The city of Casper and the surrounding areas in Central Wyoming most certainly represent the state’s storied Western history, pioneer heritage and cowboy culture. This region of Wyoming is defined as much by the rustic beauty of its waterways, forests and mountains as it is by its historically-critical role in the oil, mining and wind energy industries.
Central Wyoming is a place where the vibe is easy-going, and where the opportunities for outdoor adventures such as fishing, hunting, hiking and snow skiing are seemingly endless. In addition, Wyoming has some of the lowest tax rates in America, with no corporate or personal income tax, and very low state and local tax rates.
Let’s take a closer look at the appeal of Casper and a few neighboring Central Wyoming communities for residents and visitors alike.
Central Wyoming’s rivers, lakes and mountains provide the perfect setting for outdoor recreation enthusiasts. The Platte and Sweetwater rivers, Alcova Lake, Casper Mountain and other natural landmarks have long been popular for fly fishing, mountain biking, rock climbing and so much more.
Casper Mountain tops out at around 8,000 feet and is home to elk, mule deer, wild grouse, bald eagles and other wildlife. Along with the adjacent Muddy Mountain, it offers trails for hiking and horses, ATVs and snowmobiles, plus campsites. In the winter, head to Casper Mountain’s Hogadon Basin Ski Area.
Dedicated anglers will want to check out the North Platte River for its trout fishing, or take to the water for kayaking and paddleboarding. The river runs through Edness K. Wilkins State Park in Evansville, also a top spot for birders. A little more than an hour southeast, Glendo State Park features swimming, boating and camping amid Native American artifacts. Alcova Reservoir and Grey Reef Reservoir, both in Natrona County, are two other nice locations for fishing and water recreation.
In nearby Converse County, Ayres Natural Bridge near the Oregon Trail is one of only three natural bridges in country set above water, and has a connected park in a red-rock canyon. Farther west in Fremont County, the Buffalo location of the Bighorn National Forest offers every outdoor activity you can imagine. Particularly around Dubois, this county is also huge on cowboy culture and there are lots of guest ranches for folks looking for weekend getaways.
Finally, if hunting is your aim, you’ll find plenty of spots to pursue both big and small game in Central Wyoming. Pathfinder National Wildlife Refuge consists of four separate units for hunting waterfowl, deer and grouse. And that’s just one option among many. Your best approach is to start with a species search via the Wyoming Game & Fish Department.
Outdoor adventures may top the list of things to do in Central Wyoming, but they definitely aren’t the only reason to visit or live in the state. Local events, arts and culture, and other activities in the region draw all kinds of crowds. In Casper, you might start with the constantly-growing David Street Station.
When the weather’s too cold for outdoor recreation, cities such as Casper offer indoor recreation and aquatics centers, and even an ice arena. Or, for less strenuous activity in the summer, there’s always golf. Casper has a municipal course and a private course at Paradise Valley Country Club. Wind River Hotel and Casino in Riverton, one county to the west of Casper, is another fun outing, though geared mainly for adults.
Annual events and festivals have always been popular around the world, and that sentiment also holds true in Central Wyoming. On a regular basis, the Ford Wyoming Center holds live entertainment events, but come August, people flock to Beartrap Meadow on Casper Mountain for a two-day music fest. Over in Riverton, fun annual events include the Fremont County fair, balloon rally, spring carnival and more. The Douglas/Glenrock area has several enjoyable events, as well, including the five-day Jackalope Days in June.
For a deep dive into history, arts and culture, the options are diverse. The Paleon Museum in Glenrock digs into dinosaurs, while the Fremont County Museums cover a variety of historical topics. Casper’s Crimson Dawn Museum tells the story of the Casper Mountain Witches, and the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center takes you to “Where the Road Ends and the West Begins.” Lastly, the Lander Art Center is a great place to see rotating arts exhibits and fairs, and even take some art classes.