Even if you’re not the type to make a pilgrimage to the Tetons to ski piles of powder, Wyoming has a laundry list of cold-weather adventures to choose from. From sinking ice picks into frozen waterfalls to soaking in hot springs under starry skies, winter in the Cowboy State comes in all shapes and sizes. Here are just 10 examples.
1. Soaking in hot springs in Saratoga
A soak in the Hobo Hot Springs in
The best part? The ultra-relaxing pools are open 24/7, so you can enjoy a soak under the starry Wyoming skies even if your mountain escapades run long.
2. Snowshoeing or cross-country skiing in Vedauwoo
For some of the best winter memories you can make on two feet, grab your snowshoes or cross-country skis and drive east of Laramie to the rock formations 35 miles west of Cheyenne. Keep in mind that roads in the Vedauwoo district of the
For a snowy trek on the easier side, stick to the main roads; for a more technical adventure, find your way to the Turtle Rock trailhead in the main Vedauwoo area. If neither of those work, access to more trail systems can be found behind the Lincoln Monument on Happy Jack Road. And don’t worry about lugging your gear — great prices on rentals can be found in Laramie.
3. Taking a NOLS course in winter camping or backcountry skiing
It’s one thing to have a hobby — it’s another to actually be certified in that hobby. Plenty of us want to be pros when it comes to hiking, camping, or skiing, but few of us actually level up.
In Lander, though, all excuses are out the window at the
4. Ice climbing in Cody
Tucked away in the mountains near the town of Cody are some of the best and most densely spaced ice climbing routes in the entire US. Seriously — there are hundreds here. The South Fork Valley tends to be where the action happens, with remote unsent pillars of ice and popular classics just minutes from where you park your car. But don’t tackle this one on your own — find a certified guide service to take you out. Study up on the technique, and then get stoked for some of the best ice in the world.
Bonus: Check out the Cody Ice Festival in February to learn more about the craft, meet new partners, and test your skills (regardless of your skill level, everyone gets something out of the Ice Festival).
5. Bathing in Thermopolis Hot Springs
When you’re a quick drive to what’s reportedly the
And, of course, the free bathhouse, where the water temperature is kept around 104°F. That is, if you don’t want to plunge into the 8,000-gallon-a-day mineral hot springs.
6. Snowmobiling at Togwotee Pass
Petrol power rules on the hundreds of miles of
Book a cozy place to stay at one of the nearby lodges, where you can also get hooked up with a sled and guide. They know the terrain like the back of their hand and offer outings for all skill levels. If you’re looking for a self-supported adventure, you can count on well-marked trails and help from outfitters in the area.
7. Going on a ranger-led snowshoe walk in Grand Teton National Park
For another slower-paced adventure, set your sights on the Taggart Lake trailhead, just 25 minutes north of Jackson Hole in
Guided ranger snowshoe walks begin December 26, and reservations are required. Snowshoes are available at the Grand Teton Association for a recommended donation of $5.
8. Downhill skiing…sans lift ticket
The reputation for
The steep mountains and deep powder await your arrival, but before you head into the backcountry, make sure you have the proper avalanche safety tools and — more importantly — the avalanche education to keep yourself safe. If you’re lacking these, or just want to be shown into some secret spots, get in touch with an expert guide service in Jackson or further south in Pinedale.
9. Exploring Sinks Canyon State Park in Lander
Not all of Wyoming’s winter activities involve below-freezing temperatures and snow. If you’re ready for a day in the sun (and potentially stripping down to a t-shirt), you should swing into the south-facing
Take your trip to Sinks Canyon full-circle by renting a yurt and calling the canyon home for a night or two. You’ll probably want to stay, anyway.
10. Spotting big game at the National Elk Refuge
Elk, bighorn sheep, and moose congregate by the hundreds just minutes north of Jackson Hole at the
While you’re in the area, don’t miss the world-class exhibits and special presentations at the