- EAT + SLEEP
- TRAVEL TOOLS
Summer holidays give couples, families and friends time to appreciate their freedom from the everyday and create bonds that the hustle of ordinary life can push to the side. With exposure to so many destinations, it can be difficult to decide where your most memorable summer trip can be found. But once you take a look at this secret oasis, you’ll discover that a road trip through the Great American West can be so much more than a shared memory— it can become a celebrated annual event the whole family will look forward to every year. Peruse our list with your loved ones and discover the exciting things you can experience together in Sweetwater County, Wyoming.
14 miles west of Rock Springs, Wyoming, you'll find the immense Lake Flaming Gorge and Flaming Gorge Country. There's an abundance of unforgettable outdoor recreation available in and around the lake, making this area popular with locals and visitors alike. Grab some water, some hiking boots or your mountain bike— and don't miss these awe-inspiring views. Bear Canyon Bootleg and Red Canyon Rim are great hiking & biking trails for any skill level. The Wilkins Peak Trail System is an expansive network of mostly single-track trails made for horseback riders, mountain bikers and hikers. For some laid back entertainment, try fishing in "America's Most Scenic Trophy Trout Destination." Even camping is a site to behold at Lake Flaming Gorge, because the elevation brings cool evenings and a sky full of stars.
One of the best ways to cool off in summertime is enjoying water recreation. With enough marinas to cover the 66 square miles of open water, you can easily launch your own boat or rent one of many watercrafts from Buckboard Crossing Campground. Rent a kayak, paddleboard or canoes for a tranquil outing, or launch your jet ski and wakeboards to turn it up a notch. Whatever your pleasure, make sure to follow a route during your outing— they offer the best sights of Flaming Gorge. If you'd like to stay on-grid, Expedition Island and the Whitewater Park and Tubing Channel in Green River provide on-the-water adventures closer to town.
Sweetwater County is home to the White Mountain Petroglyphs, a series of sandstone carvings created 300 feet from the ground by the area's earliest residents. The etchings depict life the inhabitants' life and trials 200 to 1000 years ago. From handprints to hunts, these ancestors still manage to captivate our imaginations today. Other geological wonders built by the Green River Formation are the amazing ancient rock formations peppered throughout the high-desert scenery. Grab your camera for these one-of-a-kind sights, you won't want to forget the impression they leave.
Summer in Sweetwater County means sunny weather, outdoor adventures, and events like no other. Wyoming's Big Show attracts crowds from across the nation and the National High School Finals Rodeo draws competitors from around the world. Wyoming's Big Show hosts a concert series, carnival, fair cuisine, and a changing schedule of daily entertainment. The NHSFR is the largest rodeo in the world, drawing 1500 competitors and over 100,000 enthusiasts alike to the Sweetwater Events Complex.
If you're looking to get wild in the west, Killpecker Sand Dunes and Flaming Gorge Country can provide outstanding adventures. Sometimes it can be tough to find a suitable off-road trail and recreation area, but Sweetwater County is prepared. With a whole area of the dunes dedicated to off-road vehicles, including ATVs, you can play till your heart's content. Additionally, Lake Flaming Gorge is surrounded by trails and riding areas specifically designed for off-roading.
With its high-desert terrain and mountainous landscapes, Sweetwater County is home to a number of rare species and unequaled wildlife viewing. The Pilot Butte Wild Horses are a famous herd of 1500 descendants of horses of the Wild West. To best view these majestic creatures, take the 23-mile off-grid scenic loop. Another unmissable living feature is the 27,000+ acre Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge. Not only can you explore 36 miles of the Green River and fish in gold medal waters, you can also hunt, birdwatch, camp and ride ATVs.
Seeing the western frontier is one of the distinguishing characteristics of a trip to Sweetwater County. Navigating such a large area can be tricky, but taking a ride through simplifies your trip, while giving you access to some remarkable sights. For instance, you can easily see Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge, Killpecker Sand Dunes and the White Mountain Petroglyphs by taking this loop. A shorter trek, the Pilot Butte Scenic Horse Loop is great for an afternoon, off-grid journey. An excellent 4x4 excursion, Muddy Creek Historic Byway travels through the ghost town of Piedmont. Suitable for most cars, Bridger Valley Historic Byway gives a fantastic glimpse of still-visible pioneer trails and Pony Express routes. See what locals call "the best of Sweetwater County" on the Flaming Gorge Byway, a route that is appropriate for any vehicle and hits some of the best sights, such as the Green River and Expedition Island.
A crossroads for weary travelers during the 1800s, Sweetwater County is steeped in Old West antiquity. Rock Springs is a perfect place to bring the history to life. Visit the Rock Springs Historical Museum and take a tour of the Reliance Tipple, then see pioneer and outlaw trails with your own eyes. The Sweetwater County Historical Museum in Green River is another great place to discover historic artifacts, photography, and experience the life of 19th Century settlers and Native Americans. To explore abandoned mines and structures, as well as learn about the town's coal mining history, visit the new Superior Museum.
A fascinating aspect of Sweetwater County is its geologic past. Part of the Green River Formation, an ancient lake and basin system, Sweetwater County is rich with fossils. Visit Lake Gosiute to glimpse nearly 60 million years into the past. If you're looking for ancient giants, like Triceratops and Plesiosaur, Rock Springs has dinosaur displays at the WWCC Natural History Museum.
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