Photo: sherwood/Shutterstock

In Cheyenne, Wyoming, $125 Gets You a Taste of the Cowboy Lifestyle

News Insider Guides Culture
by Suzie Dundas May 30, 2024

Some people dream of spending summer and fall vacations in tropical locations, lounging under palm trees or snorkeling in tropical oceans. But if you’d rather learn to Texas Two-Step, kick your cowboy boots up at a bonfire, or mosey up to a local waterin’ hole, there may be a better destination in mind for you: Cheyenne, Wyoming. And if you’ve got $125, you can live like a cowboy in the famous Wild West town.

Visit Cheyenne describes the new “Saddle Up” pass as a “crash course on cowboying,” and what you need to go from “yellow-belly to yee-haw” in the town famous for hosting the world’s largest outdoor rodeo every July. The pass bundles some of the famous sights, attractions, and restaurants focused on cowboy culture, Wild West history, and the current-day free spirit of the town. The pass is good for seven consecutive days, so travelers doing a weeklong trip will be covered the entire time.

cheyenne cowboy boot

Cheyenne, Wyoming, leans into its cowboy history. Photo: Kit Leong/Shutterstock

Saddle Up pass holders get access to some of the best cowboy experiences in Wyoming, including a horseback ride and lasso lesson at the Terry Bison Ranch (dating to the late 1800s) and a Wild West Trolley Tour through downtown Cheyenne. Also included are cheesy-but-always-fun old-timey photos, and discounts on everything from cowboy boots to boot buckles to custom cowboy hats, which can run several hundred dollars. There are also three museums included:

Food and drink deals are also part of the pass, including buy one, get one drinks at the Outlaw Saloon (with dance classes every Thursday night) and discounts at the Bunkhouse Bar and Saloon.

Cheyenne cowboy pass - frontier days fest

Photo: Jamilya Khalilulina/Shutterstock

While dressing like a cowboy and learning to swing a lasso won’t quite put you in the same category as Wild West legends like Wild Bill Hickok or Doc Holliday, both of whom were known to live in Cheyenne, it is good practice for a greater cowboy adventure in the western US. Cheyenne Frontier Days, the largest outdoor rodeo in the world, is held every July in Cheyenne. This year, it’s July 19-28.

The hugely popular mega-festival includes 10 days of rodeo events, huge concerts, multiple parades, a sprawling carnival with live Wild West demonstrations and shows, an impressive Native American craft market, and even a pop-up town called “Frontier Town” with everything from visual artists to character reenactments. In 2024, concert artists ranging from T. Pain and Ludacris to Jason Aldean to Lainey Wilson, Thomas Rhett, and Machine Gun Kelly will be taking the stage on festival evenings.

Tickets for various events and shows start around $20 and are available online, as are package deals for visitors who want to attend multiple days of the festival. And if you used your Saddle Up pass to buy cowboy boots, you’ll be in good company: the festival attracts more than half a million people each year, and dressing like a true Cheyenne cowboy is very much encouraged.

cheyenne cowboy - horse closeup

Photo: Maureen Kirk/Shutterstock

But you don’t need to visit Cheyenne to experience a taste of the Wild West. Throughout the US, there are multiple places to see wild horses roam America’s plains. (While most are in the western US, there’s a huge herd living on islands in Maryland and Virginia.) And if your favorite part of western culture is the connection between people and horses, you may want to take an equine therapy vacation. You’ll find retreats across the country, ranging from those focused on overcoming emotional issues to clinics more focused on meditation and goal setting.

If you like your cowboy culture paired with massages and farm-to-table cuisine, you’re in luck, as high-end ranches are on the rise. Sprawling (and luxurious) Alisal Ranch in central California mixes Santa Barbara’s wine country charms with long-distance trail rides and horsemanship skills. And in Hawai’i, you can visit multiple ranches on the Big island, learning about the state’s little-known cowboy and ranching history. Arizona’s DD Gamble Guest Lodge and Ranch has 2,000 acres of cowboy-ready wilderness at a slightly more affordable price point, as does the state’s Rancho de los Caballeros, where cowboy- and outdoor-themed lodging packages start around $215 per night.

Discover Matador

Save Bookmark

We use cookies for analytics tracking and advertising from our partners.

For more information read our privacy policy.