Visiting the United States? There are 50 states in all.

The old, rugged American West is alive and well in Wyoming, where visitors can find buffalo, breathtaking vistas, rodeos and wild rivers.

Wyoming, one of the larger states in land area, is the smallest by population (584,000). Yellowstone National Park, oldest in the world, was established in 1872 when Wyoming was still frontier territory. Today, grizzly bears, wolves, bison and elk still roam the park’s more than 890,300 hectares. The surreal landscape is dotted with iridescent geothermal springs, bubbling mudholes, waterfalls, an active volcano and hundreds of geysers.

In addition to rodeos, visitors can join Native American dance and cultural celebrations and visit dude ranches galore in Wyoming. They can also enjoy rafting, rock climbing and trout fishing in crystal clear lakes.

Map of United States highlighting Wyoming (State Dept./ Jamie McCann)
(State Dept./ Jamie McCann)

Yellowstone: A natural wonderland

The iconic Old Faithful is one of more than 10,000 hydrothermal vents, pools and other features in Yellowstone, many hot enough to parboil any creature that makes a misstep. The park sits on the caldera of an active volcano, 72 by 48 kilometers. Thousands of small earthquakes are recorded each year.

Old Faithful geyser (Courtesy of Wyoming Travel & Tourism)
Old Faithful, a geyser in Yellowstone National Park, bursts every 90 minutes or so. (Courtesy of Wyoming Travel & Tourism)

Every 90 minutes or so, steam starts gurgling up Old Faithful’s vent like a tea kettle until a huge gusher of boiling water and steam shoots high in the air for as long as five minutes. The National Park Service’s live webcam affords views from afar.

Digging for dinosaurs

Paleontologist and six youths digging on hill (Courtesy of the Wyoming Dinosaur Center)
Youths dig for fossils in Thermopolis, Wyoming. (Courtesy of the Wyoming Dinosaur Center)

The flat-topped ridges of Fossil Butte National Monument abound with fossilized fishes, insects, plants, reptiles, birds and mammals. Elsewhere, dinosaur bones still turn up in Thermopolis, home of the Wyoming Dinosaur Center, where skeletons from the Jurassic Age are displayed. For a price, children and parents can dig for fossils, but they don’t get to keep them.

The world’s largest outdoor rodeo

Young women holding flags and riding horses (Courtesy of Cheyenne Frontier Days)
The 10-day extravaganza features parades — and free pancakes. (Courtesy of Cheyenne Frontier Days)

For 10 days at the end July, the Old West comes alive in the state capital during Cheyenne Frontier Days. The extravaganza includes a big outdoor rodeo, a country music extravaganza, a food fest (including free pancakes), parades and Native American dances and powwows. Bull riders and bronco busters help Wyoming live up to its nickname, the Cowboy State.

Rock climbing and rafting

Adventurers can ride raging river rapids down the Snake, North Platte and other waterways, while more timid travelers can float down with guides. The heart pumps even harder on rock climbs in the majestic Grand Tetons and elsewhere.

Woman climbing vertical cliff (Courtesy of Wyoming Travel & Tourism)
Climbing a nearly vertical cliff wall in Lander, Wyoming. The state is a favorite destination for climbers of all skill levels. (Courtesy of Wyoming Travel & Tourism)

Learn more about Wyoming and check out the other 49 states. If you need a visa to visit, here’s how to get one.