Sheridan, Wyoming, is one of the best examples of the American West. Surrounded by the Bighorn Mountains, it delivers a unique cowboy vibe with a view! Conveniently located halfway between Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone National Park, the town is a great vacation destination on its own. It offers artsy historic Main Street, a magnificent backdrop of the mountains, and modern hospitality with the Old West charm. Its 46 traditional buildings are included in the National Registry of Historic Places and host dozens of unique shops, restaurants, galleries, cafes, and some of the Mountain West’s most legendary watering holes. Here are all things to do in Sheridan.
Explore the perfect example of the American West – Sheridan, Wyoming
Like most travelers, I discovered Sheridan, Wyoming, on my way to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. I am glad I took a short detour to do it. The town took me by surprise, not only with its fabulous location but also with incredible art lining up its streets.
Getting there was half the fun. The area is absolutely beautiful and practically deserted. To top it all, the roads leading to the town were dressed with miles of wild lupin! If you look for off the beaten path destinations, you will love Sheridan and the Bighorn Mountains.
History of Sheridan, Wyoming
Sheridan was founded in 1882 and named for General Philip H. Sheridan, Union cavalry leader during the American Civil War. The arrival of the railroad in 1892 and the discovery of coal stimulated the region’s growth.
As a railroad distribution point, Sheridan has acquired diversified manufacturing. Today, ranching, truck farming, flour milling, sawmilling, and oil production are local occupations.
The city is the Bighorn National Forest headquarters, and tourism (dude ranches, big game hunting, and fishing) is an important economic asset. Learn more about the history of Sheridan here.
Sheridan, Wyoming on the Map
Sheridan is located at an elevation of 3,743 feet in Goose Creek Valley in the state’s north-central part. The city lies in the Tongue River watershed, ten miles north and east of the Big Horn Mountains.
Sheridan can be found halfway between Yellowstone Park and Mount Rushmore by U.S. Route 14 and 16.
Best time to visit Sheridan, Wyoming
June, August, and September are the most pleasant months in Sheridan. December and January are the least comfortable. The summers are short, hot, and mostly clear. The winters are freezing, windy, and partly cloudy.
Why is Sheridan Special?
With a population of 18,000, Sheridan stays true to its root and delivers the undeniable charm of the Old West. You will feel it and see it everywhere you go. It remains as American as it could be.
The Sheridan’s focus on art makes the town stand out from other cowboy towns. Its mostly bronze sculptures signify the Wild West’s important aspects, from eagles and moose to fishermen and Native Americans.
What adds to Sheridan’s overall cowboy appeal is the views and the impact of the Bighorn Mountains. Within a few miles of the city, you can find a vast wilderness and an abundance of wildlife.
- Related: the story of Leonardo Da Vinci’s vision of the biggest horse statue in the world and how it ties to Sheridan, Wyoming; Allentown, Pennsylvania; and Milan, Italy.
What to do in Sheridan, Wyoming
Historic Downtown is Sheridan’s grand centerpiece. Visitors come here for a stroll in its streets and to enjoy public art displays, historic buildings, dine or enjoy local beer.
Discover Street Art
The arts play an important role in creating a special sense of place within the Historic Downtown Sheridan. The city has over 100 permanent pieces of art. It also displays pieces that are on loan and available to purchase. You will find many bronze sculptures on Grinnell Plaza and throughout downtown.
The street sculptures in Sheridan give the town a unique vibe.
Visit King’s Saddlery Museum
The Don King Museum houses over three decades of the King family’s dedication to collecting Western and cowboy memorabilia. It offers a glimpse at life in the Old West through the years. It displays everything from horse-drawn hearses, taxidermy bears, moose, and elk, and rifles and handguns from some of America’s most famous duels.
- If you are looking to escape it all, Take a road trip to Wyoming.
Attend a show at WYO Theater
Built as a venue for stage acts during the 1920s, the WYO Theater offers a variety of entertainment throughout the year. Family theater, musical performances, film screenings, and even traditional vaudeville variety shows are all on the schedule. This Art Deco masterpiece serves as the city’s public art project devoted to celebrating the local culture.
Explore Trail End State Historic Site
The Trail End State Historic Site is a property of the State Parks, Historic Sites & Trails Division of the Wyoming Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources. From its authentically furnished rooms to its finely manicured lawns, it displays an elegantly different aspect of Wyoming’s rich and colorful history.
Built in the Flemish Revival style, the 13,748 square foot mansion provides a glimpse into life during the period 1913 to 1933, as seen through the John B. Kendrick family’s eyes.
Visit the Historic Sheridan Inn
The Sheridan Inn’s significance in the US history lies primarily in its direct connection with William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, who developed and sold the concept of the Inn to the railroad. As part owner, he directed hotel management and even auditioned new members for his touring company, the “Wild West” show from the front porch.
Restaurants in Sheridan, Wyoming
Sheridan offers a wide variety of places to eat. You will find there historic bars, American bistros, ethnic restaurants, and many national brand fast-food chains.
Do some shopping
The town’s shopping scene is centered on its historic Main Street, where many small businesses operate under vintage western storefronts. The street boasts locally owned shops selling everything from women’s apparel and accessories to cowboy boots and outdoor gear.
Sheridan also offers ranchers’ supply stores and cowboy outfitters you can only find in the West. But it’s not all belt buckles and cowboy boots. You can find contemporary apparel there as well.
Visit Koltiska Distillery
To my surprise, I discovered a Polish connection in the American West. In the late 1800s, the Koltiska family settled in the town. It quickly became known for two things – a lust for life and a fine liqueur, handcrafted to be shared with locals in the celebration of life.
Today, the fifth generation of the settlers operates a distillery. Its entire line is a perfect blend of strong yet smooth liqueur reflecting Western traditions with a Polish twist.
Have a beer at Luminous Brewer House
The Luminous taproom offers fine beers created on-site by head brewer and Sheridan native Seth Orr. The place is often rocking with live music and is frequently charged by special event energy. Learn more here.
For more on the culture of craft beer and spirits in Sheridan, visit Where Craft is King.
Hotels in Sheridan, Wyoming
Sheridan hosts hotels, motels, and guest cottages. Accommodations can be found in town or in the Bighorn Mountains. Many hotels and motels are established in convenient locations for enjoying what the region has to offer, both locally and on the way to Yellowstone or the Black Hills.
For the taste of historic the Wild West, I suggest staying at Historic Sheridan Inn.
If you are more into nature and a true cowboy experience, check out Bighorn Mountains Ranches.
Attractions just outside of Sheridan, Wyoming
The Brinton Museum
239 Brinton Rd, Big Horn, WY
open in google maps >
The Brinton Museum in the Bighorn Mountains is a historic working ranch that celebrates the spirit of the American West. Its rare collection of Western, American, and American Indian art tells a distinctive story of America. It offers an intimate glimpse into the life and lifestyle of Bradford Brinton, a well-educated Western gentleman rancher, businessman, and avid collector.
The Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming
Located in north-central Wyoming, the Bighorn Mountains are a sister range of the Rocky Mountains. Conveniently located halfway between Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone National Park, the Bighorns are a great vacation destination in themselves.
No region in Wyoming is provided with a more diverse landscape – from grasslands to alpine meadows, clear lakes to glacially-carved valleys and rolling hills to sheer mountain cliffs. This region has it all!
Visit the Bighorn National Forest to enjoy the multiple reservoirs, 30 campgrounds, four group campgrounds, three scenic byways, 10 picnic areas, eight lodges, many miles of streams, 189,000 acres of wilderness, 1,200 miles of trails, and much more. Activities include hiking, biking, camping, boating, fly fishing, wildlife photography, and hunting.
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