Downtown street in Cody, founded in 1896 by Colonel William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, designed with wide streets so his wagons could turn around as seen on August 26, 2018.

9 Underrated Destinations in Wyoming to Avoid Summer Crowds

Apart from being a lucrative Scrabble play, Wyoming has a lot to offer in pure Americana, as Wild West legends and Frontier Myth have originated in the 10th largest state in the United States of America. Iconic gunslingers have forged reputations here, riding horses in scenic landscapes that still captivate the imagination today. With the Bighorn and Yellowstone rivers running through the Cowboy State, and the Rocky Mountains elevating its landscape, Wyoming is definitely a place you have to visit if John Wayne and Clint Eastwood have ever made your eyes sparkle. Buckle up, partner, and explore some of the best places the region has to offer, without the hustle and bustle of overly-touristy destinations.


Old Coral Steakhouse in Centennial, Wyoming, via
Old Coral Steakhouse in Centennial, Wyoming, via Old Corral Steakhouse - Centennial Restaurant - Centennial, , WY | OpenTable

Centennial’s population hovers around 300, so you’re sure to find a quiet American town seated in nature. The Albany County city, a former railroad town that now thrives on tourism, is home to the Medicine Bow mountains, a favorite among hikers as it reaches 13,000 feet at Clark Peak. If you’re a fan of hiking, biking, camping, hunting, fishing, or boating, this is definitely the place for you, and it’s got the Mountain Meadow Cabins to help you enjoy your nature-surrounded stay. You definitely have to visit Thunder Basin National Grassland and the three million-acre Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest.

Rock Springs

Aerial view of Rock Springs, Wyoming
Aerial view of Rock Springs, Wyoming

You knew you were in the Wild Wild West when Butch Cassidy sharpshooter Calamity Jane was a regular fixture at Rock Springs’ main Street, but rest assured, the streets of this town, 258 miles west of state capitol Cheyenne, are as safe as can be. While the historical natural springs that the place is named after have dried up due to mining, you can still enjoy the breathtaking landscape. The southwest corner of Flaming Gorge, or Uintas National Scenic Byway, is near Rock Springs. There’s a 91-mile river that cuts through a tree-laden canyon, and it is quite a sight to see! You won’t want to miss festive events like the Red Desert Roundup and the Flaming Gorge Days!


Highway road in rural countryside in Powell Wyoming hidden behind bright green trees on summer day from aerial drone
Highway road in rural countryside in Powell, Wyoming, hidden behind bright green trees on a summer day from aerial drone

Incorporated in 1909 as a town and in 1964 as a city, Powell is located 75 miles east of Yellowstone National Park, making it an unmissable stop in the state. Part of Park County in Wyoming, the town of more than 6000 people was designated an All-American City by the National Civic League in 1994. Visitors in the region will want to stop by Heart Mountain Interpretive Center, Homesteader Museum, and the Wild Rose Action Center. You’ll also definitely want to get a look at Bighorn Basin, and get all the kayaking, hiking, and off-riding your heart desires! It’s the place to do it! 


Main street in Pinedale, Wyoming, By Tarabholmes - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
Main street in Pinedale, Wyoming, By Tarabholmes - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, File:PinedaleWyoming.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Pinedale is surrounded by three distinct mountain ranges that make it a 360-degree panoramic paradise of nature contemplation: the Wind River Range, the Wyoming Rage, and Gros Ventre Mountains (meaning Big Belly Mountains in French). Pinedale is also one of the major gateways to the Jackson Hole area, meaning visitors have easy access to the Continental Divide Trail, Cirque of the Towers, and Titcomb Basin. Sitting in a high alpine valley at an elevation of 7,175 ft, it’s no wonder this city is home to the Museum of the Mountain Man, as mountains are definitely part of the area’s DNA and a major reason why hikers and off-roaders love to spend time in this traditional ranch town. 

Green River

Visitor center in Green River, Wyoming, via Victoria Ditkovsky /
Visitor center in Green River, Wyoming, via Victoria Ditkovsky /

It's Christmas in the summer here, as the red rock landscapes complement the Green River that flows nearby and that gave the town its name. Established in 1869 as an important transportation hub of the railroad era, Green River allows tourists to explore the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, with beautiful red cliffs and impressive canyons. Adrenaline junkies can white-water raft, kayak, canoe, and swim in the area’s pristine waters. And animal lovers can see golden eagles, moose, grouse, and Western meadowlarks at the Seedskadee National Wildlife Reserve, located right in the city. Summer is a great time to visit the world capital of “Torna,” a mineral essential in the production of baking soda and detergents. 


Sheridan Avenue in Cody, Wyoming, via Steve Cukrov /
Sheridan Avenue in Cody, Wyoming, via Steve Cukrov /

Do you like the Wild West? How about Cody, named after the legendary American showman Buffalo Bill, aka William Frederick Cody? You want more Wild West? How about serving as the eastern entrance to Yellowstone National Park, with its geothermal wonders and its majestic wildlife? Whatever your mind pictures when it thinks of Westerns and cowboys and good old Americana, this is it, a place honoring its heritage with events like the Cody Nite Rodeo, Cody Stampede Rodeo and Rendezvous Royal Art Festival. On top of soaking up all those country vibes, visitors will also have the chance to hike, ride horseback, and partake in kayaking and whitewater rafting if their heart desires. 


The Occidental Hotel Lodging and Dining along the city in Buffalo, Wyoming, via Cheri Alguire /
The Occidental Hotel Lodging and Dining along the city in Buffalo, Wyoming, via Cheri Alguire /

Just when you thought you couldn’t get any more American than Cody, now you find yourself in Buffalo, smack dab in the middle of legendary Yellowstone National Park and iconic Mount Rushmore National Memorial. And if that wasn’t enough, this is also where you can find the mythical “hole in the wall” that served as a hideout for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The town is home to just under 5000 proud Americans, which will guide you to the best experiences you can get regarding hunting, hiking, camping, and fishing. Gaze at the surrounding Bighorn Mountains and just enjoy your stay in this relentlessly American experience! 


Thermopolis Hot Springs in Wyoming
Thermopolis Hot Springs in Wyoming

Americans like things big, and they like them hot, too, so Thermopolis, meaning Hot City in Greek, is a perfect destination. This north-central Wyoming city located in the aptly-named Hot Springs County is home to “The Big Spring,” the world’s biggest mineral hot spring. People come here for the free bathhouse, whose temperatures are state-controlled in order to generate a soothing rather than scorching experience to the visitor. Bighorn Basin’s southernmost municipality is surrounded by different mountain ranges, like Big Horn Mountains, Bridger Mountains, Owl Creek Mountains, and the Absaroka Range. It’s a unique nature lover’s paradise that will definitely offer an unforgettable experience. 


A former church turned into a home in Sundance, Wyoming, via Logan Bush /
A former church turned into a home in Sundance, Wyoming, via Logan Bush /

A 15-year-old outlaw stole a horse here and was subsequently named the Sundance Kid, after the town where it happened. The gunslinger would later join the Wild Bunch Gang, led by Butch Cassidy, and the rest is History. Apart from the legendary moniker, Sundance is the county seat of Crook County, seated in Wyoming’s northeastern corner, in the valley of Bearlodge Mountains, on the western edge of the Black Hills. There are a lot of other things to do or see in the area, such as the Devil's Tower National Monument, Keyhole State Park, Vore Buffalo Jump, Spearfish Canyon, Crazy Horse, and you can visit nearby South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore.

So long, partner

Wyoming is a place where American legends are made, but it can also be a destination where wonderful memories are created, thanks to the unique and incomparable landscapes of the Western frontier and the many activities offered by the surrounding municipalities, from hiking to fishing to off-roading and kayaking. Bring your camera, bring the kids, bring some water, and spend one of the greatest summers you can imagine.


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