Rawlins is a picturesque city with a rich history and a vibrant present in the heart of Wyoming. Each year, thousands of visitors flock to this charming destination to explore its unique attractions, immerse themselves in Old West lore, and bask in the natural beauty that surrounds the city.
Rawlins, founded in the 1860s as a Union Pacific Railroad stop, has a fascinating history closely tied to the development of the American West.
It served as a vital hub for travelers and was home to the notorious Old Frontier Prison, which operated from 1901 to 1981 and now stands as a captivating museum. This rich history, coupled with its location near the iconic Oregon Trail, makes Rawlins a treasure trove of stories from the past.
Annually, Rawlins welcomes a diverse array of visitors, including history enthusiasts, outdoor adventurers, and stargazers. The city’s unique blend of cultural attractions, such as the Rawlins Frontier Prison and Carbon County Fair, makes it a popular tourist destination for people of all interests.
When planning a visit to Rawlins, it’s important to consider the weather. The city experiences all four seasons, with warm summers and cold winters. The best time to visit is typical during the summer months when outdoor activities are in full swing, and the weather is pleasant.
However, if you’re a stargazing enthusiast, the clear, crisp nights of autumn and winter offer unparalleled views of the night sky. Regardless of when you choose to visit, Rawlins promises a memorable experience for every traveler.
From exploring the Old West to enjoying the great outdoors, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this hidden gem of a town. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the six most fun things to do in Rawlins, Wyoming.
- Recommended: 16 Most Fun Things To Do In Gwinnett County, GA
1. Rochelle Ranch Golf Course
Rochelle Ranch Golf Course is a popular golfing destination in Rawlins, Wyoming. This 18-hole golf course has a fascinating history and some interesting facts that make it a standout attraction for both locals and visitors.
Rochelle Ranch Golf Course originally opened in 2004 and was designed by architect Jeffrey D. Brauer. It quickly gained a reputation for its challenging layout and stunning views of Wyoming’s high plains. Golfers flock to this course to test their skills while enjoying the scenic beauty of the region.
One unique feature of Rochelle Ranch is the “Hill Course.” It’s designed for those who prefer a quicker round, with six holes instead of the standard 18. This makes it perfect for golfers on a tight schedule or beginners looking for a shorter game.
Another interesting fact is that the course is named after its benefactor, Rochelle Community Hospital. The hospital provided essential support to create this golfing gem, making it an important part of the Rawlins community.
With its challenging course and picturesque setting, Rochelle Ranch Golf Course is a must-visit for golf enthusiasts and a testament to the community’s commitment to providing recreational opportunities for all.
2808 E Rochelle Dr, Rawlins, WY 82301, United States
2. Wyoming Frontier Prison Museum
The Wyoming Frontier Prison Museum, located in Rawlins, Wyoming, has a rich history and several intriguing facts that make it a unique attraction in the region.
Originally a functioning prison, the Wyoming Frontier Prison operated from 1901 to 1981. During its 80-year history, it housed some of Wyoming’s most notorious criminals.
Visitors can now take guided tours of the facility, giving them a glimpse into the harsh realities of prison life in the Old West and experience some unique things to do in Rawlins.
One interesting fact is that the prison’s gas chamber, known as “Big Mac,” was the site of Wyoming’s last execution, which took place in 1965. This macabre history adds to the prison’s eerie atmosphere.
The museum houses a vast collection of artifacts and exhibits related to the prison’s history, including photographs, inmate art, and stories of famous inmates. It’s a fascinating place for history buffs to explore.
The Wyoming Frontier Prison Museum serves as a powerful reminder of the state’s past and offers a unique and educational experience for all who visit.
500 W Walnut St, Rawlins, WY 82301, United States
3. Penny’s Diner
Penny’s Diner, a beloved eatery in Rawlins, Wyoming, boasts an interesting history and a few noteworthy facts that make it a popular spot for locals and travelers alike.
The diner concept was inspired by classic 1950s American diners, with a nostalgic and retro ambiance. Penny’s Diner serves as a modern homage to these iconic establishments, with a focus on classic comfort food.
One notable feature of Penny’s Diner is its 24/7 operation. It caters to early birds and night owls alike, ensuring that hunger can be satisfied at any hour of the day or night. This accessibility is a big draw for those passing through Rawlins.
The diner is renowned for its hearty meals, including breakfast classics like pancakes and omelets, as well as burgers, sandwiches, and homemade pies. It’s a favorite spot for locals to gather and enjoy a comforting meal.
Additionally, Penny’s Diner is often featured in travel guides and websites as a must-visit spot for those exploring Rawlins. Its retro charm, round-the-clock service, and delicious menu options make it a standout dining destination in the area.
Penny’s Diner in Rawlins, Wyoming, offers a taste of nostalgia, round-the-clock dining, and a place where classic American comfort food is celebrated.
Whether you’re a local looking for a familiar meal or a traveler seeking a unique dining experience, Penny’s Diner has something special to offer. Don’t forget to add this location to your list of things to do in Rawlins.
2005 Daley St, Rawlins, WY 82301, United States
4. Carbon County Fair
The Carbon County Fair has a rich history and several intriguing facts that make it a cherished annual event for the community. The fair, established in 1899, holds the distinction of being Wyoming’s oldest county fair.
It has a long-standing tradition of showcasing the agricultural heritage and rural culture of Carbon County. The fair features a wide range of activities and attractions, including carnival rides, games, and live entertainment. It’s a family-friendly event that draws visitors from near and far.
The fair also hosts a thrilling rodeo, which is a highlight for many attendees. Spectators can witness impressive displays of horsemanship, bull riding, and other rodeo events and experience some new things to do in Rawlins.
In addition to the fun and excitement, the Carbon County Fair plays a vital role in fostering community spirit and bringing people together. It provides an opportunity for locals to showcase their talents in various competitions, from baking to livestock exhibitions.
The Carbon County Fair is a beloved annual tradition in Rawlins, celebrating the region’s heritage and offering entertainment for all ages. It’s a must-visit event for anyone looking to experience the heart and soul of this Wyoming community.
812 E Murray Street, Rawlins, WY 82301, United States
5. Downtown Rawlins
Downtown Rawlins also offers a variety of dining options, from classic American diners to cozy cafes. Be sure to try some local cuisine and savor the flavors of Wyoming.
Downtown Rawlins has a captivating history and several intriguing facts that make it a vibrant and cherished part of the community.
Originally founded in the late 1860s as a Union Pacific Railroad town, Downtown Rawlins grew rapidly, becoming a bustling hub for travelers and commerce during the westward expansion of the United States.
Many of the downtown buildings have retained their historical architecture, giving the area a charming, old-world atmosphere. Strolling through the streets, you’ll encounter quaint shops, local boutiques, and inviting cafes.
The downtown area serves as a focal point for community events and gatherings, including parades, festivals, and local markets. This vibrant atmosphere is a testament to the strong sense of community in Rawlins.
Downtown Rawlins also boasts a variety of dining options, from classic American diners to cozy family-owned restaurants. This makes it a culinary destination for residents, offering them an opportunity to try some different things to do in Rawlins.
Downtown Rawlins is a historical gem with a lively present. Its preservation of the past and embrace of local culture make it a delightful place to explore and experience the unique character of Rawlins, Wyoming.
116 4th Street, Upstairs, Rawlins, WY 82301, United States
6. North Platte River
The North Platte River, a significant waterway in the United States, holds a fascinating history and several intriguing facts that make it an essential part of the region’s heritage.
Historically, the North Platte River played a crucial role in the westward expansion of the United States during the 19th century. It served as a vital route for fur traders, pioneers, and explorers.
The river stretches over 700 miles through the states of Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska. It eventually joins the South Platte River to form the Platte River, which flows into the Missouri River.
The river’s fertile valley has been a lifeline for agriculture, supporting crops and ranching in the region. Its waters provide essential irrigation for farmlands.
Recreationally, the North Platte River is a popular destination for fishing and water-based activities. Anglers visit for its renowned trout fishing, and kayakers and rafters enjoy its scenic beauty and occasional rapids.
The North Platte River is not only a historical treasure but also a valuable resource for agriculture and a recreational haven. Its enduring importance continues to shape the landscape and culture of the American West.
1300 N. Third St., Rawlins, WY 82301, United States
7. The Carbon County Museum
The Carbon County Museum holds a fascinating history and several intriguing facts that make it a cherished institution in the region.
The museum was originally established in 1960. It aims to preserve and showcase the history of Carbon County, Wyoming. It has grown to become a significant cultural and educational resource for residents and visitors.
The Carbon County Museum houses a diverse collection of artifacts, photographs, and exhibits related to the region’s history. These items provide insight into the lives of early settlers, the development of industries such as mining and railroads, and the rich cultural heritage of Carbon County.
The museum also hosts special events, educational programs, and community gatherings, making it a vibrant and engaging center for local culture and history.
Visitors to the Carbon County Museum can explore the rich and storied past of the region while enjoying a variety of exhibits and events. This makes it a must-visit destination for those interested in the history of Wyoming, offering a place to experience unique things to do in Rawlins.
904 W Walnut St, Rawlins, WY 82301, United States
8. Sinclair Refinery
The Sinclair Refinery, situated in Sinclair, Wyoming, has a rich history and several intriguing facts that make it a notable part of the region’s industrial landscape.
The Sinclair Refinery was established in 1924 and has a long history of oil refining. It’s one of the oldest refineries in the state of Wyoming and has played a crucial role in the energy sector.
The refinery is known for its distinctive green dinosaur logo, often seen on Sinclair Oil products. This iconic logo has become a symbol of the company’s presence and a recognizable feature for travelers along the highways.
Sinclair Refinery produces a range of petroleum products, including gasoline, diesel, and aviation fuels. It’s an essential source of these products for the local community and beyond.
The refinery provides employment opportunities in the region and contributes to the economic well-being of Sinclair. Its presence is a testament to the significance of the energy industry in Wyoming’s economy.
The Sinclair Refinery stands as a prominent and enduring entity in the state, with a rich history, a recognizable logo, and a significant role in the energy sector.
100 Lincoln Hwy, Sinclair, WY 82334, United States
9. Jeffrey Memorial Community Park
Jeffrey Memorial Community Park, a beloved recreational space in Rawlins, Wyoming, holds a special place in the hearts of locals.
The park was founded in 1976 and serves as a tribute to the memory of George W. Jeffrey, who made significant contributions to the Rawlins community. It was established to provide a space for residents to enjoy outdoor activities.
Jeffrey Memorial Community Park features various amenities, including playgrounds, picnic areas, and walking trails. It’s a popular destination for families, where children can play, and adults can relax and socialize.
The park’s walking trails wind through lush greenery, providing a tranquil and scenic environment for leisurely strolls. Its well-maintained facilities make it an ideal spot for community gatherings and events.
This community park is a testament to Rawlins’ commitment to providing a peaceful and welcoming space for residents to enjoy nature and engage in outdoor activities. It fosters a strong sense of community among its visitors to try new things to do in Rawlins.
315 W Pine St, Rawlins, WY 82301, United States
10. Seminoe State Park
Seminoe State Park, located near Rawlins, Wyoming, boasts a fascinating history and several intriguing facts that make it a cherished destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
Seminoe State Park area was part of the historic Oregon Trail, a critical route for westward pioneers in the 19th century. The park’s surroundings are rich in Old West lore and have played a role in the nation’s westward expansion.
Seminoe State Park features the vast Seminoe Reservoir. This reservoir provides excellent opportunities for boating, fishing, and water sports. It’s a popular spot for anglers, known for its thriving fish population, including trout, walleye, and more.
The park offers several campgrounds, making it an excellent destination for a weekend getaway. Its stunning vistas of rugged canyons and pristine lakes provide a picturesque backdrop for outdoor adventures, hiking, picnicking, and wildlife viewing.
Seminoe State Park stands as a testament to Wyoming’s natural beauty and offers an ideal setting for those seeking a peaceful escape in the great outdoors.
Seminoe Dam, Rt Unit 30, Sinclair, WY 82334, United States
Rawlins, Wyoming, may not be the first place that comes to mind when planning a vacation, but it’s undoubtedly a hidden gem with a wealth of fun activities and attractive things to do in Rawlins, Wyoming.
From its intriguing history at the Frontier Prison to its natural beauty, Rawlins offers a diverse range of experiences that will leave you with lasting memories.
Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor adventure, or simply enjoying the charm of a small Western town, Rawlins has something special to offer every visitor.