Wyoming in Pictures: Beautiful Places to Photograph
The Wild West is very much alive in Wyoming, one of the largest states in the country, with the smallest population. A lack of huge metropolitan areas and mega-cities allows Wyoming's natural attractions to really shine, or in some cases, burst into the air with hydrothermal eruption, like the many geysers and fumaroles at Yellowstone National Park. A snapshot of Wyoming also includes the eye-catching attractions of Grand Teton National Park, Flaming Gorge, wild horses, and inspiring towers jutting from the prairie environment.
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1. Grand Prismatic Spring
A colorful swirl of natural beauty in Yellowstone's Midway Geyser Basin, Grand Prismatic Spring appears to belong in a different world. Larger than a football field, this enormous hot spring begins deep in the ground and sprouts to the surface, producing a vibrant environment for heat-loving bacteria to bloom in distinct hues of orange, yellow, and green.
2. Grand Tetons
Jutting for miles in the horizon, the rugged peaks of the Teton Range are a vertical symbol of adventure in the state. Encompassed by Grand Teton National Park, and nearly connected to Yellowstone National Park to the north, the Teton Range draws millions of visitors to enjoy the mountain splendor every year.
3. Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area
In the southwest corner of Wyoming and extending into Utah, the Flaming Gorge is a massive man-made reservoir with over 360 miles of shoreline. Activity abounds in and around the lake, including fishing, hiking, and camping with over 40 campgrounds available. A popular spot for daytime adventures, the remote location of the gorge also makes it a night-sky viewing destination.
4. Devils Tower
A 5,000-plus-foot laccolithic butte and stunning natural feature jutting high from the prairie environment in eastern Wyoming, Devils Tower is a prominent feature of the American West and a sacred object for indigenous people. Skilled rock climbers can scale this vertical landform, but one of best ways to enjoy the grandeur of Devils Tower is to simply park the car and savor the view.
5. Moulton Barn
A historic barn within Grand Teton National Park, the Moulton Barn displays the perfect scene of wide-open Wyoming splendor with big mountain backdrops. Built by settlers and original homesteaders in the area, the barn is located within the park on what is now called Mormon Row and is one of the most frequently photographed images in the park.
6. Old Faithful
A centerpiece attraction of Yellowstone National Park, the Old Faithful geyser earns its name with scheduled eruptions every hour or so, a spectacular sight to see, hear, and photograph. The Upper Geyser Basin surrounding Old Faithful contains the densest concentration of geysers in the world, including the notable Castle and Grand Geyser.
7. Vedauwoo Recreation Area
Within the Medicine Bow National Forest southeast of Laramie, the Vedauwoo are a collection of inspiring granite rock formations tumbled across the varied landscape of Pole Mountain. Alongside a unique environment of massive rock outcroppings to explore, and one of the best campgrounds in the state, the Vedauwoo also produce a vibrant display of wildflowers come spring.
8. Shoshone National Forest
One of the first "national reserves" set aside in 1891, the 2.4 million acres of Shoshone National Forest are still today part of the 15-million-acre Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Providing a crucial habitat for wildlife and natural forest cycles, Shoshone National Forest is also a massive outdoor playground in the state enticing hikers, backpackers, and photographers alike.
9. Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
Adding to the list of life-defining sights to see at Yellowstone National Park, the Yellowstone River has carved out the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone for thousands of years. Numerous vantage points allow visitors to see the depth of the Upper and Lower Falls within the canyon, including a few steep hiking trails and aptly named viewing areas, including Artist Point.
10. West Thumb Geyser Basin
On the west side of Yellowstone Lake and a prominent roadside attraction within the national park, the West Thumb Geyser Basin has been intriguing explorers of the area for hundreds of years. Spectacular hydrothermal features, like the Abyss Pool and Fishing Cone geyser, are just a few of the eye-catching attractions along this boardwalk area, as well as long views across the massive lake.
11. Jenny Lake
A massive glacial lake at the base of Grand Teton, this national park hot spot features hiking, boating, and big mountain views. One of the best campgrounds in Grand Teton National Park can be found on the banks of Jenny Lake, and visitors can take a scenic ferry ride across the icy blue waters to reach the base of the range, where vertical hiking trails are available.
12. Jackson Hole
A vibrant community with great access to the outdoors, the town of Jackson, in the valley of Jackson Hole, has scenic streets filled with restaurants, shops, and art installations that are distinctively western. This gateway community also offers easy access to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Grand Teton National Park, and the nearby National Elk Refuge.
Accommodation: Top-Rated Places to Stay in Jackson Hole
13. Hot Springs State Park
Just outside Thermopolis, Hot Springs is one of the most popular state parks in Wyoming. The Big Spring is the main feature that draws crowds to Hot Springs, including the popular State Bath House. More fun and photogenic charm can be found at Hot Springs, though, including a colorful row of travertine terraces and swinging bridge across the Big Horn River.
14. Bridger-Teton National Forest
One of the largest national forests in the country, Bridger-Teton National Forest encompasses over 3.4 million acres and a vast array of flora, fauna, and recreational opportunities. With three designated wildernesses for true backcountry travel, the Bridger-Teton National Forest also hosts much of the fabled Wind River Range, which is particularly eye-catching no matter the time of year.
15. McCullough Peaks Wild Horse Herd Management Area
For a unique photo opportunity of wild horses and mountain backdrops, the McCullough Peaks Wild Horse Herd Management Area, operated by the Bureau of Land Management, offers a good perspective. Just outside of Cody, the wild mustangs can usually be spotted with binoculars or a long lens, and the variety of coat colors often makes for a dramatic sight.
16. Fort Laramie National Historic Site
Dating back over 150 years in western frontier history, Fort Laramie was at one time the most prominent military post of the American West. Today, this "grand old post" still entices visitors with a slew of activities, including antique remnants, interpretive information, and daily living history reenactments – all of which help transport visitors back to a time when the West was much wilder.
17. State Capitol Building
In the southeastern part of the state, the State Capitol building in Cheyenne was first constructed in the late 19th century and remains as stately as ever today. Alongside the main gold-dome statehouse in Cheyenne, the larger State Capitol Complex also features other eye-catching institutions, including the Wyoming State Museum and Historic Governor's Mansion.
18. National Elk Refuge
Adjacent to the town of Jackson, in the valley of Jackson Hole, and with distant views of the Teton Range, the National Elk Refuge of Wyoming is operated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The refuge is home to one of the largest elk herds on earth. Winter is the best time to see and photograph this massive collection of wild animals.
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19. Norris Geyser Basin
In central Yellowstone National Park, Norris Geyser Basin provides uniquely steamy areas to explore. The boardwalk leading through the Porcelain Basin of Norris navigates a seemingly barren landscape punctuated by steaming fumaroles and burbling hot springs. In the more wooded Back Basin, a forested landscape reveals unique features, including soaring mountains.
A combination of history, adventure, and an authentic western feel combine to make Laramie a scenic place to visit. One of the larger cities in the state, Laramie provides cultural appeal in the form of restaurants, museums, and festival events, all while lending easy access to the unspoiled surrounding environment—including many great places to spend the night in the countryside.