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It’s hard to imagine there being an American West without Wyoming, and vice versa. The frontier may have closed a long time ago, but Wyoming “never got the memo.” This is where history actually lives.
Jackson is the perfect starting point for this tour of the Old West. Surrounded by mountains and nestled against the headwaters of the Snake River, Jackson delivers nature in abundance. Outdoor enthusiasts have a smorgasbord of seasonal activities to choose from, including hiking, mountaineering, biking, birding, rafting, and hot air ballooning. If you can do it outdoors, then it’s happening at a high level in Jackson. Avid indoorsmen can while away their time at the unique shopping and dining experiences that abound here, as well as galleries and seasonal festivals that highlight the town’s special place in American culture.
Heading north from Jackson, RVers can take in some of the most beautiful scenery America has to offer as Hwy 89 rolls past Jackson Lake in the Grand Teton National Park and eventually into Yellowstone Park. Obviously, you’re going to spend ample time at both, right? At Yellowstone Lake, hang a right, east, onto US-14 (call ahead for seasonal road closings) and breeze into Cody. This bustling western town celebrates its namesake, Buffalo Bill, with the Buffalo Bill Historical Center and the Cody Night Rodeo, as well as pow-wows and Wild West shootouts.
South of Cody lives the other half of our western narrative. The Wind River Reservation, which begins just south of Thermopolis, is home to 4,500 Arapaho and 2,500 Shoshone Native Americans. This 2.2-million-acre expanse features historical and natural sites such as the burial place of famed Lewis and Clark guide, Sacajawea. The many original outpost buildings of Fort Washakie Historic District, along with Castle Gardens—an eerie archeological formation featuring windswept sandstone and weathered trees—are both terrific stops.