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Casper - Wyoming

A plains community, Casper is the second-largest city in Wyoming. Its growth paralleled the development of oil fields in the area following the discovery of oil in 1888, and is now the hub of the oil and gas industry in the Rocky Mountain region. Casper is still the hub of the oil and gas industry in Wyoming, but it has also become the state center for shopping, medical care, entertainment and meetings.

The city is near the site of Old Fort Caspar, and is located on the banks of the North Platte River. The city is named (after a spelling change) for Lieutenant Caspar Collins, an army officer from Ohio who died along with most of his volunteer soldiers trying to relieve another cavalry detachment in the face of a hostile group of more than two thousand Indians.

While Casper is not on any of the scenic mountain drives (and is many miles east of the Rockies) it makes a handy place to stay before driving through the Wind River Range to Grand Teton National Park. Buffalo and Sheridan are to the north. Both are great starting points for scenic drives leading west into the Rockies and eventually to Yellowstone.

What to See & Do

Casper Mountain rises 3000 feet above the city, providing year round recreation. From Look Out Point, half way up the mountain, you can see 60 miles north to the Big Horn Mountain Range, and in the valley below you can see the tricky terrain covered by the pioneers on the Oregon, California and Mormon Trials that followed the North Platte River into this area.

A particularly scenic day trip from Casper leads south along Highway 220 to Alcova Lake. This area which was once an Indian campground is now a state recreation area with a dam widening the North Platte River in Fremont Canyon. There is camping here along with water sports. The marina has boat rentals, a restaurant and store. Gray Reef Reservoir, 28 miles west of the city on Highway 220, also has a campground with good fishing and boating.

Continue on Hwy. 220 for another six miles and you'll find the Pathfinder Reservoir with tent and trailer sites and a marina with food and docking. 50 miles along Hwy 220 is Independence Rock, a state historic landmark on which are carved more than 5,000 names of early emigrants traveling along the Oregon Trail to the Salt Lake Valley and California. The Rock was named by a party of trappers during a celebration on July 4, 1830.

Eight miles further and you come to Devil's Gate and the Mormon Handcart Visitor Center. The Center tells the story of two handcart companies stranded nearby in blizzards in 1856. Many lost their lives before help arrived.

Sand Creek Ranch is a guest ranch operation, about 70 miles south of Casper on Highway 220. The ranch lies at the foot of the Seminole and Pedro mountains and is next to the Pathfinder Reservoir. Three cabins accommodate a total of 18 people. The ranch offers trail rides, mountain photographic junkets and big game hunting. This is also a working cattle ranch.

Where to Eat

For family dining, Armor's should fill the bill. At 3422 South Energy Lane (on State Highway 220, 3.5 miles south of the Poplar St. exit of I-25) Armor's serves continental and American cuisine and has a children's menu. There is also a lounge available.

Poor Boys Steakhouse located in the Parkway Plaza Hotel and Convention Centre, 125 West "E", serves up great beef entrees in friendly surroundings. A monthly special varies from seafood to other meats. All That Jazz lounge is adjacent to the restaurant.

El Jarro is a family-owned Mexican restaurant with food and cocktails at 500 West F Avenue. Botticelli Italiano Ristorante, 129 W. Second St. offers casual dining in a courtyard setting with pasta the specialty.

 

Wyoming Destinations

Buffalo

Casper

Cheyenne

Cody

Dubois

Evanston

Grand Teton National Park

Green River

Jackson

Laramie

Riverton

Sheridan

Thermopolis

Yellowstone National Park


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