21 epic and unforgettable Wyoming road trips

Peter Watson

Nothing compares to a Wyoming road trip. Here are 21 scenic byways that twist, turn and climb through the Cowboy State's most breathtaking landscapes.

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Nothing beats a road trip in WyomingPat Tr/Shutterstock

Wyoming’s open roads and beautiful scenery make it an ideal state for a road trip. But with over 97,000 square miles of possibility, deciding on how to best explore the state can be overwhelming.

The Rocky Mountains and the High Plains meet in Wyoming, resulting in stunning views in every direction.

Wyoming has 21 scenic byways that twist, turn and climb through some of the state’s most breathtaking landscapes.

Itineraries act as trusted trail guides, leading you through the iconic parks, western history and outdoor adventures scattered throughout Wyoming, waiting to be discovered.

Just a taste of what to expect (Video: Travel Wyoming)

Plan a drive along these Wyoming roads to immerse yourself in wild beauty and western history.

1. Beartooth Scenic Byway

Located just east of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming’s northwest corner, Beartooth Scenic Byway follows US-212 as it winds through Shoshone National Forest.

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Beartooth Scenic Byway in WyomingTravel Wyoming

Nearly 39 miles of this 68-mile drive are in Wyoming, with sections crossing into Montana.

Plan to spend about three hours driving this beautiful road, and leave plenty of time for stops at trailheads and lookout points along the way.

2. Bighorn Scenic Byway

This scenic byway begins in Shell, Wyoming, and travels east before connecting with Medicine Wheel Passage.

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Bighorn Scenic BywayTravel Wyoming

Bighorn Scenic Byway passes through Bighorn National Forest, past Shell Falls and over Granite Pass, featuring views of vast ranchlands, limestone outcroppings and various mountain peaks along the way.

Be sure to make time for stops at scenic overlooks, trails and other enjoyable outdoor areas.

3. Black Hills Scenic Byway

This historic byway was once the point where the Oregon Trail, Mormon Trail, Pony Express Route, Transcontinental Railroad, Old Lincoln Highway and old US-30 all met.

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Black Hills Scenic Byway in WyomingTravel Wyoming

You can find this route in Wyoming’s southwest corner as an offshoot of I-80. The road passes through a number of historic sites, including Fort Bridger State Historic Site.

Plan to spend a few hours immersed in this significant part of western culture.

4. Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway

Winding west toward Yellowstone through Shoshone National Forest, Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway is filled with wildlife and stunning views.

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Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic BywayTravel Wyoming

This drive starts about 25 miles west of Cody and follows US Highway 14-16-20 for 27 miles. Take time to enjoy a hike or a stay at a historic lodge before experiencing this route’s ultimate grand finale: Yellowstone National Park.

The byway ends near the park’s east entrance, which is usually open May through October.

5. Chief Joseph Scenic Byway

Located in northwest Wyoming, this scenic drive begins near Yellowstone National Park’s eastern border and travels southwest through Shoshone National Forest and the Absaroka Mountains.

Yellowstone – one of the most beautiful places in America's Lower 48 (Video: Travel Wyoming)

The 47-mile drive boasts prime wildlife viewing and outdoor recreation opportunities to those who stop along the way.

Chief Joseph Scenic Byway was named after the chief of the Nez Perce Tribe, as the region was home to this Native American group before they left in an attempt to flee the U.S. Cavalry.

6. Cloud Peak Skyway

Cloud Peak Skyway is an incredible stretch of road that offers views of the Bighorn Mountains, including the highest peak in the range, Cloud Peak.

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Cloud Peak Skyway in WyomingTravel Wyoming

The scenic drive follows US-16 between Ten Sleep and Buffalo in north-central Wyoming. In just 47 miles, the Cloud Peak Scenic Byway transports you through Ten Sleep Canyon and Bighorn National Forest before climbing to stunning views of the Cloud Peak Wilderness.

7. Medicine Wheel Passage

Located in north-central Wyoming, the Medicine Wheel Passage offers views of the Bighorn Basin and Absoraka Mountains.

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Medicine Wheel PassageTravel Wyoming

This scenic drive passes Wyoming’s Medicine Wheel/Medicine Mountain National Historic Landmark and celebrates the state’s rich Native American history along the way.

Those traveling west along the byway can connect the 27-mile drive with Bighorn Scenic Byway to extend their route.

8. Red Gulch/Alkali National Back Country Byway

Located in north-central Wyoming, this byway begins in Shell and travels 32 miles south to Hyattville. Along the drive, keep an eye out for hoodoos and other unique rock formations and impressive views of Trapper Canyon.

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Red Gulch/Alkali National Back Country BywayTravel Wyoming

Plan to get out of the car and stretch your legs by fishing, hiking or even taking a few days to backpack in this beautiful part of Wyoming.

9. Oregon Trail Historic Byway

Experience America’s westward migration firsthand on this 57-mile drive through the same region Oregon Trail travelers journeyed over 100 years ago.

Fort Laramie National Historic Site (Video: Travel Wyoming)

The Oregon Trail Historic Byway begins east of Guernsey in southeast Wyoming and follows US-26 to the Wyoming-Nebraska border.

Stop along the way to see preserved wagon ruts and explore Fort Laramie National Historic Site.

10. Seminoe to Alcova Scenic Byway

The 64-mile Seminoe to Alcova Scenic Backway in south-central Wyoming starts in Sinclair and travels north to Alcova, weaving through prairie, desert and climbing the Seminoe Mountains along the way.

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Seminoe to Alcova Scenic BywayTravel Wyoming

Bring a fishing rod and bathing suit, as this road passes several reservoirs, including Pathfinder Reservoir, Seminoe Reservoir and Alcova Reservoir.

11. South Big Horn/Red Wall Scenic Backway

Located in central Wyoming, this scenic drive travels through old pioneer livestock trails still used by ranchers today.

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South Big Horn/Red Wall Scenic BackwayTravel Wyoming

The 101-mile South Big Horn/Red Wall Scenic Backway passes iconic sites such as Hole-in-the-Wall and access roads to other must-visit areas such Hell’s Half Acre and the Seminoe to Alcova Back Country Byway.

12. Battle Pass Scenic Byway

This 57-mile paved highway follows Wyoming Highway 70 through Medicine Bow National Forest and over the Sierra Madre Mountain Range.

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Battle Pass Scenic BywayTravel Wyoming

Starting in Encampment, Battle Pass Scenic Byway drives through a number of ghost towns and passes the field known for the famous 1841 battle between fur trappers and Native Americans.

13. Snowy Range Scenic Byway

Wyoming Highway 130, better known as the Snowy Range Road, was the second National Forest Scenic Byway in the United States.

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Medicine Bowe Peak along the Snowy Range Scenic BywayTravel Wyoming

The Snowy Range Scenic Byway travels along this road in southeast Wyoming, featuring views of Colorado mountain ranges and Wyoming’s towering Medicine Bowe Peak.

This byway offers camping and hiking opportunities in addition to scenic pullouts for travelers to enjoy along the way.

14. Wind River Canyon Scenic Byway

The Wind River Canyon Scenic Byway travels 34 miles along US-20 between Thermopolis and Shoshoni.

Thermopolis & Meeteetse in Wyoming (Video: Travel Wyoming)

The drive follows a path through Wind River Canyon that was once used by Native Americans and pioneers before continuing through the Wind River Indian Reservation.

Travelers can enjoy fishing or rafting along the Wind River before ending the trip with a hot spring soak at Hot Springs State Park in Thermopolis.

15. Big Spring Scenic Backway

Traveling 68 miles from Kemmerer to Cokeville, this scenic backway offers mountains, valleys wildlife viewing and more.

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Big Spring Scenic BackwayTravel Wyoming

Big Spring Scenic Backway follows Wyoming Highway 232 as it passes through the same part of the state over 350,000 emigrants passed through along the Oregon, Mormon and California trails.

If you travel to this part of the state, add Fossil Butte National Monument near Kemmerer to your list of places to explore.

16. Bridger Valley Historic Byway

This historic byway was once the point where the Oregon Trail, Mormon Trail, Pony Express Route, Transcontinental Railroad, Old Lincoln Highway and old US-30 all met. You can find this route in Wyoming’s southwest corner as an offshoot of I-80.

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Bridger Valley Historic BywayTravel Wyoming

The road passes through a number of historic sites, including Fort Bridger State Historic Site. Plan to spend a few hours immersed in this significant part of western culture.

17. Flaming Gorge-Green River Basin Scenic Byway

The Flaming Gorge-Green River Basin Scenic Byway connects two roads split by the Green River in southwest Wyoming, traveling through high desert and towering rock formations along the way.

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Flaming Gorge-Green River Basin Scenic BywayTravel Wyoming

The 160-mile byway allows for plenty of stops to enjoy the recreation opportunities surrounding both Green River and the breathtaking Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area.

18. Mirror Lake Scenic Byway

Mirror Lake Scenic Byway begins in the southwest Wyoming town of Evanston and travels south along Wyoming Highway 150.

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Mirror Lake Scenic BywayTravel Wyoming

The byway crosses into Utah, winding through the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest before ending in Kamas, Utah.

Travelers can take in views of the beautiful Uinta Mountains along the drive’s Wyoming segment, which extends for 20 miles before crossing into Utah.

19. Muddy Creek Historic Backway

Muddy Creek Historic Backway takes travelers through the famous Muddy Creek, a popular spot for those traveling along the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails to stop and set up camp.

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Muddy Creek Historic BackwayTravel Wyoming

The area also acted as a stopping point for the Pony Express and later became a water stop for the Transcontinental Railroad.

The 25-mile backway starts in Fort Bridger and follows several connecting Wyoming highways through the ghost towns of this historic region.

20. Star Valley Scenic Byway

This 80-mile drive follows US-89 east from the Idaho border into Wyoming’s west-central region before heading north toward Grand Teton National Park.

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Star Valley Scenic BywayTravel Wyoming

Star Valley Scenic Byway climbs Salt Canyon to Salt River Pass and then descends into Star Valley, offering beautiful views along the way.

21. Wyoming Centennial Scenic Byway

The 163-mile Wyoming Centennial Scenic Byway travels from Pinedale to Dubois along US Highways 191 and 26, giving travelers the opportunity to stop at Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park along the same route.

Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming (Video: Travel Wyoming)

This stunning drive features views of rugged mountains and alpine forests as it crosses the Continental Divide and winds through Shoshone and Bridger-Teton national forests.

Stop to camp and hike along the way, or take a break in Jackson Hole for one-of-a-kind dining and lodging experiences.

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Peter Watson is a writer, photographer and adventurer. A keen trekker and climber he can usually be found on the trails of the Greater Ranges. He’s visited over 80 countries and is currently focused on climbing the seven summits – the highest mountain on every continent. Four down, three to go... He has also travelled extensively around the US developing a penchant for American backcountry, abandoned buildings and natural wonders en route.

Phoenix, AZ
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