Indian name meaning “wide meadow” or “wide plain”
Nickname: Equality State/Cowboy State
State bird: Western Meadowlark
State flower: Indian Paintbrush
In the heart of the Rockies, Wyoming is known as the ‘Cowboy State’ and was the home of ‘Buffalo Bill’ Cody. It is the ninth-largest State in the USA and has the smallest population. The spirit of the Wild West is alive and well in Wyoming, with its open spaces, rugged country and breathtaking scenery. Ranching is still a major industry here, and one of the world’s largest rodeos – Cheyenne Frontier Days, held annually in July – has drawn visitors to the State capital since 1897. Visitors to Wyoming can also choose to spend time at one of the many guest or working ranches and experience at first hand Wyoming’s special frontier heritage. Geographical attractions include 11 major mountain ranges, prairies, grasslands, parks, forests, lakes and rivers. The world’s first national park, the huge Yellowstone National Park (website: www.nps.gov/yell), is located on top of one of the earth’s few ‘hot spots’ – a place where the earth’s crust is so thin that the hot, molten core can influence surface conditions.
Yellowstone’s violent volcanic history has resulted in a unique environment of geysers, bubbling hot pools, alpine lakes and great canyons. Old Faithful Geyser, the park’s most famous attraction, erupts almost hourly, sending jets of boiling water into the air. Just south of Yellowstone is the beautiful Grand Teton National Park, with ample hiking, cycling and horseriding opportunities; and the mountain valley town of Jackson, which in winter becomes one of the world’s premier ski spots. South of Jackson is Bridger-Teton National Forest. The Shoshone and Arapaho Native American tribes live east of this forest, on the Wind River Indian Reservation.
Heading northeast, Cody, Buffalo Bill’s hometown, is best known for the Buffalo Bill Historical Center – often called ‘The Smithsonian of the West’. Cody is also home to Old Trail Town, a collection of pioneer buildings and relics of the Big Horn Basin area. Further east are the dramatic Big Horn Mountains, with the charming towns of Buffalo and Sheridan nestled at the base of the range. At Buffalo, the Jim Gatchell Museum of the West offers fascinating insights into frontier history. In the northeast, the majestic Devil’s Tower National Monument rises over 360m (1200ft) from the valley and attracts thousands of climbers. Back towards the centre of the State, the National Historic Trails Interpretative Center, which chronicles the great westward emmigration of the 1800s, is located in Casper.