Wyoming: A Winter Wonderland
(Sheridan, Wyo) Not everyone loves Wyoming winters, but some Sheridan County residents live here because of the winters. The countryside transforms into a wonderland for skiers, snowshoers, sledders, ice-skaters, snowmobilers, and hot chocolate lovers.
It might not be winter yet, but it is time to start planning for it. Here is County 3’s guide to experiences you don’t want to miss this winter:
Skiing & Snowboarding
The nostalgic old-time Sheridanite will pine for Antelope Butte, which might just get its comeback thanks to the hard work of the Antelope Butte Foundation. Until then, Meadowlark Ski Lodge is the next nearest option, but at least one outing to Red Lodge, Montana is called for annually. The town itself is historic and worth the trip, and Red Lodge Mountain is a beautiful, satisfying downhill ski area for the powder-hound.
Snowboards can be rented at The Sport Stop.
If horizontal trails are more your speed, check out the Sibley Lake and Cutler Hill Nordic Ski Trails. Both are located on Highway 14 outside of Dayton. If you want to bring your dog, Cutler Hill is very dog-friendly, but dogs aren’t allowed on the Sibley Lake trails. For directions, click here.
If you need to rent equipment, Back Country Bike & Mountain Works and The Sport Stop both have cross-country skis and snowshoes.
Wyoming has a lot of great Hot Springs, notably in Saratoga, but the closest to Sheridan County is the one and only Hot Springs State Park in Thermopolis. If you haven’t visited Thermopolis, especially in the winter, write it on the top of your list.
There aren’t any crowds and the water feels so much warmer when you have to walk through snow to get there! Also, during the late fall and winter months, the park bison are fed a daily supplement to insure good health, so you can get a good look at the herd.
If you are willing to travel a little farther, head north to Montana. Yellowstone’s best-kept secret, the Boiling River, is a swimming hole where a large hot spring enters the Gardner River, mixing to make the perfect temperature. This hot spring is only open during daylight hours, and is best during the fall and winter. The spot is approximately 2 miles north of Mammoth Hot Springs.
If you are in the mood for something a little different with a slightly shorter drive, try Chico Hot Springs Resort and Day Spa. Chico was established in 1900 and the original lodge is on the National Historic Register. The large central pool, “The Plunge,” is the main attraction, but the resort also offers lodging, conventions, fine dining, saloon, gift shop, full day spa, natural hot springs pool, hiking, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, river rafting, dog sledding and cross country skiing.
Overall, Wyoming has more than 2,000 miles of groomed and un-groomed snowmobile trails. The legendary Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail system spans from Lander to the Grand Teton National Forest. But, some locals might claim that the best snowmobiling in the world is right here in the Big Horn Mountains. There are one hundred ninety-three miles of trails in the northern Big Horns; with an additional 22 miles of un-groomed trails and thousands of acres of unbroken powder meadows. (Source – Wyo Parks)
Get your permit here.
Rentals are available in Sheridan and at Bear Lodge Resort.
Tomorrow, October 19th, is the last day to register for programs at the M&M Center. Forrest Mars, Jr.’s gift to Sheridan, the ice rink will foster generations of hockey players and figure skaters. Next week, they will be outfitting kids with gear for the season.