An hour south of the bustling tourist enclave of Jackson, Wyoming, lies Star Valley, an adventurer’s playground surrounded by saw-toothed mountains where both cows and locals still outnumber visitors. Star Valley is rural Wyoming in all of its unvarnished charm. Cowboy is a legit identity here. Even Afton’s “World’s Largest Elkhorn Arch” feels more like a mountain-town flex than a tourist trap.
The valley was summer home to the Shoshone until the late 1800s when Mormon settlers moved in. The settlers called it “Star of All Valleys” for its beauty, abundant game, water, and open grasslands perfect for ranging cattle and growing feed. Today, it’s best known as a haven for snowmobilers due to consistent, deep snow and its diversity of terrain from easy-cruising meadows to full-pucker hill climbs. What makes for good snowmobiling, makes for a whole range of great summer activities including hiking, ATVing, and mountain biking. In the spring, all that crystal clear runoff cuts deep holes and fast currents that are great for fishing.