5 Ways to Explore Wyoming’s Winter Wonderland

When the final leaves drift down from the treetops and the snow begins to pile up, Wyoming becomes a winter wonderland for a variety of adventure seekers. From shredding powder down a double black diamond slope in Jackson Hole to a laid-back afternoon at the spa or soaking your worries away in the mineral-bearing hot springs in Saratoga, the Cowboy State is a superior winter destination for all ages and interests.

For those who label themselves as expert skiers or for others who are eager to sharpen their skills on the slopes, there are many ski areas Wyoming has to offer.

Known for being the first designated ski area in Wyoming, Snow King Mountain Resort in Jackson Hole has 500 acres of skiable terrain, three operating lifts, a state-of-the-art gondola, three Magic Carpets and an impressive array of 41 designated runs. Apart from skiing, visitors can also enjoy alternative winter activities such as the Cowboy Coaster, snow tubing and exploring the soon-to-launch world-class observatory & planetarium. For more information, visit snowkingmountain.com.

Located 12 miles northwest of Jackson Hole in the picturesque Teton Village, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort offers an assortment of family-fun activities, an extensive skiable terrain of over 2,500 acres with 13 ski lifts and more than 130 named trails with options available for all skill levels. Visitors uninterested in hitting the slopes can always make a quick stop to ride the iconic aerial tram to the top of Rendezvous Mountain. For more information, visit www.jacksonhole.com. Click here for a full list of ski options in Wyoming.

A cross-country skier in Wyoming by Glenna Haug – Unsplash

If the fast-pace of downhill skiing isn’t your thing, explore some of the wilderness trails across the state. Laramie, in southeast Wyoming, offers the Tie City/Happy Jack trail network and the Snowy Range for diverse snowshoeing and cross country skiing opportunities. The one-third-of-a-mile Summit Loop provides majestic views, while Chimney Park Trail’s 15 miles cater to various skill levels. The Barber Lake Trail, groomed for classic Nordic skiing, offers thrilling descents and climbs in the Medicine Bow National Forest.

In Yellowstone National Park, winter enthusiasts can explore miles of groomed and ungroomed trails, but they must consult park rangers for trail conditions, as some areas are closed to protect wildlife. Among the recommended trails are the 4.2-mile Snow Pass Ski Trail, the Lone Star Geyser Trail with its geothermal wonders and the historical Bannock Ski Trail. Near Yellowstone’s east entrance, Cody provides over 15 miles of groomed trails at Sleeping Giant Ski Area and Pahaska Tepee Resort. One hour south of Yellowstone, Jackson Hole offers the Shooting Star Nordic Track for dog-friendly skiing, Teton Pines Nordic Center for wildlife sightings and Turpin Meadow Ranch for resort-style skiing. Backcountry enthusiasts will find Snake River Dike and Moose-Wilson Road captivating.

South of Casper, a biathlon venue boasts 26 miles of groomed ski trails, perfect for both novices and experts. Casper Mountain’s 28 miles of trails and adjacent biathlon facility provide a unique skiing experience. In Pinedale, scenic trails like Sweeney Creek, Grouse Mountain and Kelly Park, cater to skiers of all levels. Finally, head to Lander, located in the Wind River Range, to explore the Beaver Creek Nordic Ski Area and Sinks Canyon for various skiing experiences.

Snowy Grand Tetons by Joel Holland – Unsplash

Wyoming boasts a snowmobiling paradise with over 2,500 miles of trails, including the renowned Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail System, often ranked among the best in the country. Some key destinations include the Bear Lodge Mountains with 78 miles of groomed trails, the Bighorn Mountains offering 387 miles of trails and epic snowfall, the Black Hills with 40 miles of groomed trails connecting to South Dakota and Casper Mountain providing 46 miles of groomed trails at elevations over 7,000 feet.

The Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail offers a 270-mile adventure through breathtaking landscapes. Additionally, the Snowy Range boasts 25 feet of annual snowfall, while the Wyoming Range offers a 335-mile trail system.

Finally, Yellowstone National Park, with its abundant wildlife and pristine winter setting, provides over 3,400 square miles of exploration, open to those with authorized commercial guides and advanced reservations recommended.

Dog sledding in Wyoming – courtesy of Jason Lindsey/Wyoming Office of Tourism

While Alaska often springs to mind for dogsledding enthusiasts, Wyoming also offers the opportunity to experience the thrill of this wild and snowy adventure. Located primarily in the northwest corner of the state, Wyoming boasts a selection of dogsled tour operators for travelers to explore.

Take a scenic joyride with Jackson Hole Dog Sled Tours, guided by eight-time Iditarod veteran Frank Teasley, bringing guests from town to the majestic Granite Hot Springs.

Roughly a 45-minute drive northeast of Jackson Hole, Continental Divide Dog Sled Adventures takes guests on a thrilling sled excursion pulled by more than a dozen Alaskan huskies through the Bridger-Teton and Shoshone national forests.

The Thermopolis Hot Springs by Michael Kirsh – Unsplash

Soak your worries away in one of many Wyoming hot springs. Free to the public, Hot Springs State Park in Thermopolis features both indoor and outdoor soaking pools, as well as attractions like a swinging bridge and Teepee Fountain. Have the family experience of a lifetime at Star Plunge, located inside Hot Springs State Park, which offers heated pools filled with mineral-rich water and additional amenities like water slides and a vapor cave.

Granite Hot Springs near Jackson boasts a waterfall-fed soaking pool accessible in the winter via snowmobile, skis or a dog sled. Astoria Hot Springs Park near Jackson features man-made soaking pools rich in mineral compounds, along with amenities like snacks and a playground.

Saratoga Hot Springs Resort & Spa offers a 70-foot outdoor hot springs pool and teepee-covered soaking pools, along with spa treatments like Couples Retreats. Last but not least, Hobo Hot Pool in Saratoga is a free natural spring with two pools next to the Platte River, even allowing visitors to wade into the river.

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