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<strong>Things to Do in Casper, Wyoming: Outdoor Edition&nbsp;</strong>

by Kelsey FreyAug 23, 2022
<strong>Things to Do in Casper, Wyoming: Outdoor Edition&nbsp;</strong>

Casper, Wyoming, is an outdoor mecca. Nicknamed “Wyoming’s Adventure Capital,” Casper won’t disappoint if you love getting outside for any variety of activities. Though it might be a smaller city—as of summer 2021, Casper’s population was almost 60,000 people—that doesn’t mean it’s boring!

Want to go mountain biking? There are numerous single-track, fat bike, and even concrete paths to ride. Craving a hike? Casper Mountain alone offers 50 miles of trails, in addition to a plethora of pathways throughout the city. And if you’re into fishing? Yep, Casper’s got you covered there too. The North Platte River runs across Casper, chock-full of 3,000 to 5,000 fish per mile.

Whatever outdoor activities you’re into, there are plenty of adventurous things to do in Casper, Wyoming. Get a head start on your itinerary with the ideas below.

1. Hiking in Casper Mountain

First on the list of things to do in Casper, Wyoming, is appropriately Casper Mountain. Casper Mountain has plenty of hiking trails. For an easy stroll, try the 0.5-mile Braille Trail that runs through the forest. This trail is special—it features braille signage and level, wide trails with rope handrails, making it more accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired.

For another easy hike with a big reward, check out Garden Creek Falls at the base of Casper Mountain. The cascading falls are gorgeous, and the walk from the Rotary Park parking lot to the falls only takes a few minutes. Amble further up to the viewing platforms for—what else—breathtaking views. And I really mean breathtaking. While the trails to the platforms are short, they are straight uphill, so I had to stop and catch my breath once. Okay, maybe more like three times….

Garden Creek Falls at the base of Casper Mountain in Casper, Wyoming

At the bottom of the falls, you can join the 4.5-mile Bridle Trail to hike to Split Rock for some seriously gorgeous scenery. This well-maintained trail provides amazing views of the city.

Bridle Trail, one of the many things to do in Casper, Wyoming

There are countless other pathways on Casper Mountain. The whole area is gorgeous, so you can’t really go wrong no matter which trail you choose.

2. Bike on Platte River Parkway

This paved bike path follows the North Platte River for 11 miles. Because it’s literally right next to the river, you can pull over and admire the view anytime.

Of course, you can also do other activities on the paved path. Rollerblading, roller skating, and skateboarding are acceptable too.

3. Float the North Platte River

Floating is always a fun thing to do in Casper, Wyoming—well, anywhere, really—and the North Platte River is the perfect place to do so. I was bummed I didn’t get to do this in Casper, but I guess that just means I’ll have to go back.

The Casper Fire Department even provides free life vests. The water can run pretty fast, so make sure it’s safe before you venture in. Being safe is cool.

If floating isn’t your thing, don’t fret. You can also go kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding on the river. The world, I mean river, is your oyster!

4. Go Fly Fishing

Oh, where do I even start with this one? Casper’s North Platte River is a dream destination for fly fishing enthusiasts, with blue-ribbon fishing right in the middle of the city. If you venture a little further out, the sections Grey Reef and the Miracle Mile are two of the most famous locations for fly fishing in Casper. You’ll find some of the biggest trout in the West in these areas, and the gorgeous backdrop of towering mountains, lush grasses, and tall trees doesn’t hurt either. In 2005, American Angler Magazine even named the Grey Reef portion of the North Platte River the ​​”#1 Big Fish Destination” in the contiguous United States (every state excluding Alaska and Hawaii).

You can fish in the North Platte River year-round (although parts of it may freeze in January and February), but the best months are from July to October. The fish will be most active then. It’s important to note that the North Platte River runs through both public and private land—and in Wyoming, the landowner has rights to the bottom of the riverbed. Make sure you’re only wading and fishing in public areas. There are only a few public access points along Grey Reef, so you may need to book a tour. But with the average length of fish at 19 inches, it’s well worth it! The Miracle Mile actually stretches for seven miles and is the longest section of public water on the river.

Fremont Canyon is another great spot for fishing. The water is much slower than on the North Platte River, but the fish are still quite big.

5. Try Mountain Biking

Casper Mountain’s many biking trails make the city a great destination for adventurers. If you bring or rent a fat bike, you can even ride trails in the snow.

Popular routes include Muddy Mountain Trail, Crossroads Park Trail, and Eadsville Trail. Each one offers something different. Muddy Mountain Trail guides riders through forests full of color in the fall. This trail is great for beginners, and although it’s unmarked, you can find it at the green gate just after the Rim Campground.

You can find the Crossroads Park Trail right in town, and it’s described as “flowy, fast, and smooth.” This single-track dirt trail is best for both beginners and intermediate riders, and allows you to take in the scenery on North Platte River. New bikers can take it slow, while more advanced bikers can try some of the small jumps along the route.

Eadsville Trail is a dirt single-track that’s best for intermediate-level bikers. The trail is full of fun features, like rock gardens and tight trees. Many trails intersect with Eadsville, so you can try something new each time you ride.

6. Explore Fremont Canyon

Rocky cliffs rise up on either side of Fremont Canyon, overlooking the North Platte River that flows below. You can go fishing, rock climbing, hiking, and mountain biking. Take in views of Goose Egg Formation, a geologic formation with preserved fossils.

7. See Wildlife 

It’s almost impossible to skip this one on the list of things to do in Casper, Wyoming. The city is full of wildlife. I was most excited to see pronghorn antelope, and I spotted herds of them on the side of the highway, along the roadside, and hopping through fields near town. They were everywhere, surprisingly. For some reason I’d expected them to be pretty elusive, but it was the complete opposite. And this actually makes sense—there are more pronghorn than people in Wyoming! And what’s so exciting about them? They’re North America’s fastest land mammal, with the ability to run 60 miles per hour.

You can also find deer and coyotes. You’ll find both mule deer and white-tailed deer in the area. Mule deer remind me of Disney animals with their large ears. White-tailed deer have a white patch under their tails, but are brown on top. While you might expect white-tailed deer to have this feature, it’s actually mule deer that have more white on their, well … backsides. You might even see, or hear, coyotes. You may hear them howling in the evening, or spot their bushy tails on trails. If you’re lucky, you’ll see foxes, black bears, or eagles around the Casper Mountain area.

8. Check Out Gravity Hill

Among the many things to do in Casper, Wyoming, Gravity Hill should make your list as it’s one of the “7 Wonders of Casper.” According to local lore, your car will actually roll uphill by itself on Gravity Hill. While I was originally skeptical, I tried it—and it really did! I may or may not have squealed in delight. Okay, okay, I definitely did. But how could you not? According to Visit Casper, it just might be due to “Casper Mountain Magic.”

Getting to this magical place is easy. Drive Casper Mountain Road in the direction of Garden Creek Falls. Soon after you turn onto Garden Creek Road, you’ll see a large tree on your left. Stop your car, put it in neutral, and you’ll slowly (but surely) begin to roll up the hill. It’s wild, I tell you.

9. Make It to Lookout Point

View of rolling hills and horizon from Lookout Point in Casper, Wyoming

Lookout Point is about halfway up Casper Mountain and gives a bird’s eye view of the city and surrounding scenery. It’s beautiful at any time of day, or night. If you visit after dark, you’ll be dazzled by the city’s twinkling lights.

To get there, just plug in “Casper Mountain Lookout” into your GPS. There’s a large pullout for parking. Easy peasy.

Where to Stay

Platte River RV Park is located in Glenrock, Wyoming, about 25 minutes east of Casper. The campsites are set up next to the North Platte River, and they offer a peaceful respite from the city. Listening to the flowing water coupled with chirping birds and peeping frogs was the perfect way to relax after a long day of exploring.

I camped for one night by myself, and felt both safe and stress-free (especially important as a solo female traveler). The perfect combination, in my opinion.

When to Go

The weather in Casper varies since it experiences all four seasons. Winters can be long. Keep that in mind when you’re planning your trip. Just because it’s June doesn’t mean it’ll be hot. 

However, winter offers fun things to do in Casper, Wyoming, too. Casper Mountain turns into a ski hill, and you can also go snowshoeing, cross country skiing, ice skating, trekking to the frozen Garden Creek Falls, and more. Sled dog races even take place at Beartrap Meadow. However, if winter driving makes you nervous (slowly raises hand) or you’re not a fan of snow, you might want to visit in late spring, summer, or fall instead.

If you can’t already tell, there’s no shortage of things to do in Casper, Wyoming, during the summertime. Some might even argue that there’s too much to do—oh well, you might just have to extend your trip!

Kelsey Frey is a freelance writer and full-time traveler usually found exploring the mountains somewhere in Europe or the USA. She’s always looking for a trail to hike or lake to jump into. If you’re curious about an honest account of life without a permanent address, you can follow her on Instagram @sightsbetterseen or pop over to her travel blog at Sights Better Seen to read more about her (mis)adventures.

Image credit: Kelsey Frey