50 Interesting & Fun Facts About Wyoming State to Know

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A green field with many horses grazing, with snow-covered mountains in background
Wyoming is a beautiful state with many interesting facts relating to it

When you hear the word "Wyoming," you probably think about cowboys, the Wild West, and Yellowstone. However, since it's one of the least populated states in the country, it's often underappreciated.

From being the first place in the United States to let women vote to being the supposed rodeo capital of the world, there are loads of interesting and fun facts about Wyoming state to discover.

Continue reading for 50 facts about Wyoming you should know. By the time you get to the end, you'll be ready to plan a trip to the Cowboy State!

  • 50 Wyoming facts

50 Wyoming State Facts

  1. Wyoming Fun Facts
    1. It was the 44th state
    2. Old Faithful erupts regularly
    3. Most of Yellowstone National Park is here
    4. Buffalo Bill influenced the territory
    5. President Theodore Roosevelt loved Yellowstone
    6. It's also called the "Cowboy State"
    7. The name means "large plains"
    8. The painter Jackson Pollock was a Wyomingite
    9. Yellowstone was groundbreaking
    10. Bison is a symbol
    11. The North Antelope Rochelle Mine is huge
    12. The Wind River is gusty
    13. There are six state borders
    14. Shoshone National Forest is inside Yellowstone
  2. Interesting Facts About Wyoming
    1. Nellie Tayloe Ross led the state
    2. Fort Laramie was the main outpost
    3. It's the first area in the US where women could vote
    4. Earthquakes formed Grand Teton National Park
    5. The Plains Native American tribes traveled here
    6. It was originally called Wyoming Territory
    7. The Indian paintbrush is edible
    8. Yellowstone Lake is a record-breaker
    9. The state motto is "Equal rights"
    10. One of the tallest cottonwoods was found in Wyoming
    11. Wyoming brothers invented the jackalope
  3. Funny Facts About Wyoming
    1. It's bad if a hat obstructs people
    2. The green hairstreak butterfly signals spring
    3. It's the least populous state
    4. The Sundance Kid borrowed his name from a town in this state
    5. There are only two escalators
    6. The Wyoming Gold Rush brought settlers
    7. Devils Tower National Monument was in a movie
    8. Cheyenne is the rodeo capital
    9. It has one of the oldest fairs
    10. The western meadowlark lives here
  4. Scary Facts About Wyoming
    1. Yellowstone is home to the headless bride ghost of Old Faithful Inn
    2. A lot of outlaws lived in the state
    3. There's a haunted saloon
    4. Wyoming is full of ghost towns
    5. Heart Mountain Interpretive Center is famously haunted
  5. Weird Facts About Wyoming
    1. Almost half the state is federally owned
    2. The drinking age was 19 for a long time
    3. There are islands in Wyoming
    4. The largest swing dance was in Laramie
    5. There's a state code
  6. Cool Facts About Wyoming
    1. There's real gold on the capitol dome
    2. It's one of the largest states
    3. The Black Hills are green in reality
    4. The Oregon Trail passed through the state
    5. John Colter was the first explorer in the territory

Show all

Wyoming Fun Facts

Two bison in grassland with two other bison behind them next to hills with trees
You can find bison in many parts of Wyoming, and they're the state animal

It was the 44th state

The best way to start this list of Wyoming facts about the state is by mentioning when it joined the Union. On July 10, 1890, Wyoming became the 44th state in the USA.

However, the news of its statehood at the time wasn't surprising. There had been talks of giving Wyoming a star on the American flag since the late 1860s.

A geyser erupting next to a forest under a clear blue sky
Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park erupts approximately every 90 minutes

Old Faithful erupts regularly

Old Faithful is one of the most popular attractions in Yellowstone. This natural marvel earned its name in 1870 when explorers noticed that it erupted "faithfully" at regular intervals.

On average, the geyser erupts every 90 minutes, but that can range between 50 and 127 minutes. The eruptions last up to five minutes each, blowing upwards of 8,400 gallons of hot water into the air.

A grassland area next to green trees and a mountain under a blue sky
Most of the renowned Yellowstone National Park is located in Wyoming

Most of Yellowstone National Park is here

Yellowstone National Park is one of the most popular attractions in the country. Not only does it showcase North America's gorgeous natural landscape, but it's also huge.

Most of the park falls within Wyoming's borders, but parts of the park stretch into Montana and Idaho. Altogether, the park covers nearly 3,500 square miles.

Buffalo Bill influenced the territory

Buffalo Bill is a legendary figure of the American west. Since there are so many stories about his escapades, it's easy to overlook that he was a real person.

The gunslinger wasn't just a showman, he was also a businessman. Once he'd earned success, he moved to Wyoming to set up the Shoshone Land and Irrigation Company. His company brought water to over 60,000 acres of the state.

President Theodore Roosevelt loved Yellowstone

Though Ulysses S. Grant signed legislation to protect the Yellowstone territory, Roosevelt is often most associated with the park. In 1903, he spent two weeks there.

To this day, that's the longest visit any president has paid to the national park. As a passionate hunter, he was even given special permission to hunt in the park, though he ultimately declined.

It's also called the "Cowboy State"

If you decide to plan a trip to the area, you'll likely see the nickname for Wyoming. Due to its rich western history, it's become known as the "Cowboy State."

However, that's not the state's only moniker. It's also commonly called "Big Wyoming" and its official nickname is the "Equality State."

The name means "large plains"

The exact origin of the name "Wyoming" is a bit of a mystery, but historians have some pretty good guesses. Most experts agree that it's derived from a Native American word.

Many nomadic tribes would pass through the state and commonly referred to the place as "large plains" or "extensive meadows." These words were likely adapted to form its modern name.

The painter Jackson Pollock was a Wyomingite

Jackson Pollock was one of the most important figures in the abstract art movement. Before he found success from his creations, he was just a humble boy from Cody, Wyoming.

He moved to New York City when he was 18 and remained there until his death. Despite this, he remained close to his western roots. Native American artwork helped inspire some of his earliest work.

A bright blue hot spring with steam coming off of it next to a forest
The stunning Yellowstone National Park was the first ever US National Park

Yellowstone was groundbreaking

In 1872, Yellowstone made history by being named the first national park in the US. Two million acres of land fell within the park's protected territory at the time.

Before becoming a national park, Yellowstone was considered important as it helped provide water to Wyoming's citizens.

One of the facts about Wyoming state is that the bison is the state's official animal
One of many facts about Wyoming state is that bison are the official state animal

Bison is a symbol

Most people who live in the US will never get a chance to see a wild buffalo, also called bison. However, they're native to Wyoming.

They are very abundant in the state and the largest herd has over 500 animals. It's no wonder that, since 1985, the bison has been the official Wyoming state animal.

The North Antelope Rochelle Mine is huge

Spread over 65 miles, the North Antelope Rochelle Mine is one of the largest coal mines in the world. The coal mined here has been carbon-dated to be between 36 and 66 million years old.

Since 1983, it's produced millions of tons of coal every year. Together with 16 other active mines, they produce almost 40% of the nation's coal.

A river with small rocks in the foreground next to a mountain range
The Wind River is scenic to hike past, but the area is known for having strong winds

The Wind River is gusty

The Wind River's name is both metaphorical and quite literal, referring to both the river and the mountain range. If you visit, you'll experience the near-constant strong winds that blow through the area from the Shoshone to the Wind River mountains.

The wind isn't the only special thing about this part of Wyoming. This mountain range has over 40 mountains that top 13,000 feet. Due to their altitude, seven of the Rocky Mountains' largest glaciers are found in the Wind River range.

There are six state borders

As a large landlocked state, Wyoming is bordered by multiple other states. South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Nebraska, Colorado, and Utah all share a border with the state.

Wyoming ranks highly amongst Texas and Missouri for being landlocked. It's also one of five states that don't share a river border.

Grasslands and a river next to trees and snow-capped mountains
The first US National Forest, Shoshone National Forest, is located in Wyoming

Shoshone National Forest is inside Yellowstone

If you're seeking information about Wyoming, you'll be interested to know it's home to the first national forest. The Shoshone National Forest received that title in 1891.

The designation was made fewer than 20 years after Yellowstone was named the first National Park in the country. That fact is even more interesting when you consider that the Shoshone forest is located within Yellowstone's borders.

Interesting Facts About Wyoming

An alpine lake next to trees and a snow-covered mountain that reflects into the water
Grand Teton National Park's landscape was created by earthquakes

Nellie Tayloe Ross led the state

One of the most important Wyoming history facts is that it boasts the first woman governor. Nellie Tayloe Ross led the state from 1925 to 1927.

Ross succeeded her husband in the role after his untimely death in 1924. After her tenure as governor, she went on to direct the US Mint for 20 years.

An old-fashioned building with wooden railings next to a wagon
Fort Laramie was a crucial base in the 1800s and today is a National Historic Site

Fort Laramie was the main outpost

Built in 1834, Fort Laramie was initially used as a trading outpost before being converted into a military base. After the US expanded its territory, Fort Laramie became crucial to maintaining safety and communication with the west.

Though the fort was decommissioned in 1890, its importance was still recognized by the government. It's been on the list of National Historic Places since 1966 and has had thousands of visitors annually ever since.

It's the first area in the US where women could vote

While today it's normal for women in many countries around the globe to participate in elections, that wasn't always the case. Until 1920 it was up to each US state to determine if women could vote.

In 1869, Wyoming made history by being the first place in the US to allow women to vote and hold office. It's no wonder it was also the first state to have a woman governor, as mentioned above.

A snow-capped mountain reflected in a lake next to fall trees
The impressive Grand Teton National Park was formed by tectonic activity

Earthquakes formed Grand Teton National Park

In Teton County, WY, you'll find Grand Teton National Park. Stretching 310,000 acres, the park is a popular recreational attraction for nature lovers.

It's also one of the youngest mountain ranges in the country. The mountain range was formed by a series of earthquakes that occurred 10 million years ago, making them "adolescent" in age.

The Plains Native American tribes traveled here

Many Wyoming facts and history focus on the time before settlers came to the area. Before becoming a US territory, Native American tribes roamed Wyoming.

As a group, these nomadic tribes were known as the "Plains Indians." They followed the bison around the west to survive. Though many tribes traveled through Wyoming, the main three were the Piegan, the Blood, and the Blackfoot.

It was originally called Wyoming Territory

Though it didn't become a state until 1890, Wyoming already belonged to the US. The southern part of the state became US territory in 1846, with the rest of the area following suit shortly after.

Before officially becoming part of the Union, Wyoming was simply known as the Wyoming Territory. US citizens were free to move there, but they didn't have the protections and regulations that came with statehood.

A red Indian paintbrush flower with rocks and other flowers around it
Indian paintbrush is the Wyoming state flower, and it's edible!

The Indian paintbrush is edible

The Wyoming state flower has an interesting history. It was classified as a parasitic plant because it doesn't coexist with other flowers.

Due to its beauty, people didn't want to remove the plants, so they were embraced. You can find them all over the state. Since they're edible, they were also regularly used by Native American tribes as an herb.

A wood house next to a lake surrounded by green alpine trees
Yellowstone Lake is North America's largest high-altitude freshwater lake

Yellowstone Lake is a record-breaker

You shouldn't be surprised to learn that Yellowstone broke yet another record. Yellowstone Lake, which can be found in Yellowstone park, is the largest high-altitude freshwater lake in North America.

At its deepest, the lake reaches nearly 400 feet. It's also nearly 140 square miles in area and has 110 miles of shoreline. Its altitude is an impressive 7,700 feet above sea level.

The state motto is "Equal rights"

If you look at the current Wyoming state flag, you'll see a silhouette of a bison with the state's seal in its center. When you take a closer look, you'll also notice the seal depicts a person holding a banner that reads "Equal Rights."

That phrase might sound familiar when you consider the state's nickname as the "Equality State." It's been the official motto of Wyoming since 1893 to commemorate the state's law that allowed women the right to vote.

A yellow cottonwood tree next to a river surrounded by rocky hills
The cottonwood tree thrives on the Great Plains and is the Wyoming state tree

One of the tallest cottonwoods was found in Wyoming

The Wyoming state tree can be found in numerous places around the country. It's a fast-growing tree that thrives in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain regions.

In 1947, cottonwood was declared the official tree of Wyoming. That's because a 55-foot-tall tree was discovered within the state's borders. It was considered the tallest specimen in existence at that time.

Wyoming brothers invented the jackalope

The jackalope is a mythical creature that is part rabbit and part antelope. Stories about this animal have gained popularity around the country, but it's a Wyoming creation.

Two brothers from Douglas, Wyoming are credited with giving life to the now-legendary creature. The state government even plays along with the stories of its existence.

Funny Facts About Wyoming

A tower-like rock structure with green grass and trees in front of it
The unique Devil's Tower National Monument has been featured in movies

It's bad if a hat obstructs people

If you visit the state of Wyoming, you'll want to make sure you don't break any laws. While most of the state's rules are fairly intuitive, there are a few unusual ones.

The strangest law bans the wearing of hats large enough to obstruct someone's view at a theater or show. While it's unlikely this law is enforced, it's better to be safe than sorry and leave your "10 gallons" at home.

Butterfly with diaphanous green wings with golden streaks on edges sitting on a leaf
If you see a green hairstreak butterfly in Wyoming, it means that spring has arrived

The green hairstreak butterfly signals spring

The Sheridan's green hairstreak butterfly can be found all over Wyoming during the spring months. Its arrival was often seen as a signal that winter was over.

Their bright green color makes them easy to recognize among the other Wyoming butterflies. Since 2009, this insect has been an official state symbol as Wyoming's state butterfly.

It's the least populous state

You probably already knew that Wyoming doesn't have a large population. But you might be surprised to learn that it's the least populous state in the country. As of 2021, there are an estimated 579,000 residents in Wyoming.

The state is so small that none of its cities are even approaching 100,000 citizens. The two largest cities, Cheyenne and Casper, have 65,000 and nearly 59,000 people respectively.

The Sundance Kid borrowed his name from a town in this state

Many people don't recognize the name Harry Alonzo Longabaugh, but they might be more familiar with his moniker "Sundance Kid". He was a western outlaw who terrorized the area along with Butch Cassidy in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Longabaugh borrowed his new name from a Wyoming town. After heading west from his hometown in Pennsylvania, he got in trouble with the law in Sundance, where he earned his famous nickname.

There are only two escalators

If you visit Wyoming, be prepared to take the stairs. According to reports, there are only two escalators in the state.

In 2008, the Governor even said that it's best to assume you won't run into any escalators while in Wyoming. Since the population is so low, there hasn't been a need to add escalators when stairs and elevators seem to suffice.

The Wyoming Gold Rush brought settlers

In 1842, gold was discovered within the Wyoming territory. That moment kicked off the state's gold rush which lasted until 1875.

The gold rush brought new settlers to the state. Some were hopeful prospectors, while others decided to take advantage of the population influx to build businesses like inns and saloons. Some went home empty-handed.

A tower-like rock formation next to trees and grass under a blue sky with clouds
Devils Tower National Monument was featured in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"

Devils Tower National Monument was in a movie

A fun fact about Wyoming is that one of its most recognizable landmarks has been in movies. Devil's Tower National Monument was a key setting for the sci-fi film "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" in 1977.

Not only is the natural butte a "standout" part of Hollywood history, but American history as well. In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt named it the first national monument in the United States.

Cheyenne is the rodeo capital

Every year, people from around the country flock to the capital of Wyoming state for the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. This rodeo has been an annual event since 1897.

Over the years, it's grown to become the largest outdoor rodeo in the country. As a result, Cheyenne claims it's the world's rodeo capital.

It has one of the oldest fairs

While the New York State Fair is the oldest in the country, it's not the oldest continuously running fair. That title might arguably belong to Wyoming's.

The very first Wyoming state fair took place in 1886. However, in 2020, when many states canceled their annual fairs, Wyoming's opened as scheduled and continued its streak.

A western meadowlark bird with its beak open standing on a wooden post
You can see western meadowlarks in Wyoming during the warmer months

The western meadowlark lives here

The Wyoming state bird isn't a fan of the state's colder months. Every winter the western meadowlark migrates south toward Mexico.

Many Wyoming natives look forward to seeing the bright yellow bird in March since it's the signal that spring is coming. Its arrival is so welcome that it became a state symbol in 1927.

Scary Facts About Wyoming

Old-fashioned wooden wagons next to small wooden buildings in a ghost town
Wyoming has many spooky ghost towns to explore
A lodge-style hotel with wooden walls and flags on the roof next to a path and trees
Yellowstone's Old Faithful Inn is supposedly haunted by a headless bride

Yellowstone is home to the headless bride ghost of Old Faithful Inn

One of the facts about the state of Wyoming concerns the area's biggest landmark. Yellowstone is supposedly haunted.

There are many stories about ghosts being spotted in the park. The most popular paranormal character to make an appearance is the headless bride. She is allegedly the spirit of a young woman who found out her husband wasn't the good man she thought he was.

A lot of outlaws lived in the state

The Wild West got its name from the lawlessness that was rampant in the western US territories. Settlers were constantly moving in and out of the state, which made it a perfect place for outlaws.

A fair share of these criminals called Wyoming home at some point during their lives. You already read about Sundance Kid, but Butch Cassidy, Bill McCoy, and countless others also resided there.

Cheri Alguire/Shutterstock.com
An old-fashioned red brick building with "Occidental Hotel" painted on it
Another haunted spot in Wyoming is the Occidental Hotel and Saloon

There's a haunted saloon

Today the Occidental Hotel and Saloon in Buffalo, Wyoming is a popular tourist attraction. However, its checkered history spans 140 years and makes it a hotspot for paranormal activity.

The saloon served as a hideout for outlaws, some of whom met their end on the property. Fortunately, all the ghost stories seem to be more entertaining rather than scary.

willeye1/Depositphotos.com
A ghost town with small wooden buildings and carts
There are many ghost towns in Wyoming, like Old Trail Town in Cody

Wyoming is full of ghost towns

Nearly every state has ghost towns. These are cities that are nearly or completely abandoned by residents for a number of reasons.

Wyoming has many ghost towns, and the state's gold rush is partly to blame. The promise of gold brought many people to the area. They left when they either found their fortune or didn't have much luck.

Heart Mountain Interpretive Center is famously haunted

The way the US handled conflict with Japan in WWII is a sore spot in the country's history. A monument that aims to educate about this period to help prevent similar situations in the future is the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center.

The center is located in a decommissioned relocation camp. Since closing in November 1945, stories of ghost sightings have been a regular occurrence. It's even gained international notoriety as one of the most haunted places in America.

Weird Facts About Wyoming

A wooden sign that says "Grand Teton National Park" next to grass and mountains
Many parts of Wyoming are federally not state-owned, like Grand Teton National Park
A lake with grass and rocks around it surrounded by trees and a hill
Around half of Wyoming's land is federally owned, like the land within Yellowstone

Almost half the state is federally owned

While the population of Wyoming might be small, most people likely wouldn't guess that nearly half the state's land belongs to the government. Reports are varied, but between 46% and 48.4% of Wyoming land is federal.

This land is divided into different categories. National parks and monuments take up a large portion of that land, but so do mines and government buildings. State-owned land isn't included in that percentage.

The drinking age was 19 for a long time

Federally, in order to drink alcohol, you have to be at least 21 years old. That wasn't always the case. Before 1984, states could determine their own legal drinking age.

Once the federal law was put in place, states were given a few years to comply. Wyoming was one of the last states to raise the drinking age from 19 to 21 in 1988.

There are islands in Wyoming

One of the least-known facts about Wyoming is that it has islands. This is a surprise to many people since the state doesn't have any coastal borders.

There are 35 named islands and a handful of unnamed ones. Most of these islands are found in the Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks' lakes.

The largest swing dance was in Laramie

In 2015, the Laramie campus of the University of Wyoming decided to break a record. The school's Swing Club planned to break the world record for the largest swing dance.

On April 30th of that year, 1,184 participants gathered to attempt the feat. The Guinness World Records representative in attendance confirmed the club succeeded.

There's a state code

There are many Wyoming state symbols, but none capture the state's cowboy roots like the state's code. Initially called the "Code of the West," it was a set of "rules" cowboys unofficially agreed on.

"Live each day with courage" and "Know where to draw the line" are two of the ten parts of this so-called cowboy code of ethics. To this day, you'll find the code hanging in ranches across the western US.

Cool Facts About Wyoming

A large state capitol building with a gold dome next to trees and grass
The Wyoming State Capitol uses real gold in its design
The top of a state capitol building with a tower with a gold dome atop it
The dome on the state capitol in Cheyenne features a layer of real gold

There's real gold on the capitol dome

The Wyoming State Capitol is the civic center of the state's government. Initial construction began in 1887 and was fully completed by 1900, with renovations taking place from 2016 until 2019.

The centerpiece of the building is the dome that sits atop the capitol's structure. It was constructed out of copper to reflect the sun. However, when the copper began to tarnish, it was eventually covered in a thin layer of real gold.

It's one of the largest states

Wyoming might be one of the least-populated states, but it's also one of the largest. The state is 375 miles wide, 276 long, and has an area of nearly 98 000 square miles. As such, it's the 10th largest in the country.

When you do the math, Wyoming's population density is less than six people per square mile. After Alaska, it's the second least densely-populated state in the USA.

Green grass with bison grazing next to trees and hills under a cloudy sky
The Black Hills, that stretch through South Dakota and Wyoming, are actually green!

The Black Hills are green in reality

The Black Hills mountain range is most often associated with South Dakota. However, a portion of the range extends into Wyoming as well. About 200,000 of the over 2 million acres of land that make up the hills is Wyoming territory.

It might be fun to think the Black Hills' name is literal. But the mountains are actually green due to the thick tree coverage on the mountain slopes. The deep color and density give the hills a seemingly black hue in certain light.

Some large boulders next to a small path and green grass under a blue sky
The Oregon Trail passes through Wyoming and is marked by Independence Rock

The Oregon Trail passed through the state

The Oregon Trail was a highly-trafficked route that settlers used to reach the United States' west coast. Between the 1840s and the 1880s, upwards of 500,000 people made the 2100-mile-long journey.

The trail started at the Missouri River and ended in Oregon. The most common route on the trail passed through Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Idaho before reaching the west coast.

John Colter was the first explorer in the territory

Lewis and Clark are the most well-known explorers from their famous expedition west after the Louisiana Purchase. However, they were far from alone on their journey.

John Colter was a soldier who accompanied the expedition party. Not only did he travel with Lewis and Clark, but he was the first of the group to set foot on Wyoming's soil. He was also the first explorer to see what would later become Yellowstone.

In Summary

That's the list. Did anything surprise you? You might have guessed Wyoming was one of the largest states in the US. But I bet you didn't know there were islands within its borders!

A list of 50 facts is a lot, but it's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to interesting Wyoming facts. Hopefully, it inspired you to learn more or consider visiting the state, as there are also many exciting things to do there!

This article was edited by Henry Grahame.

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Written by Gabrielle T

ggtraveler1213 WRITER Gabrielle loves all things travel and culture. She is originally from the USA, but she has lived in Italy for over a decade. She's always ready to pack her bags, grab her passport, and head out on an adventure!


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