Packed with foothills and mountain ranges, Wyoming is a sparsely inhabited state. This state was home to a number of Native American tribes until they were driven out due to expansion into the West. They originally decided to settle here for several reasons, one being the grand landscape. How could anyone say no to a perfectly beautiful backdrop of the Rocky Mountains overlooking the Great Plains?
The government owns about half of Wyoming’s land and the wildlife in those protected areas is abundant. The weather here is pretty much perfect too since it’s drier here than anywhere else in the country—that means less rainfall and low humidity. What more could you ask for? All this beauty, animals and ideal weather means it’s a camper’s paradise and there are some terrific camping places in this gorgeous state.
Grand Teton National Park
If you want to get back to nature, this is definitely the park to do just that. This national park in Wyoming covers most of Jackson Hole valley and there are a variety of animals and plants that go back to primitive times, along with crystal clear rivers, lakes, and gigantic mountains. There are 350 campsites ready for RV campers and those with recreational vehicles. For those who enjoy roughing it, you might flock to Jenny Lake Campgrounds which has 49 sites for your tent camping pleasure. But if you’d rather camp off the beaten path, that’s fine too! With the right permits, you can do it any time of year. The best way to enjoy the awe-inspiring beauty of this park is with your feet; hiking trails are in abundance here and you and your friends can take off for many days on a challenging backpack trip or just hike an easier trail for one day. If you’ve never been hiking before, don’t worry – some of the trails are easy for beginners.
Sinks Canyon State Park
The canyon sits on the eastern side of the mountains and is named after a distinct geological formation called “The Sinks”. At this formation, the Popo Agie River disappears underground and approximately half a mile through the canyon it emerges into the Rise that’s loaded with trout. Sadly, you’re not allowed to fish there; but you can fish in the Middle Fork or elsewhere and you just might get Cutthroats, Browns, Brook, or Rainbow trout for supper. Sinks Canyon is quite diverse in its wildlife as well as landscape with juniper-covered and sagebrush foothills, aspen meadows, conifer forests, and alpine environments. Where the rugged terrain and wildflowers come together you’ll discover an amazing show of nature at its best. When you camp in this park, don’t expect your RV to be welcome or anything remotely close to a comfort station. Campers must make it on their own with just pit toilets, fire pits, and tables. However, the two campgrounds in the park do provide access to the river and lots of hiking trails. Not to mention Sinks Canyon also offers one of the top climbing spots in the U.S. with everything from simple to extreme cliffs.
Buffalo Bill State Park
This impressive park was named after one of the most popular historic people in Wyoming—William “Buffalo Bill” Cody. He not only developed the town of Cody, WY and owned some land in what’s now the state park, but he also took people on tours through the surrounding area and created cowboy-themed shows. The history of the Wild West that’s connected to this park is one of the reasons many camp here; the other is the magnificent landscapes and clear air of the Absaroka Mountains. There are three campgrounds that are accessible to bathrooms and water hydrants and contain grills and tables; however, neither campground has any showers or hookups. Some camping sites are for tents only but the rest will house RVs, tents, or trailers. If a large group of you and your friends want to camp in the park, you’re in luck, as there’s a group campground here; but it takes reservations only. To appreciate the serenity of this goegous Wyoming park even more there are hiking trails, boating, and fishing to enjoy.
Medicine Lodge State Archaeological Site
This site can be found in northern Wyoming and is a history fanatic’s dream come true! On a huge sandstone cliff, there’s a plethora of Native-American pictographs (painted rock art) and petroglyphs (carved rock art) that are more than 10,000 years old; you can get even more historical information at the visitor’s center and library. At Medicine Lodge, there are more than 100 types of birds, many small mammals, and you’ll see an abundance of animals such as moose, deer, elk, and even mountain lions. In the foothills of the spectacular Big Horn Mountains, this site has 27 campsites which allow tent and RV camping and feature fire rings and picnic tables; you’ll also have access to water hydrants and vault toilets. Medicine Lodge is a terrific place for brown trout fishing and a marvelous site for horseback riding with self-guided trails and fun activities.
Yellowstone National Park
This was the world’s first national park and is bigger than Delaware and Rhode Island put together. It’s also the most famous park—which might be why there are more than 2,000 campsites here! You have the choice to camp at one of the twelve campgrounds that contain amenities such as showers and bathrooms or, if you like adventure, you can tough it out and go backcountry camping. If you and your friends or family aren’t one for crowds, you should reconsider camping here in July—that’s the park’s busiest month. To pass the time, you can hike on the numerous trails that pass through the park; but if hiking just isn’t your thing, you and your family can see the entire park by way of your car and travel along Grand Loop Road. There’s plenty to explore in this beautiful park with volcanos, animals, geysers, waterfalls, and forests; and it wouldn’t be right to camp at Yellowstone without visiting Old Faithful!
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
For a glimpse at how Wyoming originally was, the more than 120,000 acre Bighorn Canyon is the place to be with its running wild horses and prime fishing that’s allowed in specific locations. As you and your family explore this spectacular park in Wyoming, you’ll notice there are mountains, deep canyons, high desert, wetlands, forests, upland prairie, broad valleys, and Bighorn Lake. You’re likely to view Big Horn Sheep and other wildlife, see a few historic ranches that are maintained by the park, and you can even go horseback riding or hiking. If money is tight, you’ll love the fact that most of the 100 campsites within the park are free.
Hawk Springs State Park
Even though this is one of the smaller parks in Wyoming—only 24 campsites—it’s still worth visiting. The sites can accommodate RVs and there are bathrooms and showers for tent campers. There are even playgrounds for your children and a boat ramp on the beach that you’ll enjoy throughout the summer. Fishing is great here with a chance to catch channel catfish, largemouth bass, and walleye—and you can go ice fishing during the winter months. If you’re a bird watcher, this will be your paradise! You’ll discover blue-and green-winged teals, pintails, great horned owls, blue heron, gadwalls, and wood ducks. While Hawk Springs doesn’t have any outstanding features like a geyser, this is a marvelous place to just be one with nature.
Glendo State Park
Many people who enjoy fishing, boating and water-skiing come to this Wyoming state park. But Glendo is also one of the top historical spots in Wyoming. If you travel east of the reservoir for several miles you’ll discover the Spanish Diggings, a huge area of native activity. Native-American tribes settled here in the 18th and 19th century and now the park is packed with artifacts and tipi rings—but don’t try to take any of it for a souvenir, it’s against the law! You’ll find nine camping areas here with about 400 sites—so you won’t have to worry about finding your perfect location. However, two of the camp areas are vulnerable to winds and are on unlevel ground. But there’s plenty of shaded trees in most of the camps and a lake nearby that has a gravel and rock shoreline. There’s a 2-mile beach that you can camp on too, but RVs and other vehicles aren’t allowed anymore. While you’re at the beach check out the sand dune on the east side—they stretch from the Green River and the Great Divide Basin to the sand hills in Nebraska!
Boysen State Park
The Wind River Indian Reservation is home to this grand, lake-oriented state park. Boysen is one of the bigger parks in the State Park System with almost 300 campsites spread over five campgrounds. You’ll notice herds of Big Horn Sheep scattered across the landscape and enjoy a beach, shady trees, a marina, geological formations, boating, and several water sports. Fishing is bountiful here—including ice fishing—and you could be lucky enough to catch some of the sauger, crappie, rainbow trout, brown trout, walleye, perch, ling, and cutthroat trout that are swimming around. In fact, there have been a few fishing records set at the Wind River Reservoir!
As you can see, there are many wonderful places to camp in Wyoming that are rich in history and breathtaking scenery. If you want to get away from the hubbub of the city, there’s no doubt that Wyoming will get you back to nature.
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