6 Cozy Small Towns in Wyoming

Tourists and residents alike appreciate Wyoming’s small towns. The opportunity for adventure drives residents to create a vibrant culture that cannot be replicated. Escape to the Cowboy State, where desert painter’s flowers blow in the wind, making the perfect crimson companion to the Union’s most beautiful sunsets. From Yellowstone and the northern mountain ranges to the Great Divide Basin in the south, Wyoming’s welcoming spirit makes it home to many cozy small towns.

Rock Springs

An aerial view of Rock Springs, Wyoming, a stop on the commuter rail line
Overlooking Rock Springs, Wyoming.

Over 23,000 people live in beautiful Rock Springs. Journey up the Green River on the Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Tour to spot wild horses. Learn about the history of the area at the Rock Springs Historical Museum. The building was completed in 1894 and was used to house the city council.

The Rock Springs Community Fine Arts Center is a performance space and art gallery that houses works by Norman Rockwell and Grandma Moses in its permanent collection. The group began in 1939 when Rock Springs purchased a plaque for the local high school. Rock Springs’ vibrant arts scene is built from the grassroots. After filling your body with adrenaline at Sweetwater Speedway, let it seep out of your pores at Escape Day Spa.

Green river

Statue of two miners and visitor center sign, Green River, Wyoming.
Statue of two miners and visitor center sign, Green River, Wyoming. Image source: Victoria Ditkowski via Shutterstock

Stop and stay at the other end of the Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Tour in the town of Green River. The expansive skyline and natural gifts may have drawn people to Green River in the first place, but the vibrant culture the settlers left in their wake has made Green River a relaxed, cozy small-town destination. The Green River Clock Tower is a cultural nexus. Concerts are held there citywide, with room for expansion in the mall’s nearby parking lot.

Visit the Sweetwater County Museum to learn about the area’s history of harboring outlaw cowboys. Head just north of town to visit Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge and discover more than 300 migratory species fed by the Green River for which the town is named.

Jackson

Jackson Hole ski slopes with panoramic views of antique homes.
Ski slopes in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Image credit: WitGorski via Shutterstock.com

Wyoming’s Jackson Hole Valley has no fewer than three ski resorts, and the city of Jackson itself is nestled among the tourist attractions of the Teton Mountains. Stroll through the gardens and admire the architectural beauty of Jackson Town Square. Each corner features handcrafted bows made from recycled elk antlers provided by the nearby National Elk Refuge. Elk can be seen inside the refuge from approximately December to April.

Don’t leave the refuge area without getting inspired by the National Museum of Wildlife Art, which houses works by John James Audubon, Georgia O’Keefe, and Andy Warhol in its permanent collection. Just a few blocks from Town Square is the Jackson Center for the Arts, known locally as The Center. The center offers year-round programming, including plays, dance classes and special guests.

Sheridan

Cars parked in downtown Sheridan, Wyoming.
(Downtown Sheridan, Wyoming).

The town of Sheridan is nestled in the Bighorn Mountains. Between Coltishka Distillery, Weston Winery, and Black Tooth Craft Brewery, it’s safe to say that the tastes of Sheridan, Wyoming, are unlike anywhere else in the United States. Try to blink at the extraordinary appearance of the historic site of the Flemish Renaissance-style end-of-course case. The well-preserved 13,748-square-foot mansion gives visitors a glimpse into the life of Senator John B. Kendrick in the early 1900s.

Downtown Sheridan features unique shops scattered in and around the city’s 46 National Register of Historic Places entries. The WYO Theater’s illuminated sign cuts through Sheridan’s nightscape with its vibrant red vertical letters. Built in 1923, the attraction is the oldest vaudeville-style theater in Wyoming.

Lander

Cars drive through the streets of downtown Lander, Wyoming.
(Downtown Lander, Wyoming). Image source: Charles Willgren, CC BY 2.0, File:Lander, WY.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

Lander’s motto for potential visitors is: “Where the rails end and the trails begin.” The picturesque city prides itself on its outdoor assets at the foothills of the Wind River Mountains and adjacent to the Shoshone National Forest. The city has also created a vibrant scene completely separate from rock climbing and hiking that has earned it the ranking as one of the best adventure cities in America by National Geographic.

Hop freely between bars and microbreweries: Some establishments in downtown Lander allow customers to take a pint glass from one place to another. Cowfish’s locally raised beef attracts visitors from around the world to discover the difference that meticulous care makes in food preparation. Immerse yourself in the artifacts at the Lander Museum of the American West. The experience beats staying inside to watch a Sam Peckinpah movie any day of the week.

Cody

Sheridan Street in Cody, Wyoming
(Downtown Cody, Wyoming). Image source: Steve Cockruff via Shutterstock.com

Cody’s Buffalo Bill Center of the West has no less than five great museums inside it. Just to the west is Old Trail Town, a collection of log cabins and other historic buildings on the same spot Buffalo Bill Cody chose to establish “Cody Town” in 1895. Arrive early to Cody’s Night Rodeo for a photo op. It was taken with the star Taurus “Norman”. The rodeo features great, family-friendly events like the Calf Scramble.

Stop by Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel, named after the man’s daughter. The famous cherry wood bar was a gift from Queen Victoria. The original portion of the hotel was built in 1902, with additions built in 1929 and 1976. Cody residents cure their hangovers with breakfast at Granny’s Restaurant, open early to late seven days a week.

Wyoming is beautiful because dedicated Wyoming residents work hard to keep it that way. Please remember to Leave No Trace for visits to state and city parks. Also remember that the state was inhabited for thousands of years before European settlers arrived. The Arapaho, Arikara, Bannock, Blackfeet, Cheyenne, Crow, Gros Ventre, Kiowa, Nez Perce, Sioux, Shoshone, and Ute have all called Big Wyoming home. Help Wyoming achieve its ambition of becoming an egalitarian state by supporting Native American-owned businesses whenever possible.

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