100 Interesting Facts About Wyoming

Interesting Wyoming facts

The US state of Wyoming is famous for Yellowstone National Park, the country’s first.

Below you’ll find out what else the “Equality State” is known for with these fascinating and fun facts about Wyoming, USA!

General Facts About Wyoming

  • Wyoming is located in the Mountain West subregion (also called the Rocky Mountain States) of the Western United States.
  • It is one of three states that are rectangular, along with Utah and Colorado.
  • With a total area of 97,914 mi² (253,600 km²), Wyoming is the 10th largest state by area. In terms of size, it is between Oregon and Michigan.
  • The state has a length of 279 miles (451 km) and a width of 371.8 miles (599 km).
  • The state is slightly larger than Guinea or the United Kingdom.
  • With only 576,850 residents, Wyoming is the least populous state in the nation.
Aerial view of Cheyenne
Cheyenne, capital of Wyoming
  • It is also the least densely populated of the Lower 48 States, with only 5.9 people per mi2 (2.3 per km2). Only Alaska is less densely populated.
  • There are 23 counties in the state of Wyoming, the largest of which is Cheyenne County in the state’s southeastern corner.
  • Cheyenne is Wyoming’s capital and largest city, with a population of 65,000. The second largest city is Casper.
  • The famous Yellowstone National Park is in the opposite (northwestern) corner of the state from Cheyenne.
  • Cheyenne is the 2nd highest capital in the US, at 6063 feet (1848 m). Only Santa Fe in New Mexico is higher.
  • Originally, the region of Wyoming was inhabited by the Shoshone, Arapaho, Crow, and Lakota indigenous tribes. Today, they make up 3% of the state’s population.
City of Casper, Wyoming with mountains in the background
Casper, the second largest city in Wyoming
  • Today, Wyoming has only two federally recognized Native American tribes: the Arapaho and the Shoshone.
  • The state’s name comes from the Lenape Native American word mecheweami-ing, which means “on the big plain”.
  • Citizens of Wyoming are called Wyomingites.
  • WY is the state abbreviation of Wyoming.
  • Jade is the official state gemstone (fun fact: jade is also the state stone of Alaska).
  • Wyoming’s official state dinosaur is the triceratops. Three of the most complete triceratops ever found were dug up in the state’s northeast.
Dinosaur skeletons in a dinosaur museum in Wyoming
The Wyoming Dinosaur Center in Thermopolis
  • The official state motto of Wyoming is “Equal Rights”.
  • One of Wyoming’s nicknames is “Equality State” (or “Suffrage State), as Wyoming was the first state in the nation to grant women the right to vote.
  • The state is often called by its other nickname “Cowboy State”. Rodeo is the official state sport of Wyoming, and there is a strong local cowboy culture.
  • An old tourism slogan for Wyoming, “Like no place on Earth”, was ridiculed for suggesting that Wyoming was not of this world.
  • Other slogans for Wyoming have included “Forever West”, “Like No Place on Earth”, “Park State”, and “Wyoming: Square But Fun.”
the state flag of Wyoming
The Wyoming state flag
  • Wyoming’s state flag has a blue background with a white bison silhouette. The state seal is depicted in blue on the silhouette as a tribute to the custom of branding livestock. The blue symbolizes the mountains and skies, as well as the traits of fidelity, vitality and justice. The red border symbolizes the blood shed by pioneers, and the white symbolizes purity.

Random Interesting Facts About Wyoming

  • Wyoming has only two escalators in the entire state. Both of them are located in the town of Casper.
  • Wyoming has only one telephone area code throughout the entire state: 307.
Yellowstone Lake viewed from above
Islands on Yellowstone Lake
  • Even though Wyoming is landlocked, the state is still home to dozens of islands. 32 named islands can be found within the state borders, most of which are located in Jackson Lake, Green River, and Yellowstone Lake.
  • Wyoming has two national parks: Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park.
  • Yellowstone National Park was the first national park in the US, and some say in the world. It is the second largest national park in the Lower 48 States (not counting Alaska), after Death Valley in California and Nevada. It is also the state’s only UNESCO site. A small part of it is in Idaho and Montana.
Steam shooting out of a hot spring at Yellowstone National Park
Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone
  • Yellowstone sits above the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest supervolcano in North America. It last erupted 640,000 years ago. Although some people predict an immanent super-eruption, evidence shows this is unlikely.
  • Yellowstone has more than half of the world’s geysers and other geothermal features like hot springs, mudpots, and fumaroles.
  • Yellowstone’s Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest hot spring in the United States and 3rd largest in the world. It is known for its vivid colors.
  • The park’s most famous geyser is Old Faithful, which predictably goes off every 65-91 minutes.
Old Faithful geyser going off in Yellowstone with a rainbow in the mist
Old Faithful
  • Grand Teton National Park is just below Yellowstone and is about 7 times smaller. It preserves a temperate ecosystem and is named after Grand Teton, the state’s second tallest mountain (the tallest one is Gannett Peak).
  • Wyoming has 12 state parks. These include Hot Springs State Park, which like Yellowstone is famous for its many hot springs.
  • Wyoming also has three huge national forests: Shoshone, Bridger-Teton, and Medicine Bow-Routt, plus Thunder Basin National Grassland.
  • Almost half of the state is owned by the federal government, while 4% of the land is protected in state or national parks, putting it in the top-10 states in terms of protected lands.
  • Devils Tower is Wyoming’s northeast became the country’s first national monument when Roosevelt listed it on September 24, 1906. It rises 1267 feet (386 m).
Devils Tower, Wyoming at sunset time
Devils Tower
  • The only known monument in the country to be dedicated to a prostitute is the Red Granite Monument, located 10 miles south of Lusk in Wyoming. The monument marks the grave of Charlotte Shephard, or “Mother Featherlegs”.
  • Cheyenne Frontier Days calls itself the “World’s Largest Outdoor Rodeo and Western Celebration,” with about 200,000 attendees. It is often called the “Daddy of ‘em all.”
  • Frontier Days includes an enormous pancake breakfast, serving around 40,000 people every year.
A man riding a horse in a rodeo at Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming
Bucking bronco at Cheyenne Frontier Days
  • Coal is a major industry in Wyoming, with about 40% of the nation’s domestic supply coming from the state.
  • Tourism is the 2nd most important sector in the state’s economy. Over 6 million visitors travel to Wyoming every year.
  • Basin recorded the hottest temperature in Wyoming, 116°F (46.67°C), on August 8, 1983, while Riverside recorded the coldest temperature on February 9, 1933: -66°F (-54.44°C).
  • The eastern half of Wyoming is called the High Plains, which is high-elevation prairie and is drier and windier than the rest of the country. It receives less than 10 inches (250mm) of rainfall per year.
  • The western half of Wyoming is mostly covered by rangelands and the Rocky Mountains.
A horse standing in a field in Wyoming
Wild horse in Wyoming
  • Wyoming is home to more than 100 species of mammals, including the wild horse, deer, elk, wolf, moose, grizzly bear, black bear, mountain lion, and pronghorn antelope.
  • 400 species of birds can also be found in the state, including bald eagles.
  • Wyoming has three rare species that are officially listed as endangered: the Wyoming toad, black-footed ferret, and dace (a kind of fish).
  • Myrtle Walling became the first woman in Wyoming to receive a patent when she fashioned a new device for seamstresses called a “work holder”.
  • Elmer Lovejoy of Laramie patented a tracking system for automatic door openers in 1921. He also built the state’s first horseless carriage in 1898.
  • While Christmas stockings have been around for a long time, Wyoming native Joa Sheridan patented ornamental Christmas stockings in 1995.
Christmas stockings hanging on a fireplace
Wyoming has patents for Christmas stockings shaped like different kinds of shoes.
  • The famous department store JCPenney was founded in Kemmerer, Wyoming in 1902.
  • Famous Wyomingites include actress Ashlynn Yennie, abstract painter Jackson Pollock, snowboarder Travis Rice, Greco-Roman wrestling Olympic champion Rulon Gardner, former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, and Lynne Cheney (wife of Dick Cheney).
  • People who lived in (but weren’t born in) Wyoming include politician Dick Cheney and actor Matthew Fox.
  • Matthew Shepard was a gay student at the University of Wyoming who was beaten and tortured to death in 1998, causing national and international outrage.
  • The nation’s first woman to serve on a jury was Eliza Stewart Boyd.
  • The state’s 14th Governor, and first woman in the nation to become governor of a state, was Nellie Tayloe Ross.
A man standing on a rock in a river and fishing
Fishing in Wyoming
  • In Wyoming, there’s a law forbidding the use of firearms to fish.
  • There’s also an old law forbidding a woman to stand within five feet of a bar while drinking.
  • It’s also prohibited to ski under the influence of alcohol.
  • One could land in jail for up to a year if found drunk in a mine.
  • Any person who fails to close a fence can face a fine of up to $750.
  • Wearing a hat that obstructs people’s view in a place of amusement, such as a public theater, is against the law.

Historical Facts About Wyoming

  • Wyoming was once at the bottom of a shallow sea. Fossil Butte, a national monument, has produced some of the best marine fossils from the time, dating to 50 million years ago.
  • Human inhabitation goes back at least 13,000 years in Wyoming.
A sign telling people to walk left around the Big Horn Mountains Medicine Wheel in Wyoming
Big Horn Mountains Medicine Wheel
  • Between 1742 and 1743, Francois Louis Verendrye became the first European to enter the region of Wyoming.
  • The US purchased much of Wyoming in the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803.
  • In 1807, John Colter was the first white American to enter the area and see the Yellowstone region.
  • In 1834, Fort Laramie was established as the first permanent European settlement. Today it is a national historic site.
Old building ruins at Fort Laramie National Historic Site
Ruins of a hospital at Fort Laramie National Historic Site
  • In 1842, the discovery of gold was made near South Pass. However, the prospector was killed by Native Americans and the location stayed secret.
  • As part of the Oregon Treaty, the US gained the southwestern portion of Wyoming from Great Britain in 1846.
  • The Daily Telegraph was Wyoming’s first newspaper. It was established at Fort Bridger in 1863.
  • More gold was found near South Pass in 1866. This led to a rush and growth of South Pass City.
  • The Union Pacific Railroad reached the city of Cheyenne in 1867, which had been established earlier that year.
Some red barns on a Wyoming farm with mountains and mist in background
A farm in Wyoming
  • Women gained the right to vote in the Wyoming Territory in 1869. In fact, Wyoming became the 1st US territory or state to grant women suffrage.
  • President Ulysses S. Grant established the first national park in 1872: Yellowstone National Park.
  • In 1883, electric lights were introduced in Cheyenne.
  • In 1890, Wyoming became the 44th state of the United States.
  • The Johnson County War occurred in 1892 between small, local ranchers and large, powerful landowners.
Two men riding horses in silhouette with a sunset
Ranchers in Wyoming
  • Estelle Reel became one of the nation’s first women to be elected to a state office in 1894. She was elected as the Wyoming State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
  • In 1895, the city of Cody was established by William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody, one of the most famous figures in the Old West.
  • In the Hanna Mine Disaster of 1903, 169 miners were killed in a violent methane gas explosion. A memorial there honors the victims.
  • The first United States National Monument to be declared was the Devil’s Tower in 1906.
  • In 1918, Uranium was discovered near Lusk, Wyoming.
  • In 1925, Nellie Tayloe Ross became the first female governor of a US state.
A truck driving in a coal mine
A coal mine in Wyoming
  • In 1927, a major landslide took out the Wyoming town of Kelly, killing 6.
  • Wyoming adopted a sales tax in 1935.
  • In 1939, a mineral called trona, which is refined into soda ash, was discovered in Sweetwater County, Wyoming. The county is considered the “trona capital of the world.”
  • The state’s first TV station opened in Cheyenne in 1954.
  • In 1955, United Airlines Flight 409 crashed in Wyoming, killing all 66 on board.
  • In 1987, the largest tornado ever in Wyoming uprooted over 1 million trees in Yellowstone and Teton national parks.
Burned trees in Yellowstone National Park
Devastation from the 1988 Yellowstone Fire
  • A year later, a major fire in Yellowstone closed the national park for its first time ever, burning many of those trees.
  • The drinking age in Wyoming was raised to 21 years in 1988.
  • Dick Cheney, a graduate of the University of Wyoming, was inaugurated as Vice President of the US in 2001.
  • In 2010, “Cowboy Ethics”, or “Code of the West”, was introduced as the official state code of Wyoming.
  • In 2022, two Japanese companies agreed to cooperate with Bill Gates in the building of a high-tech nuclear reactor in Wyoming.

Similar Posts