Hot Springs State Park, Thermopolis, Wyoming.

The Best State Parks To Visit In Wyoming

Wyoming, a landlocked state in the Western United States, is the tenth largest state in the country. Despite its size, Wyoming remains the least populous state in the country. This unique combination creates room for many natural attractions and today, besides the world-famous Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, the state is home to about a dozen state parks spanning over 100,000 acres of its vast area. These parks preserve some of the state’s most iconic natural attractions, from mineral hot springs to mountains, wildlife, waterbodies, and more. In addition to their impressive features, these parks are great places for recreation, with many featuring trails for all hiking levels. From Keyhole to Guernsey, here are the nine best state parks in the Cowboy State worth visiting anytime.

Keyhole State Park

The Keyhole State Park
The Keyhole State Park, Wyoming.

Keyhole State Park is a scenic recreational park centered around the Keyhole Reservoir in Crook County. This reservoir is the park's central attraction and serves as a playground for swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, paddling, and water skiing adventures. For dedicated anglers, several big fish have been caught in the lake, and that's an inspiration. If fishing and water sports are not on a to-do list here, visitors can hike around the lake, host picnics on its banks under big shelters, or camp for a retreat. The picnic shelters feature lake views and can also be used for wedding receptions and other small events. In addition, the area is renowned for hosting a large diversity of birds, making it a prime birdwatching destination. But the lake is not limited to summer activities. In winter, it freezes and becomes a playground for snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice skating, and skiing.

Boysen State Park

 The Boysen Reservoir in the Boysen State Park, Wyoming.
The Boysen Reservoir in the Boysen State Park, Wyoming. Image credit: Charles Willgren from Fort Collins, Colorado, United States, via Wikimedia Commons.

Boysen State Park is a reservoir-based public recreation area in Fremont County, occupying more than 35,000 acres of land south of Owl Creek Mountains. The Boysen Reservoir, a dam of the Wind River, is the main draw to this park, and it invites anglers to battle for fish species such as perch, crappie, ling, walleye, cutthroat, and more on fishing expeditions. Boating and paddling can also be done on the reservoir, with views of dramatic geological formations framing the scenery and complementing the views. For retreat seekers, the park features multiple campgrounds and offers great wildlife viewing opportunities, with animals such as deer, bighorn sheep, antelope, and waterfowl always roaming the area.

Seminoe State Park

The reservoir surrounded by mountains in the Seminoe State Park, Wyoming
The reservoir surrounded by mountains in the Seminoe State Park, Wyoming.

Seminoe State Park is an alluring, picture-perfect recreational area in Carbon County, nestled at the foot of the Seminoe Mountains. The park lies at the Northwest end of Seminoe Reservoir on 1,639 acres of land while offering access to 19,000 acres of water. Thus, it is a thrilling hub for boating, fishing, swimming, camping, picnicking, canoeing, jet skiing, water skiing, paddling, and hiking. For devoted anglers, the park features Miracle Mile, a scenic stretch of the North Platte River, where trout and fly fishing are popular activities. And while the park lacks designated hiking trails, most of its land areas can be hiked. The park also features an abundance of wildlife like moose, elk, raccoons, monkeys, bald eagles, and rabbits, among others.

Guernsey State Park

The enchanting landscape of the Guernsey State Park, Wyoming.
The enchanting landscape of the Guernsey State Park, Wyoming.

Guernsey State Park revolves around the reservoir of the same name, formed by the damming of the North Platte River in Platte County. Visitors can explore this park via several hiking trails that offer scenic views of the reservoir and dam while relaxing at picnic areas to snack and chat. Additionally, boat ramps are available to explore the water, and camping enthusiasts are welcome to any of the park’s 19 campgrounds featuring over 250 campsites. In addition, the park features a museum built by the Civil Conservation Corps (CCC) on a cliff overlooking the water. The museum enlightens visitors on all they need to know about the CCC and the natural history of the region. A castle is also in the park for tours.

Glendo State Park

Glendo Reservoir in the Glendo State Park, Wyoming
Glendo Reservoir in the Glendo State Park, Wyoming. Image credit: Wusel007 via Wikimedia Commons.

Glendo State Park is an iconic park that boasts 22,000 acres of public recreational area made up of 12,000 acres of water and 10,000 acres of land. The Glendo Reservoir is the highlight attraction in this park, featuring six boat ramps and fishing facilities for the prominent walleye fish. Visitors can also explore the park by hiking or biking its 45 miles of non-motorized. For those looking to cool off, the park offers swimming opportunities at Shelter Point Area and Sandy Beach. Visitors will also enjoy amazing views of the area at the park’s several overlooks like the Dam Overlook and the North Dam Overlook. Additionally, picnic areas and group shelters are available for family outings and picnics, while several campsites await retreat seekers. The park is also home to wildlife such as antelope, white-tailed deer, coyotes, mule deer, and several bird species.

Bear River State Park

A trail through the Bear River State Park, Wyoming.
A trail through the Bear River State Park, Wyoming. Image credit: Madpoet_1 via

Bear River State Park is a 324-acre public recreation area along the Bear River in Evanston offering thrilling recreational activities. First off, this park is home to several hiking trails, including a 1.2-mile well-paved trail for easy walks, a 1.7-mile gravel-filled trail, and an arched footbridge over the Bear River. While hiking around the park, visitors will be entertained by sights of Bison and elk and also get enlightened on the outstanding wildlife heritage of Wyoming at the visitor center. The park also features picnic benches and with no campgrounds, it is a day-use-only park.

Curt Gowdy State Park

The serene settings of Curt Gowdy State Park, Wyoming
The serene settings of Curt Gowdy State Park, Wyoming.

Curt Gowdy State Park is a 3,395-acre public park situated between Cheyenne and Laramie and at the foothills of the Laramie Mountains. The park is famed for its three scenic and fishing reservoirs - Granite Springs, Crystal, and North Crow. Besides fishing, these lakes also offer opportunities for canoeing, boating, and water skiing. The park also features 35 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails to explore. Hiking these trails can also reveal some of the wildlife within the park, such as white-tailed deer and mule deer. More activities offered in the park include - water skiing and camping. For history buffs, the park hosts Hynd Lodge - a conference and accommodation lodge that has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Sinks Canyon State Park

Popo Agie River in the Sinks Canyon State Park outside of Lander, Wyoming
Popo Agie River in the Sinks Canyon State Park outside of Lander, Wyoming.

Sinks Canyon State Park is located within the Wind River Mountain, where views of the middle fork of Popo Agie River are enchanting. Located south of Lander, it is one of the most unique state parks in the country, remarkable for its sinks - an underground limestone cavern that sucks in the flowing river. The river water then travels underground to resurfaces further down the canyon, where it creates a pool. Tourists can fish in this pool, hike around, camp, hold picnics, and climb the surrounding canyons. The area is also home to wildlife, such as mule deer, bull snakes, yellow-bellied marmots, and around 94 bird species, making it a birdwatching haven. Additionally, the park protects a forest of aspen, Douglas fir, whitebark pine, and subalpine pine trees, among other plant species.

Hot Springs State Park

Hot Springs State Park,Thermopolis, Wyoming
Hot Springs State Park, Thermopolis, Wyoming.

Hot Springs State Park is a unique public recreation site in Thermopolis featuring several hot springs on terraces along the Big Horn River. The park features a free bathhouse where visitors can enjoy relaxing dips in therapeutic waters. Away from the warm waters, the park also hosts the Legend Rock Petroglyph Site, where hundreds of petroglyphs adorn the faces of a staggering rock. In addition, the park features a suspension footbridge over the Big Horn River where views of the river and the surrounding landscapes of hot springs are magnificent. For more adventures, the park offers about 6.2 miles of trails where visitors can hike and spot a herd of bison. Picnic shelters are also available to relax afterward, and a boat ramp sets the pace for exploration and fishing on the Big Horn River.

State parks serve to preserve natural landmarks and attractions, and showcase them to tourists for patronage. In Wyoming, a state big on landmass and landscape variety, there are plenty of these state parks protecting natural endowments such as wildlife, unique landscapes, and plants. Hence, visitors have multiple options to explore, besides the state's iconic national parks.


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