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Archive for wyoming

The Beartooth Highway

By Linda Tancs

The Beartooth Highway is an All-American Road ( a special designation conferred by the U.S. Department of Transportation for a scenic byway) on a section of U.S. Route 212 in Montana and Wyoming between Red Lodge, Montana, and the northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Once dubbed “the most beautiful roadway in America,” it zigzags across the Montana-Wyoming border through a series of steep switchbacks along the Absaroka-Beartooth Range, rising from about 5,000 feet to 10,947 feet at the Beartooth Pass. The ecosystems on display range from pine forests to alpine tundra, with snow that often lingers through the summer months. The breathtaking scenery includes high alpine plateaus dotted with glacial lakes, forested valleys, waterfalls and wildlife. It offers some of the best motorcycling in the country this time of year.

Wyoming’s Scenic Byway

By Linda Tancs

The Cody area of Wyoming boasts six federally-designated scenic byways. One of those routes is the Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway. It follows the North Fork of the Shoshone River through Wapiti Valley and ends at Sylvan Pass, a mountain pass providing access to Yellowstone National Park from the east entrance. Sylvan’s sweeping mountain views (at an elevation of 8,530 feet) are just part of the journey’s charms. A stop in Buffalo Bill’s town of Cody is likewise irresistible. It boasts the Irma Hotel, built by Buffalo Bill in 1902 and featuring an intricately carved cherrywood bar gifted to Bill by Queen Victoria, a fan of his Wild West show. Another charm in the city is the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. Comprising five museums under one roof, it has earned the nickname “the Smithsonian of the West.” The route also features the Buffalo Bill Dam, a prototype for world-famous Hoover Dam. Its massive concrete wall boasts a structural height of 350 feet, and you can take a breathtaking walk along the top. No wonder this trek was called “the most scenic 50 miles in the world” by Teddy Roosevelt.

Mountain Majesty in Wyoming

By Linda Tancs

It’s easy to get lost in the mountain majesty of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. You can view the rugged spires from glacier-fed Jenny Lake or on a float along the Snake River. More magnificent views await at Lunch Tree Hill, an overlook at Jackson Lake Lodge that was used as a picnic stop by John D. Rockefeller Jr. during a Yellowstone vacation. The Teton Mountain Range borders Jackson Hole to the west. Like the valley (which was named for fur trader David Jackson), French fur trappers named the mountains Les Trois Tetons (the three breasts), now known as the Grand, Middle and South Tetons. Grand Teton is the highest peak although Mount Moran (named for landscape artist Thomas Moran) is immortalized in popular sketches and watercolors.

Rodeo Capital of the World

By Linda Tancs

Cody, Wyoming, is an archetypal Western town founded by Buffalo Bill Cody. Rodeo is a way of life, which is why it’s widely recognized as the Rodeo Capital of the World. It hosts the Cody Nite Rodeo, an amateur rodeo taking place every night from the beginning of June until the end of August, and the Buffalo Bill Cody Stampede. Beyond the ropin,’ racin,’ and bull ridin,’ the town is home to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, a complex of five museums and a research library featuring art and artifacts of the American West.

A Wild Dam

By Linda Tancs

Named for famed Wild West figure William “Buffalo Bill” Cody, the Buffalo Bill Dam in Wyoming is a concrete arch-gravity dam on the Shoshone River. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it’s located six miles west of Cody (founded by the man himself) on the Yellowstone Highway. When completed in 1910 it was the tallest dam in the world. Visitors may stroll to the top of the dam, view exhibits and a short movie in the visitor center or rent a self-guided audio tour. The site is open seasonally through September.

Sweets and Savories in Laramie

By Linda Tancs

Late April marks the time when invitations are sent for summer Victorian tea at Wyoming’s Laramie Plains Museum. The event is appropriate enough, considering that the museum is housed at the historic Ivinson Mansion, a Victorian-era home boasting nearly 12,000 square feet. It was the home of Edward and Jane Ivinson, early leaders of Laramie’s thriving community in the Wyoming Territory as the West expanded with the development of the Union Pacific Railroad in the late 1800s. Wyoming would later join the Union in 1890. Museum tours are regularly offered from March through December.

Under the Antlers in Jackson

By Linda Tancs

Jackson, Wyoming, gets its share of visitors thanks to its proximity to Grand Teton and Yellowstone. But it’s quite the attraction in its own right, particularly at George Washington Memorial Park. Popularly known as the “Town Square,” its four points of access are marked by arches. No, not golden arches like McDonald’s or moon gates like Bermuda. These arches are made from elk antler sheds retrieved from the nearby 25,000-acre National Elk Refuge. Originating in 1953, the arches were recently rebuilt with fresher sheds for safety. The total output of 14,000 pounds of elk antlers means visitors will be posing under the arches for years to come.



Wolf Watching in Wyoming

By Linda Tancs

A must-see for serious wildlife watchers, Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley has been a wolf watching mecca since the wolves were reintroduced in 1995. The Lamar River is a tributary of the Yellowstone River; the river valley is bookended by mountain ranges and is also home to elk, bison, grizzlies and a variety of bird species. Keep your eyes (or binoculars) peeled during early morning or late evening hours.

The Great Divide

By Linda Tancs

The Continental Divide is an epic hydrological divide separating the watersheds draining into the Atlantic Ocean from those draining into the Pacific Ocean. In the United States, its route is over 3,000 miles long, extending from the Canadian border with Montana to the Mexican boundary in southwest New Mexico. Following this course you’ll find the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, part of a series of national trails established by Congress in recognition of their natural beauty. The Continental Divide trail in particular passes through 25 national forests, 21 wilderness areas and three national parks, providing access to spectacular vistas in some of the most scenic places left in the world. The highest point is in Colorado at Grays Peak (14,270 feet) and the lowest is along Waterton Lake in Glacier National Park in Montana (4,200 feet). The long winter season along the Divide (September through May) is now over. Why not plan a hiking or camping trip! From backpacking to family day trips, there’s something for everyone.

Great American Main Street

By Linda Tancs

What do New Jersey, Wyoming and Missouri have in common? For the current year, at least, the answer is that each state boasts a winning town in the 2015 Great American Main Street Award® contest. Each year the National Main Street Center (a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation) bestows honors on those communities it deems to be a shining example of commercial district revitalization. This year’s honorees are Cape Girardeau in Missouri, Montclair Center Business Improvement District in New Jersey and Rawlins, Wyoming. Thanks to the art of reinvention, you won’t find them rolling up the sidewalks at night.

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