made from locally harvested materials, the house started out as any normal looking house. However, Smith continued building and building, adding floors and balconies to the house. It did not have any electricity, save for the power they get from an extension cord that is connected to a generator. Even after his divorce, he dedicated more time in the construction. Tragically, Smith died as he worked untethered in one of the upper balconies, and fell.
Since then, the house sat empty and looked even more sinister as time passes. Make sure you get to see this mansion and see its quirky design for yourself.
Yellowstone National Park
This list would not be complete without the mention of the world’s first and oldest national park: the Yellowstone National Park. It is 2.2 million acres of wilderness areas, geysers, and hot springs. Here, you will see diverse fauna roaming free like bison, wolves, elk, bears, swans, eagles, and antelopes. It has been called geothermal wonderland because it is one of the temperate-zone ecosystems in the world. When you drop by Yellowstone, make sure to visit some of the popular spots, like:
● Morning Glory Pool
Used to be named Convolutus, this pool used to have only blue water instead of its rainbow hue today. This is because the trash build up has blocked the thermal vents in the pool and has significantly reduced its heat. For this reason, thermophilic bacteria is not the only bacteria living in its waters anymore, and this created the red and yellow ring around the blue water. And this one of the main reasons why the pool is being called ‘Faded Glory’ instead.
● Grand Prismatic Spring
Another rainbow-colored body of water is the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring. It was discovered by European explorers and surveyors in the 1800s. This boiling lake is so hot that the water is said to be sterile. The rainbow hue comes from pigmented microbe mats that live in the warm, mineral-rich water. Because the colors depend on temperature gradient, it changes along with the seasons. So in the summer, you might see more orange and red hues, while in the winder, you will observe that green is more evident. However, because of its sterile nature, the bold blue color at the center can be observed year-round.
● Old Faithful Geyser
The geyser was given this name for no other reason than erupting ever 92 minutes — a very predictable timeframes that allow crowds to gather at the right time to see it. It spews water between 130 to 190 feet high. But for those of you are hoping to ride the geyser, you might want to rethink that since the water can reach temperatures of up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, with a steam that reaches 350 degrees.
So on your visit to Wyoming, make sure you have your camera and your outdoor gear ready. You will be hiking, rock climbing, and sight-seeing at every spot you visit.