Yes I am from Wyoming. No, I did not ride a horse to school.
Being a resident of Wyoming definitely has its perks (like not having any state tax). However, during our heaviest tourism seasons some of the locals might not seem so friendly. What you have to understand is, we Wyomingits are very prideful of our state and all that inhibits it. So if you're planning a trip to Wyoming wether it's for Cheyenne Frontier Days, to visit one of our beautiful national parks/ monuments, or just passing through, here are some things you should know before you visit!
#10 Respect Our Landscapes
Almost every Wyomingite you'll meet will probably have a landmark they deem their favorite, and 9/10 times it'll be somewhere kept secret. During your stay in Wyoming we want you to enjoy our state as much as we do, but don't be surprised if we don't give you greatly detailed information on our favorite mountains, valleys, or lakes. In all honesty we don't do it to be rude, we just don't want to see anything bad happen to the places we love, that we call home. Here in little old Wyoming we have been fortunate enough to not have suffered from too many disasters but we'd like to keep it that way.
If you go camping in one of our beautiful state parks or you're hiking out in the back country, please clean up after yourself, put your campfire out completely, and refrain from getting too close to the wildlife.
#9 Respect our Roads
One of the best things of having a small state is that we don't get severe traffic jams, granted rush hour in Cheyenne is progressively getting worse but it's no LA. A percentage of your travel through Wyoming will be done via secondary highway (i.e. you only get two lanes for traffic flowing both directions) and the other percentage will be done via interstate. If you're coming from a more populated state, you might fall victim of tailgating syndrome (I'm looking at you Colorado). Be warned, on one hand some of us are more patient than the others. On the other hand, some of us might break-check you into a ditch. To avoid such repercussions just be aware of the space between you and the people around you on our roads.
Another road hazard you have to watch out for is wildlife. Any time of year in all areas you can come into contact with many Wyoming wildlife crossing the main roads. Be cautious of deer, pronghorns, moose, elk, bears, or even bison crossing the roads wherever you may be.
#8 Don't Approach the Wildlife
If you don't see wildlife very often you might be unaware of the proper etiquette so here are a few easy steps to remember:
You should NEVER feed or approach wildlife.
Keep a safe and respectful distance of 25-100 yards from all animals (300 yards from bears, especially mothers with their young).
Resist temptation to "save" the animals. If you're really concerned, make a call to the Wyoming Game and Fish department before you take any action.
Do NOT surround, crowd, or follow an animal.
Stay in your vehicle.
Keep your viewing time of the animal short.
Most places you will visit are likely to have some form of information on the wildlife you can expect to see in the area and precautions to take. In Yellowstone National Park specifically they will hand out a guide on the proper wildlife interaction ettiequte.
#7 Stay on the Boardwalk
Something Wyoming is known for is Yellowstone National Park. In Yellowstone specifically there's a lot of what are called "hot springs". A simple definition of a hot spring is: "a thermal spring having water warmer than 98°F (37°C): the water is usually heated by emanation from or passage near hot or molten rock." The boardwalks are put into place to keep the visitors of the park safe. Not all of the boardwalks have rails but that doesn't mean its okay to leave the boardwalks, hang your feet off, drop rubbish into the dirt or hot springs, hop off for a quick photo, etc.
Every year there are stories of tourists getting seriously injured or even dying from leaving the boardwalks or walking paths in Yellowstone National Park. YSNP houses around 10,000 or so geysers, mud pots, steam vents and hot springs. Every year there are multiple cases of injuries coming from these beautiful phenomenon, a large percentage of these being from children wandering off. During your visits please be cautious, stay on the boardwalks, keep your children close by, and never bring pets nearby the attractions.
#6 Don't Base Your Opinion of Wyo. Off of Jackson
Yes Jackson is right outside the Grand Teton National Park and yes Jackson is a beautiful town, but there is no way that basing your opinion of Wyoming off of Jackson will be accurate whatsoever ever. Most Wyomingites have a silent agreement that we all keep our distance from Jackson seeing as it's more of a tourist trap than a proper representation of what Wyoming is really about. However, if you want to possibly run into any a-listers Jackson is where you're going to find them.
#5 Wyoming Has Anything and Everything
Obviously you know that we have the Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Devils Tower, Cheyenne Frontier Days, and so much more, but something else you need to understand is that Wyoming is more than our attractions. We have mountains, valleys, grasslands, wetlands, hills, sand dunes, and more. If you ask a local why we live here you'll probably hear about the air quality, safety, beautiful sunsets, and Chick-fil-a. We Wyomingites are proud of where we come from and what it means to live in the Equality State. And before you ask, no we don't all praise Buffalo Bill, no further questions.
#4 Our weather has a mind of its own
You could check the forecast before your trip but you should know that a majority of the time the weather is pretty unpredictable. Just take note that you're probably not safe from snow until July so be sure to pack plenty of layers! Before doing any in-state traveling be sure to check out the Wyoming Department of Transportation website (wydot.com)
#3 Wyoming is more than CFD and Yellowstone
Wyoming is well known for our national parks and Cheyenne Frontier Days, but there's so much more than that. In the state of Wyoming there are dozens of canyons/ gorges, rivers, lakes, and mountains to climb. Not to mention the hot springs you can go swim in, State Parks you can camp in, festivals every weekend down at the train depot plaza in Cheyenne, and the concerts up in Casper. There are plenty of activities to keep you busy all year round, you just have to go our and find them!
#2 Wyoming isn't for everybody
If you can deal with the long and har winters, heavy wind, and all the rural areas, Wyoming might be for you, but if not that's fine too. Wyomingites are built strong, like go to work on time in whiteout conditions strong. We don't mind a little cold and we're used to the wind at this point. If we want a little socializing we have plenty of places to go but we only stay for a short visit. We know how to work with our hands and we're definitely not afraid to get a little dirty, it's not for everyone.
#1 You'll meet a lot of interesting people
Here in Wyoming you'll meet a lot of different people passionate about different things. There are rail road enthusiasts, Military members, photography enthusiasts, hippies, cowboys, graphic novel lovers, culinary artists, etc. While you visit Wyoming try to talk to a few different people about where they're from, what brought them here. Wyoming isn't just about the beautiful landscapes and the unique parks it's about the people that make Wyoming home.