Located 20 miles south of the Montana border, Sheridan, Wyoming is a hidden gem and a far cry from the typical tourist traps of the West. It has one of the best bars in the state (Mint Bar), a brewery that is slated to become Wyoming’s biggest (Blacktooth) and plenty of ranches that supply world-class beef. If Jackson is a millionaire cowboy’s playground, Sheridan is an affluent-yet-still-accessible playground that flies comfortably under the radar. It’s home to a Mars family ranch (of Mars Chocolate) and Leandro Rizzuto’s expansive home (founder of Conair), and it has a rich history of polo, with fields hosting matches all summer long. But Sheridan’s Main Street doesn’t boast about this, and the area harkens back to a simpler time. The arts council tirelessly curates sculptures on every city corner, and the city, only roughly 10 square miles, is free of the crowds and tourists that plague Yellowstone in the summer. Visitors can drink at the bar with real cowboys, stay at a cattle ranch and get a taste of what life is like on the range.
|Where to Stay
For the most authentic feel for life at the foot of the Bighorn National Forest, a stay at a dude ranch is a must. There are several top-notch options within a stone’s throw of Sheridan including: Canyon, Double Rafter, Eaton’s Dude and Padlock. The Residence Hill B&B offers rustic accommodations with western hospitality. For a more secluded feel and a night under the stars, try camping at Little Goose campground in the Bighorn National Forest. Several streams are near by, offering ample fishing opportunities. In downtown Sheridan, the absolute best stay is the Sheridan Inn, whose former part-owner was none other than Buffalo Bill.
|Where to Eat
Sheridan has no shortage of great food and if you are looking for some local flavor, Frackelton’s on Main Street offers a mouthwatering buffalo tenderloin cooked to medium-rare perfection. If you have a craving for Mexican food, El Tapatio Dos cooks up a heavy dose of authenticity paired with strong margaritas. Be sure not to leave without trying the fried jalapeño seasoned with sea salt. For breakfast and coffee, PO News & Flagstaff Cafe bakes a wide range of pastries fresh and offers delicious breakfast mainstays. They also brew the finest coffee Sheridan has to offer. For nightlife, the Mint Bar is an absolute must. The large neon sign outside promises a fun night ahead and as you walk in the door, the walls are decorated with historic cattle brands and mounted trophies. The local beer scene in Sheridan is also booming. Black Tooth Brewing Company brews a delicious selection of ales that will satisfy the craft beer enthusiast.
|What to Do
There is no shortage of things to occupy your time in Sheridan. Be sure to visit King’s Saddlery and their museum to view their extensive collection of wagons, coaches, Indian artifacts, guns, western tack, original artwork and saddles. Sheridan also offers sobering American history in the form of a number of Native American battle sites. The Brinton Museum recently expanded to a 24,000-square-foot building and offers western and Native American art. In a town filled with horses, it’s no surprise that polo is a part of the culture. The Flying H Polo Club hosts matches throughout the summer. And if you can get the timing right, don’t miss the Sheridan WYO Rodeo. Taking place for one week in July, the WYO Rodeo is a celebration that includes bull riding, a Native American dance and pow-wow, a parade and a carnival.
If you are a competent biker, the nearby Tongue River Shuttle is one of the best mountain bike trails in Wyoming and offers excellent views and fast descents. The winters can be long and cold in Sheridan, but the technical pitches at Shell Canyon will challenge even the best ice climbers and keep your mind off of the sub-zero temps (some of the pitches can also be rock climbed in the summer). The Bighorn National Forest also offers countless day hiking opportunities for the perfect way to breathe in the fresh mountain air.