Live the legend of the West in Cheyenne, Wyo., a charming capital city where the rich history of cowboys and western expansion meets amenities of the modern West.
“It’s really the best of both worlds,” says Jim Walter of the visitors bureau. “You’ve got some great historical resources here, whether it’s trains or the West or carriages or the history of rodeo. But then you’ve got the best of what the West is today--craft breweries, rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking.”
A narrated trolley tour that departs from the depot square will take you on a 90-minute ride through historic downtown, passing by the State Museum and botanic gardens, all the way north to Frontier Park and the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the Cheyenne Depot. If you feel like getting out at any of the five stops made along the way you can hop off the trolley, explore the stop, and get on the next trolley that comes an hour and a half later.
If a shorter tour of the downtown area is more appealing, free horse-drawn carriage rides depart from the same location in the depot square as the trolley.
Also located downtown are Cheyenne’s iconic Wrangler store, Wyoming Rib & Chop House and some up-and-coming microbreweries.
“The Wrangler is an amazing western-wear store that smells of leather,” says Darren Rudloff, president and CEO of the visitors bureau. “You’ll see steaming hats. Shoppers range from local residents to real cowboys to tourists. Everyone’s in there and it’s a great, fun experience.”
The Wyoming Rib & Chop House is located in the historic Dinneen Building, originally built as an automobile dealership in 1927 and is a meat-lovers paradise.
“It feels like Wyoming,” Rudloff says.
For more food and drink, check out Cheyennes expanding and perhaps unexpected collection of microbreweries. Freedom’s Edge Brewing located on Pioneer Avenue has been open since 2012 while Daniel Marks on 18th Street and Accomplice Beer Co. located in the Cheyenne Depot opened in the summer of 2016.
“The brew pubs are all fun in a different way,” Rudloff says. “[Accomplice Beer Co.] is a lot of fun because it’s in the historic depot. You can sit outside and watch trains. It’s fun in that you get a card and you self-pour.”
Family-friendly activities can be found at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens and Children’s Village. “They just have so many little free things for kids to do,” says Jill Pope, director of operations and trolley at the Visit Cheyenne Convention & Visitors Bureau. “It’s really a secret park.”
Back at the Ranch
Feel like a cowboy or cowgirl at these three unique Cheyenne favorites.
1. Terry Bison Ranch
But for a truly unique experience, the Terry Bison Ranch is a fully-functioning, 30,000 acre bison ranch with attractions for everyone. Trail ride and ATV through the ranch, rent a cabin or camp, go fishing, visit the Kid Corral and Trading Post Gift Shop and don’t miss the opportunity to hand-feed buffalo on the TRX train ride. On the bison train tour, loop over the Colorado border then back into Wyoming where the train will stop as the bison herd surrounds the train and nibbles treats from your hand.
“We don’t encourage you to take a selfie with a bison at Yellowstone National Park or feed them out of your hand, but you can do that here,” Rudloff says. “You can actually be close to these extremely large creatures in a safe manner.”
Take a train through a bison herd, do a trail ride and enjoy Wyoming’s best burger at Senator’s Restaurant; 51 I-25 Frontage Rd; terrybisonranch.com.
2. The Wrangler
Breathe in the smell of fresh leather at this local favorite and gear up with authentic cowboy boots, hats and other western apparel; 1518 Capitol Ave.
3. Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum
See cowboy and cowgirl memorabilia along with the nation's third-largest carriage collection; 4610 Carey Ave.; oldwestmuseum.org.
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