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Sweetwater County, WY Lets Residents Live It Up

From fishing to riding buggies on sand dunes to exploring sandstone etchings, there's a lot to do in Sweetwater County

By Chris Russell on August 11, 2014

Green River at Expedition Island in Green River, Wyoming
Rock Springs / Jeff Adkins

An array of adventurous outdoor activities means that Sweetwater County residents do more than just live. They get to seriously live it up.

Dave Hanks, CEO of Sweetwater County’s Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce, says that Sweetwater stands out by virtue of how people can interact with it. About 75 percent of land here is open to the public for hiking, camping and exploration.

“In most places, you are able to ‘view’ these great outdoors, but not be physically and mentally immersed in all nature has to offer,” Hanks says. “In our area, you can actually become one with nature at its base level.”

Killpecker Sand Dunes

The Killpecker Sand Dunes might very well be described as the biggest sandbox you’ve ever seen – with enough fun to match. The area offers 10,500 acres of active sand dunes that are open to off-road vehicles – part of the 109,000 acres that belong to the dunes overall. Explorers can also find Boar’s Tusk, the core of an ancient volcano, near the dunes.

Green River

Green River brings all the water-based activities you could want, including kayaking, rafting or tubing downstream. Currents range from quickly moving rapids to easy eddies. Multiple kinds of trout (including lake, rainbow and brown) are ripe for the catching along the lower segment of the river, along with bass, channel catfish and more.

“We have an abundance of wildlife, few people and more open space than most states,” Hanks says. “The mix of modern and the Old West form a new frontier to explore.”

White Mountain Petroglyphs

At the White Mountain Petroglyphs, explorers can witness the amazing sight of more than a dozen panels bearing hundreds of figures that have been etched into the Eocene Bridger standstone bedrock formation. The cliff on which the carvings are set runs 300 feet long, and in some places is as tall as 40 feet. The art is so awe-inspiring that contemporary American Indian spiritual leaders believe the drawings were created for religious purposes.

“Some of the breathtaking sandstone creations that have been carved by the Wyoming winds are forever etched into the landscape,” says Sweetwater resident Nancy Merrell. “After a rainy day, you can get lucky and find one of many natural waterfalls coming off of White Mountain.”

Hunting Grounds

Sweetwater County is also ripe hunting ground for animals such as elk, mule deer, pronghorn antelope and sage grouse. Big game is plentiful in the Red Desert, Little Mountain and Pine Mountain, and the huge amount of public land attracts both rifle and bow and arrow hunters.

Flaming Gorge

The Flaming Gorge provides one of the most scenic vistas anywhere in the country. Covering more than 200,000 acres in Wyoming and Utah, the land provides dream terrain for those with a taste for biking and hiking. The gorge has also become nationally known as a fishing hot spot where year-round trout fishing is available.

“Whatever your outdoor interests might be, Sweetwater County is bound to offer it … there is no other place like it,” Merrell says. “Having the freedom to experience all types of nature in Sweetwater County is simply amazing. A wide range of outdoor activities are right outside your front door.”

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