Wyoming has whole lot of open space and a whole lot of beautiful scenery that makes it the perfect place for a road trip – or several for that matter – exploring the natural wonders of Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons and Devils Tower, while also experiencing the spirit of the old west with sites such as Independence Rock and the Territorial Prison outside of Laramie. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to swim, fish, ride, camp, climb, and just plain flat enjoy the sunset along the way.
Editor’s note: These spots are all taken directly from travelstoke®, a new app from Matador that connects you with fellow travelers and locals, and helps you build trip itineraries with spots that integrate seamlessly into Google Maps and Uber. Download the app to add any of the spots below directly to your future trips.
Stop 1: Vedauwoo, Wyoming
Photo: Judy Chandlee
The ultimate Wyoming road trip begins by crossing into the southeast corner of the state from Colorado or Nebraska. Vedauwoo Recreation Area is a great place to take a hike, climb some cracks, pedal your bike or set up camp and enjoy the scenic rock formations and clear starry skies. Camping can be found just a few miles off the interstate, but it is best to stock up with supplies in Cheyenne or Laramie.
Day 2: Laramie to Saratoga, Wyoming
Enjoy a morning sunrise at Vedauwoo and then drive 20 minutes to historic downtown Laramie for breakfast at J’s Prairie Rose Cafe. On the West side of town stop into the Wyoming Territorial Prison to catch the trail of Butch Cassidy and other 19th century outlaws who terrorized the plains. Depart Laramie and head over the Continental Divide (Highway 130 is closed in winter) to the tiny outpost of Saratoga. Treat yourself to a leg stretch among the 12,000 foot peaks in the Snowy Range, take a dip in a freezing alpine lake or just admire the wild flowers along the way.
Photo: Mike Stauder
Once you descend into Saratoga you can warm up at the free Hobo Hot Pools and then walk a few blocks to dinner and live music downtown. Inexpensive camping can be found in town or a short drive away in the National Forest
Day 3: Saratoga to Pathfinder Reservoir
Central Wyoming offers a good opportunity to go fishing, sit on a lakeside beach and learn wagon trail history at Muddy Gap and Independence Rock. The two-and-a-half hour drive from Saratoga is a slice of quintessential high plains scenery that a historic outpost for the wagon trains heading west. The nearby Alcova and Pathfinder Reservoirs have abundant accommodations and the marinas rent both petrol and human powered watercraft.
Day 4: Central Wyoming to Lander
Photo: Alex Strohl
Lander is paradise on earth for the outdoor recreation enthusiast. Within an hour of town, you can paddle world class rivers, climb overhanging limestone cliffs and even take a trip into the rugged Wind River Mountains. The town offers free camping in the city park and more than a couple great bars on Main Street.
Day 5-6: Lander to Moran, Wyoming
Moran is the perfect place to send mail before you explore Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park. While there is nothing more than a Post Office in Moran proper, there is camping and dude ranch accommodation in the Buffalo Valley. You are only about a 15-minute drive from the nearest National Park and 45 minutes north of Jackson.
From here you should take at least one day to hike in Grand Teton National Park and two days to explore the wildlife and geothermal wonders in Yellowstone.
Day 6-7: Moran to Yellowstone
It is best to break up the drive through Yellowstone for at least one night, but you could easily spend a week here if you are an outdoors person or wildlife enthusiast. Hotel and lodge accommodation is hard to come by in high season, but there are car camping spots and if you are willing to hike for a couple miles there are an abundance of backcountry camping opportunities.
Lewis Lake CampgroundYellowstone National Park, United StatesGreat campground in #yellowstone $12 a night – an hour to #oldfaithful and two hours to #bison and popular areas – oftentimes open for walk ins during high season #lake access
Please be bear aware and commit to Leave No Trace Principles while visiting the park. If you go off-trail, pay attention to the ground under-foot. There are hidden thermal seeps and pools.
Day 8: Yellowstone to Cody
Madison Junction CampgroundYellowstone National Park, United StatesCamping at Madison campground is the perfect location to discover bison right at your doorstep.
Take a 1 minute walk to Madison River, perfect for photography opportunities for landscape and wildlife.
The campground has flushable toilets and potable water.
It’s a great location and perfect for families.
#camping #hiking #photography #wildlife #yellowstone #familyfriendly #adventure #vacation #nationalpark
Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife as you exit Yellowstone through the East Gate. Cody – named after the frontier entertainer ‘Buffalo Bill Cody’ – is the next outpost of civilization you will encounter.
Day 9: Cody to Thermopolis or Tensleep
Photo: Frank Waters
Travel into the heart of central Wyoming toward the world’s largest mineral hot springs in Thermopolis. If you are a quick soaker you can head another hour northeast to settle in Tensleep for the night. This tiny town of a couple hundred residents is the perfect place to rest up for another day exploring the Big Horn mountains. The brewery on the West side of town offers cheap camping, hot shower and cold brews.
Day 10: Tensleep to Devil’s Tower
Spend the morning dangling a worm in Meadowlark Lake or ramble into the Big Horn National Forest to find some solitude in the high mountains. This is a great place to take a detour on foot into the Cloud Peak Wilderness and even attempt to stand atop a 13,000-foot peak.
Day 11: Devils Tower
Visiting Devil’s Tower (known to the original Native Americans as Bear Lodge) can be done as a roadside stop, but witnessing the sunset or sunrise over the country’s first National Monument makes it worth spending the night. If you feel compelled to stand atop the tower get in touch with local rock climbing legend Frank Sanders at The Devils Tower Lodge.
Finishing your Wyoming road trip in the northeast corner of the state locates you near Custer State Park, the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore (over the border in South Dakota).