As the heart of the Wild West in the 1880s Casper sat at the intersection of the Mormon, California, Oregon and Pony Express Trails. Today, it still serves as a crossroads for travelers. Stop in Casper on your way to Yellowstone National Park to relive the history of the West with trail landmarks, wagon rides and cowboy boots. Or get a taste of Casper’s unexpected culture with its 100-year-old art scene, festivals and craft distilling. Don’t forget it’s also an outdoor mecca filled with trails, fishing and water sports.
If you’re not convinced yet, here are seven reasons to stop in Casper.
1. Experience Casper’s Unexpected Culture
Experience everything Casper, from its 100-year-old art scene to local music and food at the 5150 Festival held in August. Fun Fact: 5150 is Casper’s elevation.
2. Touch History
Independence Rock was an important landmark for westward bound pioneers. Countless names of pioneers and Native Americans alike are carved into the awe-inspiring rock.
Fun Fact: Casper sits at the intersection of the Oregon, California and Mormon trails and the Pony Express route. Stroll back in time to learn about the Oregon, California, Mormon and Pony Express trails people took 140 years ago at the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center in Casper. The interactive Conestoga Wagon Ride bounces you around as you try to cross the North Platte River.
“There’s great story telling [at the center],” says Shawn Houck, a longtime Casper resident. “Today, our city is traversed by recreation trails.”
3. Quench Your Thirst
Stop by Casper’s circus-inspired Backwards Distilling Company for small-batch spirits like “Strong Man Gin” and “Sword Swallower Rum” transformed into craft cocktails, or their Milk Can Moonshine line.
Tip: Order the Freakshow, a mix of vodka, pineapple and muddled jalapeno.
4. Take in the Views
Ten minutes from town, take the quarter mile trail to Garden Creek Falls at the base of Casper Mountain and take a break in Rotary Park surrounding the falls. Then head up the 4.5-mile roundtrip Bridle Trail at the base of the falls to reach Split Rock and fantastic views of the city below.
Tip: Rotary Park has a great picnic area, so don’t forget to pack lunch.
5. Get a Taste of the Old West
Journey in the footsteps of pioneers in a covered wagon on the Oregon Trail with Historic Trails West. Treks range from two hours to five days.
Tip: If the Pony Express is more your style, you can also experience the area’s historic trails on horseback.
6. Try on Cowboy Boots in Casper
A trip out West wouldn’t be complete without cowboy boots. 100-year-old Lou Taubert Ranch Outfitters, 125 E 2 St, is the place to go.
Fun Fact: The store is four stories tall and stocks 10,000 pairs of boots.
7. Get Wet
Rent a paddle board or kayak at Alcova Resort to experience the 400-foot walls of Fremont Canyon.
Tip: When you get off the water, head to the Waterfront Grille’s patio to order breakfast, lunch, or dinner and take in the views. If fishing is more your style, experience the “Miracle Mile” stretch of the North Platte River, which has earned Casper the title of the “No. 1 Big Fish Destination” by American Angler.
For more information:
Visitor Center in the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center
1501 North Poplar St., Casper, WY