First Time Visitor’s Guide to Cheyenne, Wyoming, with Great Day Trips

A journey to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and the surrounding area is an unparalleled view of the Old West. Along with the cowboy culture, visitors will experience beautiful scenery, great outdoor activities, and Western hospitality. Cheyenne is a great family destination, full of history and adventure.

What to See in Cheyenne

Two important influences reign supreme in Cheyenne: its founding by the pioneers and the arrival of the railroad. Many of the sights in Cheyenne reflect its Western heritage. Among some of the outstanding places worth visiting in the city are the Cheyenne Depot and Museum, a former train depot for the Union Pacific Railroad, restored to its original Art Deco glory; the Wyoming State Capitol and Museum, which dates to 1887 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places; and the Nelson Museum of the West, with more than 11,000 square feet of cowboy and Indian artifacts, including those of outlaws and military men. For those who want to see the women’s side of history, visit the Cowgirls of the West Museum. Visit www.cheyenne.org for these and other local sites.

Cheyenne WY

Tours and Treasures

One of the great ways for a tenderfoot to get acclimated to Cheyenne is to take the historic Street Railway Trolley tour. If touring on your own is more to your taste, Cheyenne offers a unique program of audio tours for its seven main museums and another for its Big Boots. (Throughout the city, visitors to Cheyenne will find giant decorated cowboy books created by local artists.) Best of all, the audio tours are free and allow tourists to move at their own pace using their own cell phones.

Cheyenne Frontier Days

Each year, thousands flock to Cheyenne’s–and the world’s–largest outdoor rodeo, known as Cheyenne Frontier Days. With 10 days of rodeo and Western entertainment, this premier event should not be missed. Since 1897, Frontier Days has provided not just a great rodeo, but a lot of other activities as well, including a Western Art Show amp; Sale, parades, free pancake breakfasts, and Indian dancing, along with great musical entertainment nightly. Its dates for 2011 are July 22-31, but visitors can always get more details at www.CFDRodeo.com.

Cowboy Fun Just Outside Town

While in Cheyenne, visitors can get out of town and experience some of the wide-open places that illustrate the Wyoming cowboy culture. Visitors who want to enjoy ranch life can visit the Terry Bison Ranch, where they can participate in horseback riding, fishing, outdoor meals, and even a train tour to see some of the 3,000 or more bison that inhabit the ranch. Another great ranch to explore is the Bit-O-Wyo, where cowpokes can do a little horseback riding or take in the Horse Barn Dinner Show, complete with music by the Blue Water Cowboy Band (during summer only).

Easy Day Trips from Cheyenne

To the east of Cheyenne, and an easy day trip out of town, lie the communities of Albin, Burns, Carpenter, and Pine Bluffs. In particular, Pine Bluffs is worth heading to. With the University of Wyoming’s Archaeological Dig Site (unearthing artifacts dating back 11,000 years), visitors can sign up for tours, which are available daily in summer. Also for rodeo-lovers who can’t make it to Frontier Days, Pine Bluffs offers a nightly rodeo from late May through July.

To the west of Cheyenne lies some of the best recreational area in the state. Visit Vedauwoo Recreational Area in the Medicine Bow National Forest for camping and rock climbing or Curt Gowdy State Park for fishing, boating, and hiking. Also west of Cheyenne lies the Snowy Range Ski Area for winter travelers.

Ninety minutes north of Cheyenne lies the Oregon Trail Ruts and Register, where history buffs can see the actual ruts carved in sandstone from pioneer wagons traveling to the West along the Oregon Trail. For more details on any of these day trips, explore the tourism site,

The great outdoors is an important reason to visit Cheyenne (the American Lung Association rated the city as the No. 1 Cleanest US City), and its surrounding area, but there are plenty of museums, ranches, and entertainment venues as well. No one can visit Cheyenne without understanding just what made the pioneers head west to seek their fortunes. From its stunning landscape to the independent cowboy spirit, Cheyenne is an engaging, unforgettable vacation destination.

Resources:
Cheyenne: Live the Legend (Convention and Visitors Bureau, 2010)