Take the road less traveled and discover this Wyoming treasure.
Take a break from an ordinary vacation and discover one that’s memorable. Home to multiple mountain ranges with striking vistas, pristine waters, therapeutic hot springs and towns with unspoiled charm, Carbon County in south-central Wyoming reflects the spirit of the Old American West. Visitors in search of an authentic cowboy experience get a chance to test their skills at dude ranches, study the pros at a rodeo or get lost in the natural beauty of the wildlands. Endless exploration awaits in the national forests and state parks, while the numerous museums and historic sites sprinkled throughout the region give travelers a true feel for this remarkable destination.
Extraordinary Outdoor Recreation All Year Long
With its unique history including westward settlers traveling the land via the Overland, Oregon and Mormon trails, a true sense of adventure and exploration thrives in Carbon County. Outdoor enthusiasts delight in the impressive range of year-round outdoor activities offered in this 20,450-square-kilometer area of diverse landscapes.
During the warm summer, get onto a mountain bike, a horse or an off-road recreational vehicle to explore the many trails, including approximately 325 kilometers of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail that traverses the USA, stretching from Mexico to Canada. Trails lead hikers to Medicine Bow Peak, the highest point in southern Wyoming, and to the shores of Lake Marie with scenic views and a waterfall. For those hoping to spend some time on the fairway, there are three public golf courses in the area. If summer fun for you requires water, adventurers flock to Carbon County’s waterways for rafting, canoeing, kayaking and standup paddleboarding. Grab your tackle box and get ready for exceptional fishing or really relax with a lazy float down a river or stream.
Carbon County also keeps outdoor enthusiasts entertained in the colder months with winter activities like cross-country and backcountry skiing, snowshoeing and ice fishing. With over 1,300 kilometers of groomed and ungroomed trails, locals believe the area is home to the best snowmobiling in Wyoming.
With four official scenic byways crisscrossing the terrain, Carbon County delivers jaw-dropping vistas on drives with must-see stops, providing perfect additions to any road trip. A favorite of travelers, the Snowy Range Scenic Byway connects visitors to easily accessible peaks in the Medicine Bow National Forest and other points of interest along this high-altitude roadway.
Reeling in a catch while fishing on the North Platte River
History Here, There and Everywhere
With land rich in resources, the first settlers came in the early 1800s and brought with them industries that allowed the area to flourish. Carbon County is home to dozens of museums and historical sites providing a look back into the lives of those who first called the area home. The Grand Encampment Museum houses a collection of relics showcasing the timber, mining and agricultural history of the land. Train lovers will enjoy time spent at either the Saratoga or the Medicine Bow museums; both offer exhibits and locomotive artifacts housed in original railroad depots. An old schoolhouse was restored as the Little Snake River Museum, where guests now learn about life in the Old West. The petroleum industry played an important role in attracting more settlers to the region; today, visitors can learn about it at the Parco/Sinclair Museum. Tour the Wyoming Frontier Prison museum, which imprisoned outlaws starting in 1901. It’s now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The historic Wyoming Frontier Prison in Rawlins
Rawlins and Saratoga: Two Towns Full of Surprises
After spending your day adventuring in the Wyoming wilderness, kick off your cowboy boots and see the unexpected sights of Rawlins and Saratoga, two of the can’t-miss towns in Carbon County.
Downtown Rawlins is a nationally designated historic district rich in 19th-century architecture. Award-winning revitalization efforts brought murals and sculptures to historic Main Street, which is lined with shops and restaurants. While in Rawlins, spend an afternoon at the Carbon County Museum flip through exhibits and see artifacts highlighting the rich heritage of the county.
Saratoga is in a scenic river valley between two mountain ranges and sits atop one of the most active mineral hot springs in Wyoming. Travelers hoping to relax while sticking to a budget can look forward to soaking in Hobo Hot Springs, home to mineral hot pools open 24 hours and free to everyone. At the Saratoga Hot Springs Resort, guests and members can experience these natural baths in one of several tent-covered hot pools or in the 21-meter-long mineral hot spring pool.
Serene days at the Saratoga Hot Springs Resort
There are five commercial airports in Wyoming within a two-hour drive to Carbon County. Start your adventure at Casper-Natrona County International Airport (CPR) in Casper, Laramie Regional Airport (LAR) in Laramie, Central Wyoming Regional Airport (RIW) in Riverton, Southwest Wyoming Regional Airport (RKS) in Rock Springs or Cheyenne Regional Airport (CYS) in Cheyenne. International Airports in Denver, Colorado, (DEN) and Salt Lake City, Utah, (SLC) are both a four-hour drive away. Rent a car from any of these airports and enjoy the scenic drive to Carbon County. Greyhound provides direct bus services to Rawlins.
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