Explore Wyoming

November 2007 Feature Viewed 712 time(s)

One of the most famous and recognizable state symbols in all of America is Wyoming's cowboy riding a bucking bronc. You can't see that symbol without thinking of Wyoming.

In fact, one of our favorite ads from last season was from the state of Wyoming, which featured a snowmobiler riding in untouched powder and the shadow cast on the snow being a cowboy on a horse. Underneath the picture, it said, "There was a time when getting away from it all was called exploring."

That very aptly sums up what snowmobiling in Wyoming is all about-exploring wide open expanses that are draped deep with light, dry powder for much of the winter.

And whether you're a cowboy or not, it doesn't matter. You won't be able to resist the urge to ride somewhere in Wyoming sometime or another in your lifetime.

Yes, the snowmobiling in Wyoming is that good. 

Wyoming is the complete package when it comes to sledding. More than 2,000 miles of groomed trails, some of the best hillclimbing anywhere to be found, plenty of snow, excellent boondocking in all kinds of terrain from the very easy to as tough as you can handle-it's all there.

The deep snows and steep mountains attract snowmobilers from all over to tackle its terrain and get stuck in its powder. From the Snowy Range to the Big Horns, from the Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail to Alpine, from the Beartooths to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, Wyoming is most definitely on most snowmobilers' to ride list.

Wyoming can also boast of having the largest single trail system in the West, the CDST, with its 600-plus miles of groomed trails.

For as many big name snowmobile riding areas there are in Wyoming, there are dozens more off the beaten path that will appeal to snowmobilers of all riding abilities. These areas are usually less crowded than the more popular spots, but just know that even in the big name places, there is plenty of room to roam, explore, backcountry boondock and hillclimb.

That's what helps Wyoming to be such a big draw to snowmobilers-even though there are all those popular riding areas, you can still find solitude and untracked snow. And, in many places, you can bring your own pony or rent one at your destination.

Wyoming is just behind Colorado (No. 1) when it comes to states with the highest mean elevation in the United States. And elevation is what riding in the West is all about, so you can be sure you won't be disappointed when it comes to snowmobiling in Wyoming.

Wyoming's state parks department is responsible for the grooming in the state's 14 recognized snowmobile areas, but there are a handful of other locales you might want to check out, like the trail south of Jackson Hole, which leads to a hot springs and some stellar backcountry riding. Another excellent backcountry riding area is near Bedford, on the west side of the state, where there is bowl after bowl for those who like to test their horsepower (and personal stamina). Then there is Evanston, located in the extreme southwest corner of the state. Riding here is in the High Uintas and Wasatch-Cache National Forest. For more information contact the Evanston Chamber of Commerce (800) 328-9708. A lesser known spot are the remote Shirley Mountains, north and east of Rawlins. Riding here is on BLM land with about 90 miles of ungroomed trails. Access to the area is available along the Shirley Mountain Loop Road. For more information on this area, contact the Carbon County Visitors Council (800-228-3547).

Or there is some great riding in the Laramie Mountains between Laramie and Douglas (in the Medicine Bow National Forest). Contact the Douglas Chamber of Commerce (877) 937-4996 for more info on that part of Wyoming.

One of the attractions of snowmobiling in Wyoming-besides the light, dry powder and varied terrain-is the length of the season. In some areas you can begin riding around Thanksgiving time and not have to put the sled away until May, or even June.

Of course, no snowmobile trip would be complete without a ride through Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Yes, you can still snowmobile in these two national parks. In Yellowstone all snowmobiles are commercially guided and are required to meet NPS best available technology requirements.

Snowmobiles entering Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks are restricted to the same road system used in the spring, summer and fall by more than 1.5 million automobiles, busses, SUVs, trucks, recreational vehicles and motorcycles. Snowmobiles account for less than 4 percent of annual vehicular traffic in the Park. Since snowmobiles are allowed only on the groomed road surface, snowmobilers have access to less than 1 percent of Yellowstone Park, which is 2.2 million acres or half the size of the state of Connecticut.

Another plus for Wyoming is that it welcomes snowmobilers with a western hospitality not found many places in the West.

For more information, check out www.gosledwyoming.com.



Wyoming Travel Commission www.wyomingtourism.org

Wyoming State Parks & Historic Sites 307-777-6323

Road Conditions 888-996-7623

Wyoming Snowmobile Association www.snowmobilewyoming.org

Groomed Trails 2,300

Number of Registered Snowmobiles 19,060

Highest Point Gannett Peak (13,804 ft)

Greatest Average Annual Snowfall Snake River 270.1 in.

Record Winter Snowfall Bechler River 491.6 in.

Coldest Recorded Temperature Riverside Ranger Station minus-66 degrees F



Elevation CDST averages 7,000 feet, side trails to 10,500

Snowfall 181-283 inches

Groomed Trails 608 miles

Full-Service Town Lander, Pinedale, Dubois

Nearest Airport Riverton, Cody, Jackson, Rock Springs

Information Wind River Visitors Council 800-645-6233; Lander Chamber of Commerce 800-433-0662; Dubois Chamber of Commerce 307-455-2556; Buffalo Bills Yellowstone Country 800-393-2639; Sublette County Visitors Center 888-285-7282



Elevation 6,500-8,000

Snowfall 125-150 inches

Groomed Trails 177 miles

Full-Service Town Alpine, Thayne, Afton

Nearest Airport Jackson, WY (43 miles)

Information Star Valley Chamber of Commerce 800-426-8833


Snowy Range

Elevation 7,000-11,000

Snowfall 300 inches

Groomed Trails 166

Full-Service Town Laramie, Saratoga

Nearest Airport Laramie (30 miles)

Information Albany County Tourism Board 800-445-5303; Saratoga Chamber of Commerce 866-828-8855; Carbon County Visitors Bureau 800-228-3547


Big Horns

Elevation 8,000-9,600

Snowfall 115-250 inches

Groomed Trails 342

Full-Service Town Sheridan, Buffalo

Nearest Airport Sheridan, WY

Information Sheridan 888-596-6787, Buffalo 800-227-5122


Wyoming Range (South End)

Elevation 6,000-10,000

Snowfall 125-150 inches

Groomed Trails 106 miles

Full-Service Town Kemmerer, La Barge, Big Piney, Cokeville

Nearest Airport Rock Springs, WY (88 miles)

Information Kemmerer Chamber of Commerce 888-300-3413


Yellowstone National Park

Elevation 6,600-9,000

Snowfall 145 inches

Groomed Trails 200 miles

Full-Service Town Jackson, Cody, West Yellowstone (some services available in Park)

Nearest Airport Jackson (55 miles)

Information Yellowstone National Park 307-344-7381


Beartooth Mountains

Elevation 7,500-11,000

Snowfall 260 inches

Groomed Trails 32 miles

Full-Service Town Cody

Nearest Airport Cody

Information Buffalo Bills Yellowstone Country 800-393-2639



Elevation 6,500-9,000

Snowfall 250 inches

Groomed Trails 17 miles

Full-Service Town Jackson

Nearest Airport Jackson

Information Jackson Chamber of Commerce 307-733-3316


Casper Mountain

Elevation 7,000-7,800

Snowfall 150 inches

Groomed Trails 46 miles

Full-Service Town Casper

Nearest Airport Casper

Information Casper Convention and Visitors Bureau 800-852-1889


Sierra Madre Mountains

Elevation 7,000-10,000

Snowfall 200-300 inches

Groomed Trails 50 miles

Full-Service Town Encampment

Nearest Airport Laramie (109 miles)

Information Platte Valley Chamber of Commerce 866-828-8855


Bear Lodge Mountains

Elevation 5,000-7,000

Snowfall 50-100 inches

Groomed Trails 78 miles

Full-Service Town Sundance

Nearest Airport Gillette (62 miles)

Information Sundance Area Chamber of Commerce 800-477-9340

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