Wyoming has some of the most iconic Wild West landscapes in the United States, thanks to the combination of mountains, red rock canyons, and forests. Whether you’re looking for scenic drives in Wyoming to bring you to Yellowstone National Park, or simply in search of an off-the-beaten-path drive to explore the wilderness, then read on.
Our guide to the best scenic byways in Wyoming will give you the details about some of the top drives in Cowboy State!
A lot of the roads in Wyoming we cover in this guide could be entire vacations in themselves, thanks to all the opportunities for camping, hiking, fishing, or skiing.
However, it’s also easy to turn many of them into shorter trips that could be done in the afternoon, making it possible to plan your time based on what you hope to see and do during your road trip.
1. Wyoming Scenic Drives: Beartooth Scenic Byway
- Distance: 68 miles
- Time needed: 2-6 hours
This drive is top of the list for scenic byways in Wyoming because it’s one of the best ways to reach Yellowstone National Park. The route actually crosses back and forth between Montana and Wyoming, but for any traveler trying to find the best drive to Yellowstone, you’ll definitely want to consider Beartooth.
You’ll climb over 5,000 feet in the short 68 miles of the drive and pass 20 mountains which are over 12,000 feet. There are several pull-off points, such as the Vista Point Rest Area, where you can park your car to get photos and appreciate the mountain scenery.
The drive officially begins in Red Lodge, Montana, then crosses south into Wyoming before heading west to Yellowstone. Beartooth Scenic Byway gets its name from one of the iconic peaks you’ll spot on this drive. The almost perfect pyramid looks more like a “bear tooth” than a mountain.
Another popular stop is at the Top of the World Store, which is about halfway through the drive. It’s a great place to pick up ice cream or a souvenir while enjoying the view from 9,396 feet.
When to go: This Wyoming scenic drive is only open seasonally, typically between Memorial Day and Labor Day, as long as the weather permits. Late spring or early fall are often good times since the weather is pleasant, and you can still skip the crowds of summer tourists.
2. Wyoming Scenic Drives: Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway
- Distance: 55 miles
- Time needed: 2-6 hours
Another of the best scenic drives in Wyoming to reach Yellowstone, the Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway connects Cody, Wyoming, to the East Entrance of Yellowstone.
Along the way, the road travels through parts of the Wapiti Valley and has excellent views of the Shoshone River.
Not long after you leave the city of Cody, you’ll come across the historic Buffalo Bill Dam, originally constructed in 1910. It’s worth stopping to view this dam to get some dizzying views of the canyon.
If you have time to spare and aren’t in a rush to reach Yellowstone, you can also stop at Buffalo Bill State Park. The primary attraction of the park is the reservoir formed by the Buffalo Bill Dam, and it’s become one of the most popular places in Wyoming for water sports of all types.
In the Wapiti Valley section of the drive, be prepared to see some fascinating geologic formations like rock towers that look like they could have been carved by humans. The area is also known for outdoor activities like hiking, river rafting, and fishing.
When to go: This drive is open year-round, but keep in mind that many of the lodging options including those in Yellowstone will be closed during the winter.
3. Wyoming Scenic Drives: Cloud Peak Skyway
- Distance: 64 miles
- Time needed: 2-6 hours
As the name might suggest, Cloud Peak Skyway offers some of the most breathtaking mountain vistas you could hope for in Wyoming! The drive connects the small cities of Buffalo and Worland, and it passes through some charming historic towns like Ten Sleep.
This is one of the lesser traveled scenic drives in Wyoming, but it certainly isn’t at a shortage of natural beauty. You’ll go through parts of Bighorn National Forest, Ten Sleep Canyon, and the Cloud Peak Wilderness which the drive was named after.
The landscape along this Wyoming scenic byway is very diverse.
Enjoy views of picturesque ranches which characterize the West, then rise in elevation to pass along the sides of mountain canyons and through forests.
There are plenty of turn-off spots where you can park your car, get some photos of the mountain vistas, or stop for a picnic lunch.
When to go: Summer is usually the best time of year for this drive since, during winter, the roads can get a bit slippery and difficult to navigate.
4. Wyoming Scenic Drives: Wyoming Centennial Scenic Byway
- Distance: 163 miles
- Time needed: 4 hours to multiple days, depending on stops
This is one of the roads in Wyoming which connects many of the top attractions of the state, making it a popular road-tripping route for many western-bound travelers.
The start and end points of this drive are Pinedale and Dubois, and it’s open year-round, although during the winter you’ll want to check the road conditions of the mountain passes before starting.
Pinedale is the southern point of the drive, and from there, you’ll head north through the Wind River Range of mountains. This is a great spot to go hiking and exploring without the crowds, you’ll find in the more frequented National Parks.
From here, the drive passes through parts of the Bridger-Teton National Forest to reach Jackson, Wyoming, which is one of the most popular skiing destinations in the United States. It’s worth spending at least an afternoon, if not a few days, in Jackson to explore the city and stunning mountains surrounding it.
Jackson is also a good home base for exploring Grand Teton National Park, or you can camp within the park itself if you’re interested in more outdoor adventure.
From Grand Teton National Park, you can leave the byway and continue north to Yellowstone or complete the loop and head east to reach the charming historic town of Dubois.
When to go: This Wyoming scenic drive is open year-round; summer is better if you’re interested in hiking, or if you’re traveling to Jackson for skiing, then winter is perfect.
5. Wyoming Scenic Drives: Red Gulch/Alkali Backcountry Byway
- Distance: 32 miles
- Time needed: 1-3 hours
Adventurers in search of scenic drives in Wyoming to explore off the beaten path will love the Red Gulch/Alkali Backcountry Byway. The gravel and dirt roads of this drive traverse the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains for some epic wild west scenery.
One of the characteristic sights along this drive is the hoodoos, which are strange geologic rock formations that have been created by wind erosion. These rock pillars are the perfect spots to get photos of your Wyoming road trip!
Although this is one of the Wyoming scenic byways which already takes you far from civilization, the drive also has plenty of opportunities for even more adventures on one of the hiking trails.
The Red Gulch/Alkali route crosses through three areas that are designed as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System: Alkali Creek, Medicine Lodge Canyon, and Trapper Creek. Keep in mind that some of these areas are very difficult to reach, so they’re best for seasoned hikers.
When to go: This drive is only open seasonally, usually between May and October, depending on the weather.
Where to Next? More Scenic Drives in Western USA
If you’d like to continue exploring the scenic beauty of the Rockies and the West, next up why not check out:
- Our epic driving itinerary from Seattle to Yellowstone
- Every essential stop you need on a Salt Lake City to Yellowstone driving itinerary
- Continue your scenic driving journey through Montana
- The 5 Most Beautiful Scenic Drives in Idaho
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