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Beautiful day on the Snowy Range in Wyoming

Wyoming

Carbon County, Wyoming: Must-Do Activities in the Wild West

By: Idoia Gkikas

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Camping under a starry sky at Cow Creek Reservoir

Wyoming

Carbon County, Wyoming: Must-Do Activities in the Wild West

By: Idoia Gkikas

2 of 4
View from Battle Pass Scenic Byway in the Medicine Bow National Forest

Wyoming

Carbon County, Wyoming: Must-Do Activities in the Wild West

By: Idoia Gkikas

3 of 4
A goose flying over Kortes Dam

Wyoming

Carbon County, Wyoming: Must-Do Activities in the Wild West

By: Idoia Gkikas

4 of 4
  • States:
    Wyoming

The unbridled spirit of the classic American West is still alive in South-Central Wyoming’s Carbon County.

Named for its coal-mining origins, Carbon County is now defined by its natural beauty, inspiring outdoor adventures and rich cultural attractions.

Adventures in Nature

What better way to “Get Your West On” than to visit a dude ranch? Laid-back and family-friendly, the Medicine Bow Lodge in Saratoga offers horseback riding for all experience levels and ages. Visit in winter for snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, or fishing, hiking and camping in the summer. Amenity-rich accommodations await at the Lodge and Spa at Brush Creek, a luxury dude ranch with loads of activities – rifle shooting, fly fishing, paintball, yoga, archery and even kids’ programs. Rafters and paddlers, head to the North Platte River, perfect for either a tranquil float or a thrilling whitewater ride. Guided expeditions are available.

Cattle round-up with a stunning backdrop at Elk Mountain Ranch

Cattle round-up with a stunning backdrop at Elk Mountain Ranch
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Western Experiences and Local History

Rawlins, Carbon County’s largest town, is home to Wyoming Frontier Prison, which served as Wyoming’s state penitentiary from 1901 to 1981. Today, you can take a guided tour of the “Old Pen” to see the cell blocks, kitchen, exercise yard and even “the death house” where you can actually sit inside an old gas chamber! At the must-see Grand Encampment Museum, check out more than a dozen restored buildings, covered wagons and old mining equipment. The Carbon County Museum houses exhibits on frontier and Native American history. Mountain man Jim Baker’s 19th-century cabin is preserved at Little Snake River Museum in Savery, an unincorporated community of just two dozen residents. Take a self-guided tour of Fort Fred Steele Historic Site to learn about the area’s railroad history and see relics of a frontier Army fort.

Exploring the period architecture and more at Grand Encampment Museum

Exploring the period architecture and more at Grand Encampment Museum
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Relaxing Escape

Carbon County’s vast, open spaces are ripe for wildlife viewing. Look for moose, deer, sheep, elk and raptors at Saratoga Lake, Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest and Seminoe State Park. All three destinations are also prime for fishing, hiking and camping. Don’t miss a stop at the famous Hobo Hot Springs in Saratoga, whose thermal waters are believed by some to have healing powers. Give it a try for yourself – it’s free and open 24/7. The natural beauty here is truly staggering, so reserve an afternoon (or two) to take a scenic drive along the Seminoe-Alcova Scenic Backway, Snowy Range Scenic Byway and the Battle Pass Scenic Byway.

Spotting a herd of pronghorn in Carbon County

Spotting a herd of pronghorn in Carbon County
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Getting There

Carbon County is located in Southern Wyoming. Visitors can fly from international destinations to Casper-Natrona County International Airport (C/NCIA) and take the scenic two-hour drive south to Carbon County. International airports in Denver, Colorado (DEN) and Salt Lake City, Utah (SLC) are also within a three- to four-hour drive from Carbon County.

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