This post was created in partnership with Travel Wyoming, though all experiences are my own.
Are you looking for a beautiful road trip in Wyoming? This 5 day road trip itinerary is perfect for outdoor adventurers, foodies, and those that want to relax… or all 3. From breweries and hot springs to museums and hiking trails, there's a lot to explore in Southeastern Wyoming. So put on your cowboy boots and get ready for some fun!
Let me guess. You've been to Yellowstone National Park, explored the towns of Jackson and Cody, now it's time to take in a different side of Wyoming. From Cheyenne to Laramie, the Snowy Mountain Range to Saratoga, this guide gives you all you need!
There's so much more to Wyoming than a few highlights. Whether you want to add these on to your trip or you want to take a standalone trip to these locations, this guide includes all the must-see spots and hidden gems in Southeastern Wyoming.
Here's my southeastern Wyoming itinerary complete with where to stay, eat, and explore in “The Cowboy State.”
Quick itinerary overview
Fly in to Denver and drive 2 hours to Laramie
Visit the town of Laramie
Stay at the Holiday Inn Laramie
Sweet Melissa Cafe for Dinner
Front Street Tavern for Cocktails
Breakfast at J's Prairie Rose Diner
Explore Laramie's Downtown murals and art
Guided tour of Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site
Snack at Sugar Mouse Cupcake House
Head to Medicine Bow National Forest for scenic overlooks and hiking
Stay the night in Saratoga at the Saratoga Hot Springs Resort
Dinner at Bella's Bistro in Saratoga and soak in a Teepee covered hot spring!
Breakfast at Saratoga Sandwich Company
UTV tour of Medicine Bow National Forest and Kennaday Peak
Lunch at Snowy Mountain Pub & Biergarten
Explore Downtown Saratoga and go shopping
Dinner Night cap at Hotel Wolf
Head to Cheyenne and stop at the Vedauwoo National recreation area for cool rock formations and hike
Explore downtown Cheyenne
Lunch at the Metropolitan
Shop at the Wrangler Western Wear for cowboy classic gear
Take the Bison Train tour at Terry Bison Ranch
Stay at Little America
Eat at Sanford's Grub & Pub for dinner
Catch live music or a show in downtown Cheyenne
Day 1 Laramie
Start your day by flying into Denver, and I recommend renting a car. There are some amazing drives in Wyoming and especially through the Medicine Bow National forest we'll explore later!
Home to the only university in Wyoming, Laramie feels like a small town but it offers visitors so much to see and do. Just two hours from Denver airport, you can easily get away from the hustle and bustle of the Denver metropolis.
Laramie's downtown is a charming place with plenty of restaurants, shops and activities to enjoy. Once known as a “hell-on-wheels” town, Laramie is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
We headed downtown for a delicious dinner at Sweet Melissa. For the past 20 years, they've been the only restaurant in Wyoming that can provide a 100% vegan cuisine, with a full menu of vegan and gluten-sensitive selections. They also have vegetarian cuisine! But it's great whether you're a vegan or not!
End the night with a night cap at Front Street Tavern conveniently located next door to Sweet Melissa. There's a plethora of inventive and seasonal cocktails that will be sure to please your palette!
Stay: I recommend staying at the Holiday Inn Laramie. With ample parking, fast Wifi, and easy access to downtown, this is an easy spot.
Day 2 Laramie and Saratoga
Start your day at my new favorite breakfast spot, J's Prairie Rose. We saddled up to the counter and watched as locals chatted, read the paper, and sipped coffee over steaming hot plates of menu favorites. The food was delicious but the atmosphere was even better. Make sure to order a warm cinnamon roll!
If it's just too busy, head to Turtle Rock Coffee & Cafe– also a super cute spot!
Take some time to stroll around and enjoy the murals downtown that are part of the Laramie Mural Project which invites local artists to create huge canvas murals that capture the culture and history of the community. With over 20 murals, it's a great depiction of the town, Wyoming, and what they stand for. There's a mural tour by car here or you can find the entire mural map here.
Next, take a guided tour of the Wyoming Territorial Prison. Fun fact, Wyoming allows each city to have only one state institution. So, the town of Laramie chose to have the University, which is why the prison is now a museum. The stories here were incredible, but most notably, Butch Cassidy was imprisoned here!
The tour takes about an hour and a half and teaches how the prison operated along with some of their most infamous prisoners. I also learned that the most trusted inmates worked in the kitchen due to their contact with knives. And that's where we get the word “trustees” from!
Our last stop in Laramie is the cutest: a cupcake and tea at The Sugar Mouse. This is the cutest place! A decorated pink and white interior with plush velvet seating, this is the most Instagrammable spot for tea and gourmet cupcakes. They also have a full English tea shop with scones, sausage rolls, and stews! It's Alice in Wonderland meets pink.
Now, head into the mountains of Wyoming. The Snowy Range Mountains & Medicine Bow National Forest is absolutely gorgeous – my favorite stop on our trip. But the best part? It's not at all crowded! Stroll along lush alpine lakes, drive the scenic byways, and wind your way through meadows and epic views. Watch out for wildlife!!
On our hike we saw multiple majestic moose. I've never seen them before in the wild so this was quite a treat. Just don't approach them or spook them. For the safety of wildlife and visitors, make sure keep your distance from all animals, not just those that seem scary to you. It’s recommended to stay at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves and at least 25 yards away from all other wildlife. You can check out all the hikes in the area right here.
After our day hiking, we headed to Saratoga and soaked in the teepee covered hot springs! The mineral springs at the Saratoga Hot Springs Resort have been revered by many people for their naturally therapeutic properties since they were discovered. We relaxed in teepee-covered hot pools and the 70-foot-long mineral hot springs pool, which are chock full of minerals and low in sulfur.
We then ate a fabulous and authentic Italian meal at Bella's Bistro. They had a terrific wine selection and delicious, flavorful pasta.
Stay: We stayed at the Saratoga Hot Springs Resort so we could easily access the hot springs at any time! This rustic resort has plenty of wood details, a cozy fireplace in the lobby and easy access to downtown.
Day 3: Saratoga
After a restful night's sleep, we had breakfast at Saratoga Sandwich Company. With lots of hearty breakfast sandwiches, smoothies and coffee, it's the perfect way to start the day.
Next, it was time for an adventure! We rented UTV's and took a self-guided tour through the Medicine Bow National Forest and to Kennaday Peak. The scenery was stunning and the weather was beautiful.
Michael and I switched off driving and dashed through the pathway in the forest spotting wildlife and taking photos of the scenic overlooks. We've done some off-roading in our Jeep, but having the UTV made the experience all the more enjoyable. The UTV rental is conveniently located across the street from the resort so it was super easy to pick up and drop off.
We had a lovely outdoor lunch at the resort's Snowy Mountain Pub and Biergarten. Michael highly recommends the chicken wings. The outdoor seating area is spacious with craft beers on tap.
After lunch we explored the western shops of Historic Downtown Saratoga. Old Quarry Collective is the perfect place to pick up a new pair of boots or cowboy hat. Or if you're interested in art, check out the Laura M Gallery.
For dinner or drinks, head to the historic Wolf Hotel for an authentic saloon feel complete with the swinging doors and sarsaparilla! We definitely stopped here for a photo op!
Before bed we took another soak and gazed at the stars in the hot springs.
Day 4 Cheyenne
We headed to our next stop – Cheyenne! But before we head to town we'll take a stop to hike at the Vedauwoo National Recreation Area. This is the perfect place to take a hike and watch climbers attempt the gravity-defying rock formations!
The Arapaho tribe knew Vedauwoo as “Land of the Earthborn Spirit,” which is appropriate given its otherworldly feel. The protruding Sherman granite was shaped by millions of years of icy, windy and wet weather.
On our Turtle Rock hike we were lucky enough to see another moose with her calf!
Next, we headed into Cheynne and had lunch downtown at the super swanky and delicious Metropolitan. Hands down, the BEST crispy brussel sprouts I've EVER had. I could have dined on that the rest of the trip! The restaurant is gorgeous and elevated casual while still comfortable.
We walked around downtown Cheyenne and tried on cowboy boots and leather bags. Make sure to stop in The Wrangler Western Wear, a three story brick building that boasts a retail outlet since 1892!
Check out Cheyenne Union Pacific Railroad Depot Museum located next to the still active tracks of the Union Pacific. This is America’s last remaining grand station on the transcontinental railroad and is in the heart of Cheyenne’s central business district. You can follow the story of the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, the Union Pacific Depot and the railroad it is named after.
If you have extra time, head to the Wyoming State Museum to get a history of Wyoming in the heart of Cheynne and one block from the State Capitol building.
Next up, we headed to Terry Bison Ranch and rode America’s only private train that travels across state lines ending in the middle of a bison herd on this working ranch. You grab a handful of food and hand-feed it to the bison from the train!
There are a few places that are excellent for dinner such as the casual 2 Doors Down or Sanford's Grub and Pub for a more casual experience. 2 Doors Down offers gourmet burgers and a new burger offering every month. Or if you're in the mood for classic Wyoming, check out Wyoming Rib and Chop House. Or, the Albany feels like an old-timey restaurant with great soups and salads.
End your evening by checking out some live music! We enjoyed Edge Fest– Wyoming's largest FREE music festival! It was incredible. With 3 live performances, including the headliner Tones & I, along with food trucks, and the perfect weather, this was the best way to end the trip. This event happens annually in August!
Stay: There's a wide array of hotels but the best spot is one with a little more local flavor like the Little America Hotel and Resort located on a vast expanse of prairie and decorated in a high western style. It's important to note: they have 75 cent ice cream cones!
On day 5 we made our way back to Denver and headed home after a wonderful exploration through southeastern Wyoming.
So if you're looking for an epic outdoor adventure in Wyoming, look no further! Wyoming is brimming with outdoor adventure and western history, but also is taking hold of modern fun. This trip is the perfect escape!
This post was created in partnership with Travel Wyoming, though all experiences are my own.