Known for its vast mountain ranges, Wyoming is a beautiful state with many fantastic year-round outdoor adventures. These scenic towns offer historical insights into the state's past, national parks, and other natural wonders, as the most beautiful small towns for one's next atmospheric and unforgettable getaway.
The beautiful historic town of Buffalo is nestled cozily in the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains. Representing the Old West city, it is the famous location of an old western mystery drama, Longmire. The downtown area features perfectly preserved architectural styles of the turn-of-the-century Midwest, such as the 131-year-old Occidental Hotel that has hosted Butch Cassidy and Teddy Roosevelt in the past. The Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum, opened in 1900, is a popular and frequent hit with tourists, telling the story of the state's past. There is also the Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite with fossilized dinosaur prints adored by historians, active pursuit seekers, and families with kids. The surrounding nature offers a variety of activities to enjoy in the scenic outdoors, from skiing, hiking, boating, and fishing, to photography and relaxing within the vistas.
A lively town nestled in the scenic foothills of the Snowy Mountains, Centennial, is a known year-round recreational mecca for the active. It is a popular wintertime getaway with downhill and cross-country skiing and snowmobiling opportunities. Featuring beautiful nature within the Thunder Basin National Grassland and the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, the latter comprises nearly 3 million acres of hiking, photograph opportunities, and active adventures. The deep-rooted history can be discovered at the Centennial's Nici Museum. Initially, home to the Plains Indians, it was then populated by settlers searching for a vast timber area on the nearby Centennial Mountain. With 300-some hospitable residents, the town thrives on tourism and developed timber and railway industries. Upon the discovery of a gold-rich vain on the Centennial Mountain, the fever was short-lived, with the vain engulfed in a fault line two years later, never to be found again. In town, there's the Mountain View Hotel for a homey stay with vistas, along with a local Phoenix Gallery worthy of a visit.
Although the town's name changed from "Never Sweat" for having warm, dry winds, Dubois retained its quirky attitude with an authentic Western vibe where cowboys work and play. Set along the Wind River in the vicinity of the Absaroka, the Rockies, and Wind River Mountains, Dubois's splendid natural beauty offers second-to-none views, natural trails, and ranch activities. It is also the getaway into the badlands and the high peaks of the Centennial Scenic Byway. The wildlife viewing opportunities include elk, wolves, moose, and grizzly bears, while fishing and hunting are also allowed in the area. The endless list of activities for the active includes hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking in the vast mountain range and forest, snowshoeing, skiing, and snowmobiling in winter. One can explore the petroglyphs carved by early Native Americans or visit the National Bighorn Sheep Centre dedicated to preserving bighorn sheep for some wholesome family fun and discovery time. As well, the Dubois Friday Night Rodeo takes place every week from July to August for the best Western experience in the region.
The unmatched countryside views of roaming wild horses and an atmospheric downtown area brimming with shops and eateries easily make Green River a beautiful getaway. Known as Adobe Town and Old Town in the past, it originated on the bank of the river at 6,600 feet (2,000) above the sea level, surrounded by rock formations in 1862 with the Postmaster General relocating the overland mail route to keep it protected from the Indians. From there, S.I Field, an entrepreneur, developed a small settlement on the northern banks of the Green River that acted as a distribution center with the railroad arriving in 1868. The town was named after the river that was renamed from "Spanish River" in 1824 for the green soapstone banks along its course. The well-developed tourism activities include river rafting, kayaking, mountain biking, world-class fishing, and wildlife watching in the beautiful outdoors. It is also a starting point to the Flaming Gorge Reservoir and National Recreation Area and the Ashley National Forest immediately to the south. A national historical site in town commemorates the famous John Wesley Powell's exploration of 1869. Green River is also a known producer of the nation's soda ash at the nearby mines that is used in making glass, baking soda, and toothpaste.
Founded in the late 19th century in the surroundings of the Teton and Gros Ventre mountain ranges, Jackson is a reputable skiing destination for the nation. Set in the Jackson Hole valley of western Wyoming near the border with Idaho, the area is known for the natural environment and wildlife, with two national parks in the vicinity, the smaller Grand Teton National Park, and the larger Yellowstone National Park to the north. The intersecting tributaries of the Snake River, the Cache Creek, and Flat Creek, near the downtown area, offer all the water fun at one's doorstep. The well-developed tourism industry meets the demand in popularity with an array of galleries, custom jewelers, and designer clothing retailers within the district-centered Town Square, also known as the George Washington Memorial Park. Featuring four entrances adorned with large arches made from elk antler shreds collected from the National Elk Refuge, the Town Square contains many historical buildings, the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum, and a memorial to an early explorer, John Colter. The three ski resorts are the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, the Grand Targhee Ski and Summer Resort, and the oldest, Snow King Resort, which opened in 1939.
Situated right in the heart of Wyoming on the upper plains of the Rockies, the town with a ringing name is considered one of the best outdoor getaways in the United States for the most breathtaking mountain range vistas. Lander also comes with free camping on the ground with many local pubs and breweries, dude ranches, and outdoor adventures to suit any taste with the back-drop of the gorgeous mountain range. The Wind River Range attracts anglers, hikers, backpackers, and outdoor enthusiasts during summertime, while the Wild Iris area in the vicinity is popular among climbers. From a small camp settlement in the 19th-century, Lander transformed into a tourist center and a known first-class city "where the rails end and the trails begin," with the Sinks Canyon State Park, where the river disappears into the mountains. Comprising a respectful 8,000 residents, one can come to mingle at the year-round Pioneer Days Rodeo, which is the world's oldest paid rodeo, the three-day International Climber's Festival, or at the state fair taking place each winter.
A popular pit-stop on the way to the Jackson Hole or the Wind River Mountains, Pinedale offers 360-degree stunning scenery of rivers, lakes, and mountains and an endless array of activities. Known as a traditional ranch town with countless educational opportunities and historical attractions for whole families to enjoy, there are the Pronghorn Wildlife Corridor and the Museum of the Mountain Man. Many love visiting the town for the feeling of being transported back in time, while others know it for the myriad of parks and wilderness areas with a plethora of wildlife spotting and bird-watching opportunities. Pinedale is one of the four gateways to the Continental Divide Trail and Wyoming's winter destination spot. The White Pine Ski Area is one of the most popular ski destinations in the state. The active will enjoy fishing, kayaking, or water skiing at the second largest natural lake of Wyoming, Fremont Lake, while the backpackers will find their free-scape on the many treks like the Cirque of the Towers and the Titcomb Basin. The lively downtown is home to local eateries, shops, and craft breweries, all with memorable atmospheres and delicious cuisine.
Set in the north of the state, Story presents itself as a beautiful mountainous community with the Bighorn Mountains off to the west. Home to only 900-some locals, it is a perfect getaway to experience a slower pace of life, where artists find their slice of heaven in the scenically inspiring vistas and the myriad of artistic venues that Story is known for. The mountain-views cabins for staying and relaxing are designed for the weekend traveler, while the notable sights in-town include the Fort Phil Kearny and the National Historic Landmark, the Wagon Box battleground. The wildlife-rich surrounding natural area offers a myriad of outdoor activities that locals love partaking in, such as fishing, hunting, and rock climbing at the famed Piney Creek. Other family-friendly attractions include visiting Our Lady of the Pines Parish, Camp Story, and the Thorne-Rider Youth Camp.
Thermopolis is a fascinatingly beautiful small town that houses one of the largest mineral hot springs in the world, the Big Spring, along with the many more hot springs at its Hot Springs State Park. Coming complete with mineral spring bathhouses, they are known for rejuvenating and prophylactic qualities. Thanks to the peace treaty signed with the local American Indian tribe in 1896, it is completely free to take a dip in the healing waters of the state bathhouses, along with taking in the scenery for complete mind and body relaxation in the springs. Families will love the Wyoming Dinosaur Centre featuring prehistoric fossils and a massive water park with a hot spring called the Star Plunge. The history fanatics will revel in discovering the history and significance behind Thermopolis and the surrounding area at the Hot Springs County Museum. There are also wonderful traditional handicrafts markets, a habitat for a local herd of bison, as well as the nearby Wind River and Bighorn Canyons that are perfect for hiking and setting a scenic picnic.
These towns, brimming with historical buildings and sights among the quirky shops and eateries, are just as beautiful within as they are from the outside. Each quintessential in their own way, with an endless array of outdoor pursuits, these towns are all bucket-list-worthy as one's next, Wyoming great outdoor escape.