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Live Like a Local in Sweetwater County, Wyoming

Local Year-Round Hot Spots in Sweetwater County

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Photo: Live Like a Local in Sweetwater County, Wyoming

Local Year-Round Hot Spots in Sweetwater County Easily Plan Your Trip with These Local Favorites

Finding an exciting, yet budget-friendly, destination with year-round attractions can seem like an impossible task. Beaches and mountain resorts may be pretty, but aren’t kind to your wallet, and finding family vacation entertainment at a low cost is almost unheard of. But there is an affordable option with abundant activities and sights to survey— a place that’s home to stunning mountain vistas and ancient geologic features, high-desert plains and lush preserves dotted with extraordinary wildlife, thrilling on-the-water adventures and off-road excursions, comfort food on every corner and lively pubs to suit any night owl. No matter the time of year, there are endless attractions and entertainment opportunities. Where can you find all this local flare and more to explore? Only in Sweetwater County.

Local - Favorite Natural Vistas

1. Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge

Best For: Outdoorsmen, Families & Wildlife Enthusiasts

Nature-lovers, hunters, fishermen and birders alike will appreciate the 26,000-acre Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge. Spot scads of birds from bald eagles to waterfowl and rosy finches to sage grouse as they rest during migration. Fish for rainbow, cutthroat, brown trout and kokanee salmon in the Green River’s Blue-Ribbon waters. Hunt or trap red fox, beavers, pronghorn antelope, upland and migratory game birds, moose, jackrabbits and many more. Reference this handy brochure to know your location, regulations and important contacts, as well as find historic sites, nearby campgrounds, boat launches and county roads.

2. The Wild Horses of Pilot Butte

Best For: Photographers, Families & Wildlife Enthusiasts

A distinguishing Sweetwater County feature, the Wild Horses of Pilot Butte are direct descendants of their Old West ancestors and a homage to our American pioneer heritage. See these magnificent creatures any time of year from the 24-mile scenic loop surrounding their territory or visit the Rock Springs Wild Horse Holding Facility to get an up-close glimpse. During this panoramic journey, you’ll be able to see some of the majestic sites that adorn Sweetwater’s landscape, such as Boar's Tusk, Killpecker Sand Dunes, Wilkin’s Peak, the Uinta Mountains and the Overland Trail

3. Rock Formations

Best For: Photographers & History Buffs 

Discover the breathtaking geological features created from Sweetwater’s tumultuous volcanic and aquatic past. Over thousands of generations, intermountain lakes, rain and wind eroded the land, depositing sediments and fossil-rich soils that established exquisite rock formations throughout Wyoming, Utah and Colorado. With features so distinct, Native American travelers and Western pioneers used them as location barometers, making the sites integral to county history and legends.

Local - Favorite Thrills

1. Killpecker Sand Dunes

Best For: Thrill-Seekers & History Buffs

Another stunning aftereffect of pre-historic erosion, Killpecker Sand Dunes are the second largest moving dunes on Earth, stretching for 55 miles along the Green River and Great Divide basins. Home to rare wildlife and a backdrop of dazzling mountain ranges, this off-roading paradise has become a favorite of local thrill-seekers. Kick up sand on your ATV in 11,000 acres of the open play section, hunt for desert elk during fall, hike up 100 foot tall dunes and to nearby rock formations, or simply picnic and watch for wild horses.

2. Expedition Island

Best For: Thrill-Seekers, Outdoorsmen & Families

History and modern fun come together at Expedition Island in Green River. Initially, the island was the launching point for Major John Wesley Powell’s expeditions to map American West rivers. Today, you can find residents strolling along the Greenbelt Pathway through the many connected parks, cruising down the river in their kayaks and rafts, attending festivals, as well as angling for trout in Green River’s Blue-Ribbon waters.

3. Lake Flaming Gorge Country

Best For: Families, Outdoorsmen, Thrill-Seekers, Photographers & Wildlife Enthusiasts

For infinite outdoor and water-bound adventures, visit Lake Flaming Gorge Country. With over 350 miles of shoreline to scout, you’ll not only find tranquility but also year-round activities. Take a day to drive the Scenic Byway, and enjoy the historic stops, wildlife encounters and beautiful overlooks along the way. Whether you prefer ice-fishing in winter or dangling in summer, you can fish for burbot, channel catfish, kokanee salmon, smallmouth bass, as well as rainbow, brown and lake trout. Convenient boat launches allow for a variety of watercrafts, from relaxing pontoon boats to high-speed wake boats. Surrounding the lake, you’ll find miles of hiking, off-roading and single-track mountain biking trails, big game hunting to the east near Little Mountain, and over 700 individual campsites– all within a short drive from Green River and Rock Springs. 

Local - Favorite Historical Retreats

1. White Mountain Petroglyphs

Best For: History Buffs, Photographers & Families

Between Rock Springs and Green River lies the White Mountain Petroglyphs, a 300-foot sandstone rock face flecked with timeworn etchings. Approximately 200 to 1,000 years ago, Great Basin and Plains Indians depicted bison and elk hunts, as well as artistic expression like geometric shapes and handprints. Even further back in time, an ancient body of water called Lake Gosuite, so it is a great location to search for Eocene era fossils covered this area. Take a short hike from the parking lot and around the base of the cliffs or come during fall to experience hunting like our ancestors.

2. The Museums of Sweetwater County

Best For: History Buffs & Families

Given that Sweetwater County is steeped in antiquity and stunning scenery, it’s no surprise you can find numerous local art and history museums. Discover dinosaurs and ancestors at the Natural History Museum at Western Wyoming Community College. Explore the Rock Springs Historical Museum to delve into the city’s diverse pioneer and captivating outlaw past. For a thorough examination of the county’s story through exhibits and antique photos, visit Sweetwater County Historical Museum. Stop by the Superior Museum to see relics from the coal mining boom and learn about their ghostly past. If you’re interests are situated more in art than natural or industrial history, stop by the Rock Springs Community Fine Arts Center, which houses over 500 permanent works of art.

3. Abandoned Towns & Pioneer Trails

Best For: Families & History Buffs

Many years before the United States was connected by paved roads, people traveled by horse and wagon across the great American West, leaving a system of interconnected trails and ghost towns like South Pass that are still visible today in Sweetwater County. Travelers were often headed to coal, silver or gold mines to claim their fortune. In other cases, they were delivering mail via the Pony Express, driving cattle herds to market, following manifest destiny or religion, or even running from the law.  No matter what their motivations, their fascinating artifacts and routes, are well-worth exploring as a family or by guided tour.

Local - Favorite Spots to Unwind, Eat & Play

1. Signature Events

Best For: All Travelers

If you’re heading to Sweetwater County, do as the locals do, and attend one of the many festivals and signature events occurring throughout the year. Just to name a few, featured celebrations include the family-friendly Flaming Gorge Days, where attendees can participate in sports tournaments, watch live music and entertainment, see the parade and more; Wyoming’s Big Show, a colossal carnival and fair, and the number one summer event according to Wyoming Lifestyle Magazine; National High School Finals Rodeo, the largest rodeo in the world; and the Burbot Bash, an annual ice fishing competition for all ages on Lake Flaming Gorge. Don’t miss one of our sensational events— check out our events calendar before you plan your trip!

2. Favorite Restaurants & Taverns

Best For: All Travelers

Looking for a delicious meal, but unsure where to go? Check out some of these recommendations from our local residents. Green River favorites include Mi Casita, China Garden Restaurant, The Hitching Post, Arctic Circle and The Fish Bowl. Broadway Burger Station, Remedies Grill, Cowboy Donuts, White Mountain Mining Co. and Dickey’s Barbecue Pit are popular establishments in Rock Springs. Dance the night away, sing karaoke, get in on a game of pool, catch live musical performances or watch rivaling sports teams at Johnny Mac's Good Time Tavern in Rock Springs, or The Hitching Post Bar in Green River. Pamper yourself after a long travel day in Rock Springs at Escape Day Spa & Boutique or Shear Luck Salon & Spa.

3. Recreation Centers & Golf Courses

Best For: All Travelers

Some days, you just want to take it easy. Luckily, Sweetwater County can accommodate everyone in the family— from nightlife and favorite eateries to recreation centers and spas. Enjoy a round of golf in Green River at the Rolling Green Country Club or in Rock Springs at White Mountain Golf Course. Take a swim, catch an exercise class, play racquetball or climb a rock wall at one of Sweetwater’s first-rate recreation centers

 

Sweetwater County Travel Tools