Sign and office for the Black Bear Inn, a small motel in downtown Dubois, Wyoming. Image credit melissamn via Shutterstock

8 Most Scenic Small Towns In Wyoming

Admitted to the Union on July 10, 1890, as the 44th state, Wyoming is a picturesque landlocked state in the Western United States’ Mountain West subregion. Commended for its varied topography featuring breathtaking Rockies, extensive acres of high-elevation prairies, broad river valleys, rolling hills, and massive basins, the Cowboy State also has expansive stretches of federal lands, including renowned national parks, wildlife refuges, recreation areas, monuments, fish hatcheries, historic sites, and national forests.

Dotting Wyoming’s rugged 97,813 sq. mi terrain are innumerable pretty small towns that are ideal locales to experience the Old West charm and commune with Mother Nature far away from the maddening crowds of bustling metropolises.


Hot springs in Thermopolis, Wyoming
Hot springs in Thermopolis, Wyoming.

The most populous community and seat of Hot Springs County, Thermopolis, located near the Wind River Canyon and Wedding of the Waters’ northern end, houses countless natural mineral hot springs. As the southernmost municipality in Bighorn Basin, the town is encircled by many spectacular mountain ranges like the Big Horn Mountains in the northeast, Owl Creek Mountains in the southwest, Absaroka Range in the northwest, and Bridger Mountains in the southeast.

Furthermore, the Hot Springs State Park features travertine terraces, hotels (Best Western Plus Plaza Hotel, and Days Inn-Safari Club), boat docks, a State Bath House, numerous water slides, a suspension footbridge over Big Horn River, a state-controlled herd of American bison, and the world’s biggest mineral hot spring called “The Big Spring.” Thermopolis’s other impressive attractions include the Hot Springs County Museum & Cultural Center, Wind River Canyon Whitewater Rafting, Downtown Thermopolis Historic District, and the adjacent Wyoming Dinosaur Center.


Pine Street in Pinedale, Wyoming
Pine Street in Pinedale, Wyoming. Image credit: Tarabholmes via Wikimedia Commons.

Home to 2,058 residents as per the latest US Census, Pinedale sits at an elevation of 7,175 ft ringed by three mountain ranges: Wind River Range, Gros Ventre Range, and Wyoming Range in the state’s Sublette County. Being a vital hunting outfitting town and a significant gateway to the Jackson Hole Area, backpackers can easily reach the Continental Divide Trail, the Titcomb Basin, and Cirque of the Towers from here.

Vacationers visiting Pinedale must tour the Bridger-Teton National Forest by horseback or rent a kayak and fishing rod and head to Fremont Lake - the state’s second-biggest natural lake. During the cooler months, over 300 miles of groomed snowmobile trails across varied terrain can be accessed, besides frozen lakes providing snowshoeing, ice fishing, and ice-skating opportunities. After a hectic day of exploration, unwind at the many diners and breweries in Pinedale’s downtown.


Fourth of July parade in Lander, Wyoming
Fourth of July parade in Lander, Wyoming. Editorial credit: Red Herring /

Fremont County’s seat of government, Lander, labeled after the transcontinental explorer General Frederick William Lander, is situated immediately south of the Wind River Indian Reservation along the Middle Fork Popo Agie River in central Wyoming. Having a large number of guest ranches nearby, Lander is a favored destination for those who wish to experience Wyoming ranch life. The town is also home to the National Register-listed Lander Downtown Historic District, Jackson Park Town Site Addition Brick Row, Evans Dahl Memorial Museum, Lander Children’s Museum, Fremont County Pioneer Museum, Lander Art Center, as well as the surrounding Shoshone National Forest and Sinks Canyon State Park.

Revelers must attend the town’s various annual cultural events, including the Pioneer Days Parade & Rodeo, Wyoming State Winter Fair, One-Shot Antelope Hunt, Lander Brew Festival, and the International Climbers Festival.


Sheridan Avenue in Cody, Wyoming.
Sheridan Avenue in Cody, Wyoming. Image credit: Steve Cukrov -

Cody, called after the celebrated scout and showman Colonel William Frederick Cody aka “Buffalo Bill,” is located on the Bighorn Basin’s western margin in northwest Wyoming’s Park County. The town’s downtown exudes an Old West allure, with its plethora of shopping options, art galleries, and top-tier restaurants. Art aficionados should not miss Cody’s notable points of interest, such as the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody County Art League, and Old Trail Town, situated just off the Yellowstone Highway and featuring more than 25 meticulously restored Western artifacts and structures.

The town’s nearness to Shoshone National Forest and Yellowstone National Park’s eastern entrance has made it an outdoor recreation center offering multiple activities like whitewater rafting, rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, downhill and cross-country skiing. Every year, the town hosts the Cody Stampede Rodeo, Cody Nite Rodeo, and the week-long Rendezvous Royale Art Festival.


Aerial view of Jackson, Wyoming
Aerial view of Jackson, Wyoming.

Circumscribed by the Gros Ventre and Teton Mountain ranges, this administrative center and biggest town in Teton County is situated in Wyoming’s northwestern part at the southern edge of Jackson Hole Valley. The town’s closeness to three superb ski resorts, the Snow King Mountain Resort, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and Grand Targhee Resort, has made it a well-known vacation retreat. Jackson is also an important resting place for thousands of nature lovers on their yearly trips to the adjacent Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.

Sightseers would not want to miss the nearby National Elk Refuge and Bridger-Teton National Forest, where they can go on horse-drawn sleigh rides throughout winter and observe one of the US’ biggest elk herds. The scores of boutiques and eateries in the town, apart from the Center for the Arts and the National Museum of Wildlife Art, invite holidayers to spend good times with dear ones.


Aerial view of Buffalo, Wyoming
Aerial view of Buffalo, Wyoming.

Buffalo, the seat of government of Johnson County, is located at the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains, conveniently between Yellowstone National Park and Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The Cloud Peak Scenic Byway, a 64-mile-long paved drive that runs through the southern section of Big Horn National Forest on U.S. Highway 16, links Buffalo with Ten Sleep and Worland, besides offering unparalleled views of the Big Horn National Forest, Cloud Peak Wilderness, and the Big Horn Mountains. A plethora of landmark properties, including the Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum and Occidental Hotel Museum, fill the town’s downtown core.

A short drive from Buffalo leads heritage buffs to numerous other noteworthy sites like Fort Phil Kearney, Wagon Box Fight, the “Hole in the Wall” hiding place of Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy, and Fetterman’s Massacre Site. Outdoorsy types get to participate in ample activities like hiking, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, camping, and fishing in the alpine lakes and crystal-clear streams.

Ten Sleep

Wild West style building in Ten Sleep, Wyoming
Wild West style building in Ten Sleep, Wyoming.

This teeny ranching community in north-central Wyoming’s Washakie County occupies the Bighorn Basin at the Bighorn Mountains' western base, approximately 26 miles east of Worland and 59 miles west of Buffalo. Named after an indigenous method of calculating the distance between the town and other prominent Native American camps, Ten Sleep is a mecca for rock climbers and outdoor enthusiasts who wish to traverse the abutting mountainous area as well as the astounding Ten Sleep Canyon and Powder River Pass.

When in town, local attractions such as the Ten Sleep Mercantile, Meadowlark Lake Lodge & Restaurant, Carter Inn, Ten Sleep Brewing Company, and Ten Sleep Rock Ranch are must-visits. Additionally, yearly events like the Nowoodstock Music Festival held on the second weekend of August and a two-day rodeo and parade celebrating the nation’s Independence Day entice town residents and holidayers alike.


Aerial view of Dubois, Wyoming.
Aerial view of Dubois, Wyoming.

Christened after Fred Thomas Dubois, a friend of Governor Joseph Maull Carey, this pretty town in Fremont County is situated on U.S. Highway 26 at the start of the Wyoming Centennial Scenic Byway along the upper Wind River. Having some extraordinary natural landscapes, including the majestic Absaroka Range, adventure lovers can partake in abundant recreations like hiking, mountain biking, big game hunting, camping, and fishing during the warmer months, and ice climbing, dog sledding, skiing, and snowmobiling during the cold season. Nevertheless, one of the finest ways to experience this tiny town is to tour its many guest ranches such as the Rams Horn Guest Ranch, Crooked Creek Guest Ranch, Bitterroot Ranch, and Triangle C Ranch.

The National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Center, National Museum of Military Vehicles, Dubois Town Park, Dubois Museum, and over 800,000 acres of the untouched Shoshone National Forest are some of the town’s popular sites of interest. Events like the Dubois Friday Night Rodeo, Fourth of July parade, Wind River Mountain Festival, Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, and National Day of the Cowboy are held annually.

From the natural mineral hot springs of Thermopolis to the incredible mountain vistas of Jackson, the scenic small towns of the United States’ 10th largest and least populous state offer unforgettable memories for visitors of all ages. Boasting splendid sceneries, exclusive attractions, colorful local celebrations, endless outdoor recreations, and a welcoming ambiance, these Equality State towns are worth adding to your itineraries.

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