CARBON COUNTY, WYOMING ITINERARY AT A GLANCE
Carbon County sits in a picturesque area between the Snowy Range and the Sierra Madre Mountain Ranges. It lies in breathtaking natural beauty and has many outdoor activities year-round. Carbon County is perfect for unlimited adventures and exploring, from visiting the home of a renowned Western writer to relaxing in the therapeutic healing waters of Saratoga Hot Springs.
Enjoy These Great Carbon County, Wyoming Attractions and More:
The Historic Virginian Hotel
Elk Mountain Museum
Wyoming Frontier Prison
CARBON COUNTY, WYOMING DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY
Get your Carbon County adventure started right with a visit to Medicine Bow. Founded in 1868 by the Union Pacific Railroad as a watering station, Medicine Bow is home to the Medicine Bow Museum and the Owen Wister Cabin. The latter is the summer home of Owen Wister, author of The Virginian, and a significant inspiration for the town. The museum features many fun and exciting things about this iconic author and his time in Medicine Bow.
Completed in 1911, The Historic Virginian Hotel was the largest hotel between Denver and Salt Lake City back in its heyday. The Old Western hospitality remains the same, and the hotel is registered as a National Historic Landmark. Enjoy a hearty lunch at the hotel’s Eating House and Saloon, walk around the hotel, and take in all the history each room holds. Depart for the 35-mile drive to Elk Mountain.
At the base of one of Carbon County’s most impressive natural landmarks, Elk Mountain, sits the gorgeous little town of Elk Mountain. This quaint town features a beautiful museum, an iconic historical hotel, and a llama ranch. The Elk Mountain Museum holds many stories from the Elk Mountain Valley within its walls. The iconic Historic Elk Mountain Hotel sits back in a Cottonwood-covered area of Elk Mountain; this beautiful hotel has an excellent menu and rooms named after some of the area’s most notable characters. Take time to tour the Elk Mountain Llama Trekking and learn more about what these amazing animals do and how they can be rented out.
After leaving Elk Mountain, arrive in Saratoga and drop your bags off at the Saratoga Hot Springs Resort before heading out to experience this fabulous town. Walk along Bridge Street, the town’s thriving downtown, and shop for unique Wyoming and Saratoga-made goods. Enjoy a Saratoga-brewed cold one with your dinner at The Snowy Mountain Pub & Brewery, conveniently located within the Saratoga Hot Springs Resort. End the night with a relaxing soak in one of the on-site teepee-covered hot pools or the 70-foot-long swimming hot pool under the stars.
Located across the road from the Shively Airfield, the Saratoga Museum exhibits present an extensive history of the Platte Valley. Several hands-on displays, an expansive gem and mineral display, and the local history exhibits make the museum a worthwhile stop. Lunch today is at the Wolf Hotel dining room in downtown Saratoga. This historic hotel became an icon for Joe Pickett fans because C.J. Box, the author of the Joe Pickett series, featured the hotel in one of his New York Times Bestsellers. Joe Pickett even has a room named after him, room number 9.
After a long day of exploring, visit The Malt in Saratoga, a quick-serve burger bar; their delicious boozy milkshakes and wall of over 200 whiskeys from around the world make this restaurant tastebud-pleasing and Instagram-worthy! The Malt has a full bar featuring old-fashioned drinks and special whiskey flights. Stay the night again at the Saratoga Hot Springs Resort.
Breakfast and checkout, then head for the Encampment River Valley, 20 miles south of Saratoga. Here you will discover Riverside and Encampment in the beautiful foothills of the Sierra Madre mountains. The Grand Encampment Museum is southern Wyoming’s GEM due to its extensive grounds, countless artifacts depicting valley life, and the Western storefront replicas. After visiting the museum, head up to Rawlins, and along the way, just north of Saratoga, you can stop and stretch your legs at the Overland Trail marker.
Thirty-eight miles north is Rawlins; here you will have lunch at Buck’s Sports Grill, where you will find a menu bigger than you and a vast array of options featuring the burgers, sandwiches, and salads you’d expect at a good diner. Following lunch, visit the Carbon County Museum, which preserves, through 30,000 artifacts, the rich history and heritage of the Carbon County communities. The next stop is Wyoming Frontier Prison, Wyoming’s first state prison that operated from 1901-1981 and housed prisoners until the new state prison was built south of town. Guided tours are available, but you cannot leave any of your fellow tour passengers behind bars.
Leave Carbon County having learned much about the area’s history and heritage, or overnight in Rawlins at one of the group-friendly hotels before departing for other communities in the county. If you plan to stay overnight, the Aspen House Restaurant is a must for dinner.
Carbon County Wyoming still has plenty more for travel groups to experience, so be sure to Subscribe to Leisure Group Travel for FREE and get even more travel ideas and tips
Carbon County Visitors Council
Leslie Jefferson, CEO
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