Wyoming Unplugged - Wyoming Magazine


Wyoming Unplugged


by Molly Michieli


What would summertime be without selfies by the pool, selfies on top of mountains, and selfies documenting the progress of your tan lines? Well it just wouldn’t be summer, now would it?

While selfies are a summer must, wasting those gorgeous sunny Wyoming days checking email, chatting on the phone, and working is not how summer was meant to be spent. All Wyomingites know that our state is packed with scenic hikes, one-of-a-kind events, and endless beauty. So why not experience all of that unplugged, tuned-out to the rest of the world? and Why not really disconnect this season?

We’ve laid a few of our favorite ways to disconnect from reality in the great outdoors, and a handful of inside treats for those stormy days. We have “The Obvious” path for those wanting to experience the famous outdoor activities of Wyoming, “The Unique” path for those wanting something new and relaxing, and “The Adventurous” path for those up for multiple days of summer fun! Clear your calendars and slide your phone settings to ͞Do Not Disturb, because you’re headed on one epic summer voyage!

The Obvious:

There’s a whole lot of natural ground to cover in Wyoming. The best way to see it all is by hiking. Strap on your hiking boots or best walking shoes and get ready to experience some of the best trails in our state. Grab the dog, the water, and a snack or two; here we go!

We will start off easy. For beginners, a Yellowstone favorite is the must-see Artists Paintpots Trail. The one-mile hike may be small in length but is in big on natural wonders. While Yellowstone can be crowded in the summer months, this particular trail is a bit off the beaten path. As you wind around the wooded areas, you will come upon a group of hot springs that will take your breath away. The vibrant colors in the hot springs are the source for the site’s unique name. Stay awhile and you may even see some thrilling thermal activity. Head up the hill and bubbling mud pots will greet you on the path. If the summer has been rainy, the mud pots appear runny and extra bubbly. If the season is unusually dry, you may be able to catch the mud pots steaming, and the earth around the steam vent will look more crusty than muddy. This is a great beginner’s hike and perfect for a family. Just keep in mind the dangers of thermal areas, and always stay on the trail.

OK hotshot, looking for more of a strenuous hike? We have your back or should we say your glutes? Because after hiking the stairs on Uncle Tom’s Trail, you can feel free to skip legs day at the gym for a good, oh, six months! The stairs first take you about 500 feet down into the canyon, where you can get the best view of the cascading waterfall. This view is a welcomed moment of peace after the downward trek, but prepare yourself for the climb back up! This trail is also located in Yellowstone, and is popular for those tough cookies who are looking for scenic spots to explore. This is a great day trip for the whole family—or at least those family members that are up for the challenge. Uncle Tom’s Trail is the perfect way to put the emails on hold and truly take in all that Mother Earth has to offer. And by the way, who doesn’t love their good ol͛’ Uncle Tom? 

Hiking level: Master? Then this one’s for you. Near Buffalo, you will find a trailhead that leads you to the tallest peak in the Bighorn National Forest:  Cloud Peak. The view from the top doesn’t get much better than this. We strongly encourage shouting “I’m king of the world,” as loud as possible when you make it to the summit. This hike is no laughing matter though. The 22.5-mile stretch is only recommended for experienced hikers and backpackers. While on this adventure, you will come across the stunning Mistymoon Lake. Between your first steps onto the trail, and the 13,166 ft. destination, you will experience more than 4,000 ft. in elevation gain, so take it easy and pack appropriately.

Not a hiker? We still love you, and there are still plenty of lovely ways to take in the natural beauty of Wyoming. Fishing, anyone? Camping, hello! The possibilities are endless, but here are a few ideas freshly picked from our list of favorites.

Camping is an absolute must, and is one of the e best ways to experience the elements. The Firehole Campground southwest of Rock Springs and next to Flaming Gorge Reservoir awaits those seeking a one-of-a-kind setting to pitch their tent. The red rock formations surrounding the area make for a striking selfie backdrop, but you will feel so at peace here that you won’t mind holding off on posting and updating your profile pic until the trip is over.

Central to all of Wyoming is an angler’s paradise called  Ocean Lake. Known for trout, crappie, and walleye, Ocean Lake has something for everyone. Take the boat out, pack a picnic, hop on and enjoy horseback riding—it can all be done around the reservoir. (Note: Add Ocean Lake’s location here.)

With so many activities to enjoy, it’s hard to imagine how anyone could or would want to find a moment to check their phones. There are so many things to do and see in this great state, which is why we recommend spending your best moments of summer completely surrounded in Wyoming’s majesty.

The Unique:

Looking for an indoor experience this summer? When the summer storms roll in, take a break from braving the elements with these two activities we think you will enjoy.

The Tasting Library in Sheridan boasts an extensive collection of fine wines. With 44 options always rotating, you can experience something new nearly every day of summer, but this is not your usual tasting room. This is a library, and we think it should be treated as such—free of distraction. By loading your library card, you can sample just a taste, a half glass, or fill ͚’er up! Sit, sip, relax, and chill out with friends and family in this welcoming environment. With a prime location on Main Street, you can wine, dine, walk, shop, and be in awe of the rich history and culture Sheridan holds.

While wine is good just about any time of day, there is one summer must-do that only happens after dark: catching a flick at the American Dream Drive-In (add location here). Featuring the hottest blockbusters, make your summer nights as thrilling as your summer days! At only $15 per car, you can lay the seats back, grab that popcorn, and relax! Travel back to a time before smartphones and social media and experience a true American pastime.

The Adventurous:

Funnel cakes, Ferris wheels, live music, rodeos, and more fun than imaginable. These next seasonal suggestions will win the hearts of any couch potato, and get you out among the most beloved Wyoming traditions.

It’s one thing to experience Cheyenne Frontier Days while Snap Chatting your way around the concert stages, posting embarrassing photos of friends on amusement rides. It’s a greater thing to experience this event while actually chatting with friends, meeting new ones, and singing along with Little Big Town, Luke Bryan, Jason Duerlo, and Jason Aldean. After rocking out, taste all that Cheyenne Frontier Days has to offer. From the expected fair food to the unexpected cultural cuisine, you’re in for a treat! Come hungry, and make sure it’s a cheat day, because you are going to want to savor every moment. Cheyenne Frontier days runs July 21-30.

Summer is a magical time of adventure, but the. inevitable truth is that summer must  come to an end. Before that happens, go on one last wild ride at the Wyoming State Fair, August 12-19. The carnival, the rodeo, and all grandstand events are a must at this week-long event that brings all of Wyoming  together. If you really want to finish your summer with a bang, don’t miss the demolition derbies throughout the fair. Skip a funnel cake or two and try out in the watermelon eating contests. The City of Douglas sure knows how to play host, with several camping and lodging options nearby. Put down the phones, ride the rides, play the games, eat all the hot dogs you can, because summer won’t come around again for a while!

Which path will you choose?

This summer, connect with your family, friends, yourself, and nature while disconnecting from work, email, social media, and phone calls. If you’re in Wyoming, we promise that one of the biggest thrills this summer will be turning your phone off and experiencing our state completely unplugged, whether you choose the obvious, unique, or adventurous path.

So there you have it, folks! Forget the electronics (except the camera) and soak up all the sun, fun, and new experiences summer in Wyoming has to offer.

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