With its ranches, lively rodeo scene and wide open panoramas, Wyoming is the stuff that cowboy fantasies are made of. There are many reasons to search for cheap flights to Wyoming. In the northwest are the legendary geysers and grizzly bears of Yellowstone Park. The park boasts beautiful lakes, rivers and waterfalls. Here, too, is the awe-inspiring Grand Teton National Park, where the jagged granite peaks of the 64-km long Teton Range soar above still, glacial lakes. Sandwiched between the Tetons and the Gros Ventre Range, Jackson Hole valley is one of the finest ski resorts in the US. Although it’s primarily a winter destination, horseriding, mountain biking, rafting and hiking keep tourists occupied in summer.
East of Yellowstone is the lively town of Cody, with its wealth of Wild West-themed attractions and rodeo. Beyond are the wildflower meadows and scenic peaks of the Bighorn Mountains and, further east, the monolithic Devils Tower National Monument.
South Wyoming’s attractions, meanwhile, include Laramie, home to the University of Wyoming and the state’s acknowledged cultural hub. West of the city, the Medicine Bow Mountains offer a lovely setting for hikes, camping and wildlife watching.
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The second-highest US state, Wyoming is dry with a cool climate. Summer temperatures rarely exceed 37 degrees (Celsius) with nights in the single digits (it can snow in the mountains in summer). Away from the mountains July ranges from about 26 to 32 degrees. Spring is mild, and autumn cool with occasional snow. Winter brings bitter winds, below-zero temperatures, and powdery snow to the mountains.Annual precipitation ranges from less than 25cm (10 inches) to 152cm (60 inches) in the higher elevations.
Summer is the peak season and when most visitors step off their Wyoming flights. Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park are packed. The ten-day Cheyenne Frontier Days start in late July. Laramie draws crowds for the University of Wyoming graduation in mid-May, July 4, Cheyenne Frontier Days, and University of Wyoming football weekends. Reservations need to be made early during summer visits.
Winter draws the skiers and snow-sport enthusiasts from December to March.
Yellowstone has only a few roads open mid-December through February. Grand Teton National Park closes several entrances from November to May. However, the snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are excellent.
Cheyenne’s rates drop in winter. Jackson Hole’s rates drop from October to the first big snowfall and again from April until Memorial Day (May).
With no train service, few in-state flights, and limited bus service, you need a car in Wyoming. The main roads are well-maintained. However, keep in mind that you need to rent according to when and where you will be driving. If you are going off the beaten track or off road, get a four-wheel drive vehicle.
Wyoming’s speed limits are liberal, but they are strictly enforced. Winter driving requires extra considerations. Not only can you encounter whiteouts, roads become slippery and icy, and tow trucks are rare outside the towns. Take a flashlight, warm clothes, sleeping bag, and safety gear in case you get stuck or snowed in by a blizzard.
The exception for needing a car is the ski resorts. The START buses run between Jackson and the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, making more than 40 stops along the way. Similarly, the Targhee Express runs between Jackson and the Grand Targhee Ski and Summer Resort.
Driving in Yellowstone is so popular that you can get caught in a traffic jam in summer. A great place for bicycling, you can bike the public roads and a few service roads (but not back country trails) from April to October.
(prices quotes are from London)