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Wyoming: Nature at its Purest

Cowboys, cattle herds, and mountain ranges – those are the typical catchwords that come to people’s minds when confronted with America’s least populated state, Wyoming. Merely some 500,000 people live within the square-shaped state in the northeast of the United States. Certainly, nature constitutes the prevailing factor within the state of Wyoming. However, the activities that spring from the fascinating natural setting are manifold.

Few people may live within Wyoming’s boundaries. Area-wise the state ranks among the Top Ten. Naturally, there is a lot of space waiting to be explored by visitors of all interest. Generally, Wyoming is located on the border of the Great Plains region and the Rocky Mountains, the dominating elevation range of the North American continent. The highest peak of the state, Gannett Peak, stretches out to an impressive 13,804 feet above sea level. It is located in the Wind River Mountain Range. There are also significantly lower portions within the state, like the Belle Fourche River Valley in the northeast where elevations are slightly over 3,000 feet.

The climate of Wyoming is continental with stark contrasts between summer and winter temperatures. The differences between winter lows and summer highs are comparatively higher than in surrounding continental states. July, for example brings generally warm day temperatures that range in the 80s and 90s, whereas the thermometer usually drops sharply after nightfall. The winters can bring periods of extreme cold and frost. Of course, higher elevations generally have harsher winters. Precipitation is not very high throughout the year.

As practically all US states, Wyoming was inhabited for thousands of years by various Native American tribes. The peoples include the Crow, Arapaho, Lakota, and Shoshone. Not until the first decade of the 19th century was the area first described in European sources. Later, settler paths like the Oregon Trail passed through the region. The railroad reached the town of Cheyenne, today the state’s largest city, in 1867; soon afterwards Wyoming became an official territory, and in 1890 the 44th state to be admitted to the Union. That the state’s population was progressive rather than conservative is proven by the fact that women could vote from the first day of the state’s existence.

Yellowstone National Park

Two national parks are located partly in Wyoming. One of them is arguably one of the best-known in the US and the entire world. The word Yellowstone rings a bell everywhere. America’s second largest national park provides a stunning landscape of high mountain peaks, an extensive area of deep forests, and countless animal species of birds, game, fish, and mammals alike. The most well-known and equally notorious inhabitants might be the black and grizzly bear.

Created as early as 1872, Yellowstone is located in the very northwestern corner of Wyoming. Aside from the magnificent flora and fauna, Yellowstone National Park also holds in store a wide array of geothermal features, from geysers to hot springs, mud pots, and fumaroles. Yellowstone can be explored in a variety of ways, including on horseback, by foot, and as part of guided tours. Hundreds of camping sites and huts are located within the national park and make even accommodation a true natural adventure.

Other Protected Areas

This protected area in the northeastern part of the state with its lush, rolling hills and prairie-like grassland provides a stark contrast to Yellowstone’s peaks and forests. The area is a paradise for all those who are looking for a vacation rid of any civilization influences. The area can be rightfully referred to as unspoiled wilderness, with not even camping sites spoiling the scenery. Any outdoor activity like hunting, fishing, wildlife watching, and hiking, is undertaken here.

Shoshone National Forest is another of the beautiful natural areas within Wyoming. Located in the Rocky Mountains, halfway between the town of Cody and Yellowstone Park, it is one of the largest national forests within the Rockies. In Shoshone National Forest, wildlife is absolutely extraordinary both in terms of rare species and quantity. Big game such as elk, moose, deer, bear, and goat can be found alongside eagles, coyotes, and songbirds.

Adventure Vacation

Wyoming provides an ideal setting for a variety of breathtaking and challenging types of vacation. One of the more obvious activities in the state of cowboys and cattle herds is to get a first-hand experience of the herds and saddle your horse… Many museums and sites throughout the state provide the necessary historical background and theoretical knowledge. For this purpose, visit the King Saddlery and Museum in Sheridan or marvel at the artwork of Charles M. Russell, Frederic Remington, Edward Borein or Hans Kleiber at the Bradford Britton Memorial. West of Sheridan, Eaton’s Guest Ranch invites to its cozy accommodation in log cabins, and also organizes horseback tours. Sheridan, Bighorn, and other places throughout Wyoming allow visitors a glimpse into the life of cowboys and herders.

Wyoming in Winter

Due to its high elevation and of course the omnipresent Rocky Mountains, Wyoming is a perfect destination for winter sports as well. Whether in the Rockies, the Bighorn Mountains in the north, or the Medicine Bow Range, visitors will experience an unforgettable blend of powdered winter wonderlands, perfect slopes, surrounded by snow-shiny peaks. Downhill and cross-country skiing, snowmobile cruises, or simply winter hiking through the snow-laden forests – Wyoming has it all, and in addition some of the finest winter quarters from top-class resorts to cozy cabins.

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