Ten Sleep Saloon Steakhouse, Wyoming. Image credit magraphy via Shutterstock

8 Underappreciated Towns to Visit in Wyoming

While you might say that all of Wyoming is underappreciated, the following eight communities are underseen relative to Wyoming's already obscure cities. The least populous American state has, as of the 2020 Census, 10 cities and one town with more than 10,000 people, but none of these small communities have more than 3,000. Yet what they lack in residents, they make up for with a variety of unforgettable attractions. Learn precisely why you should visit these tiny towns in Big Wyoming.


Historic Victorian Wolf Hotel in downtown Saratoga, Wyoming.
Historic Victorian Wolf Hotel in downtown Saratoga, Wyoming. Image credit Georgia Evans via Shutterstock.com

Saratoga is a gateway to boundless nature, but not the boundless nature that Wyoming is famous for. Instead of Yellowstone National Park, this 1,700ish-person town neighbors the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland, which, at nearly 2.9 million acres, is a larger preserve than Yellowstone. After hiking, biking, skiing, horseback riding, snowmobiling, fishing, hunting, and/or camping in the forests and grassland, tourists can relax in Saratoga proper at the Saratoga Museum, Bella's Bistro, and Hobo Hot Springs.

You can cap off your tour with caps off at Snowy Mountain Brewery, dubbed "America's only brewery with it's [sic] own hot springs resort." It is called Saratoga Hot Springs Resort, and it can be your base if you attend the 28th Annual Steinley Cup Microbrew Festival on Saturday, August 3, 2024.

Ten Sleep

A countryside brewery under an orange cliff, Ten Sleep, Wyoming.
A countryside brewery under an orange cliff, Ten Sleep, Wyoming. Image credit Pierre Jean Durieu via Shutterstock

Another wild and wet Wyoming town, Ten Sleep, has about 250 residents, the Ten Sleep Brewing Company, and the Bighorn National Forest, which preserves over a million acres of diverse terrain. Mountains, valleys, lakes, rolling hills, and alpine meadows are all accessible to permanent and temporary Ten Sleepers, who might need ten sleeps to recharge after such an adventure.

Luckily, the town offers accommodations across the spectrum of luxury, from The Big Horn Retreat to The Carter Inn to the Ten Sleep RV Park to primitive campsites.


Kemmerer, Wyoming, JC Penny company mother store.
Kemmerer, Wyoming, JC Penny company mother store. Image credit Chris Augliera via Shutterstock

Kemmerer's attractions can literally be excavated. This 2,400ish-person "city" (the largest community in Lincoln County) is flanked by fossil quarries. American Fossil and Fossil Lake Adventures manage two of the quarries and allow all-you-can-keep fossil hunting. However, the latter company makes an exception for rare specimens valued at over $100,000.

If you would rather find fossils the easy way, check out the indoor and outdoor exhibits at the Fossil Butte National Monument (collecting fossils on the trails is prohibited) or pop into the Fossil Country Frontier Museum in Kemmerer proper. Aside from fossils, Kemmerer is known as the birthplace of JCPenney. Visitors can shop the 1902 JCPenney Mother Store and tour the 1904 J.C. Penney House.


Main Street in Pinedale, Wyoming.
Main Street in Pinedale, Wyoming. Image credit Tarabholmes - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Bigger than both Yellowstone and Medicine Bow-Routt, the Bridger-Teton National Forest spans more than 3.4 million acres in western Wyoming and can be accessed via the small town of Pinedale. Adventurers can load up on food at Stockman's Saloon & Steakhouse, (non-alcoholic) drink at Wind River Brewing Company, and gear at the Great Outdoor Shop before conquering the forest.

Afterward, admire predecessors at the Museum of the Mountain Man or inhabit their spirits (with the help of liquid spirits) at the Green River Rendezvous, which mirrors an 1830s event where mountain men, trappers, travelers, and warriors gathered in the Green River Valley to barter and party. Its 89th modern iteration is scheduled to run from July 11 to 14, 2024.


Buffalo Lodge in Chugwater, Wyoming.
Buffalo Lodge in Chugwater, Wyoming. Image credit Rachel Rose Boucher via Shutterstock

You might have to chug water after enjoying Chugwater's top attraction. This truly tiny town is the birthplace and headquarters of Chugwater Chili. Tourists can sample the spicy yet scrumptious staple at the Chugwater Soda Fountain and wash it down with water, soda, or a milkshake. To up the ante, visit on the third Saturday of June for the Chugwater Chili Cook-Off, where participants cook and eat buckets of chili and salsa and vote on the best ones.

The word "chugwater" is said to have been coined by a Mandan chief to describe the "chugging" sound of a nearby stream-lined buffalo jump. Beautiful nature awaits those who survive the chili cook-off.


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

As exalted as it sounds, Thermopolis claims the largest mineral hot springs in the world. Yes, this town of roughly 2,700 people in the middle of Wyoming has Hot Springs State Park, whose namesake attraction gushes over a million gallons of 128-degree water each day. Guests can soak in several spring-fed pools before hiking 6.2 miles of trails or dining and sleeping at the Hot Springs Hotel & Safari Club. Although Hot Springs is Wyoming's most visited state park, it does not get the same attention as other states' parks. Developers are intent on turning Hot Springs—and thus Thermopolis—into a year-round destination. Go before it overflows.


Devils Tower near Sundance, Wyoming.
Devils Tower near Sundance, Wyoming.

Do not kid about visiting Sundance. This town of about 1,000 people is where Harry Longabaugh served his only jail sentence and earned the iconic nickname "Sundance Kid." Displays of that Wild West outlaw are inside and outside the Crook County Museum & Art Gallery. You can even find furniture from the original 1888 courthouse.

Far from the only legendary locale in the Sundance area, the museum is a hop, skip, and a jump from the Vore Buffalo Jump, a 40-foot-deep sinkhole that decimated 20,000 bison and is dubbed "one of the most important archaeological sites of the Late-Prehistoric Plains Indians in the region." Also neighboring Sundance is Devils Tower, a football-field-sized butte that, in 1906, was declared by then-president Theodore Roosevelt to be America's first national monument.


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

If you ever wanted to see the "world's largest jackalope exhibit," Dubois is for you. Don't worry if such a thing had never crossed your mind because, after visiting the jackalope-filled Country Store, you can peep real animals at the National Bighorn Sheep Center and eat excellent onion rings at Village Cafe before you hike, bike, climb, swim, raft, kayak, canoe, motorboat, fish, and/or horseback ride at Grand Teton National Park. Although Jackson is the go-to gateway to Grand Teton, Dubois has one-tenth the population and arguably better attractions.

As America's least populous state, Wyoming already lacks attention, but Saratoga, Ten Sleep, Kemmerer, Pinedale, Chugwater, Thermopolis, Sundance, and Dubois are overshadowed within Wyoming. None of those communities has 3,000 residents, yet they contain or neighbor thousands of attractions worthy of a long and elaborate trip. See what so many people neglect to see in rural yet ravishing Wyoming.

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