This post was originally featured on the Travel Wyoming site.
Off-peak or shoulder seasons can be stupendous times to visit Wyoming — whether you fancy fall colors, smaller crowds, emptier roads, open RV camping or much much more. And one of the best ways to experience Wyoming’s off-season is by RV.
Wyoming has some mighty popular campgrounds that are jam-packed during the on-season, but — if you time your trip just right — these destinations are more easily available during the off-season.
RVing also affords the opportunity to get deep into Wyoming’s magical wilderness where you’ll see mountains, lakes and wild animals right out your kitchen window.
In this post, we’ll unpack a road map to help you discover Wyoming by RV during the off-season. Along the way, we’ll help you lock in on some of the best locales, the best times, and the best rigs to take on your journey.
Wyoming Travel Seasons
Shoulder season — These are the times April-May and September-October when you’ll see smaller crowds, dropped prices and (usually) favorable weather, although snow during these months isn’t uncommon.
Off-season — November-December is the time in Wyoming just after the national parks limit entrance and just before the ski season begins. This is the time to experience Wyoming at its most normal pace and to enjoy activities such as the Old West Holidays in Cheyenne or the Festival of Lights in Gillette.
Low Season — January-March is probably called the low season to keep the secret that Wyoming becomes a locals and die-hards-only mecca during these months. Visitors during Wyoming’s winter months take advantage of the world-class alpine skiing and snowmobiling opportunities that dot much of the state.
Why RVs are Great for Seeing Areas of Wyoming
RVing is one of the best ways to travel to Wyoming because you’re able to bring the comforts of home with you wherever you go. While you can explore Wyoming in many types of campers, an AWD RV with high ground clearance will get you into some of the most spectacular public lands in Wyoming.
Wyoming camping areas are truly the envy of the world. You’ll be able to pull right into these spots and make a home for a reasonable price if you travel Wyoming by RV. RVs also allow you to explore the spaces in between as you travel. Whether you want to check out places like the relaxing small town of Pinedale, WY, the beautiful mountain town of Sheridan, WY or the Wild West town of Cheyenne, WY, a camper will allow you to make stops along the way to your final destination that’ll enhance your trip.
Know Before You Go
During the off-season, a properly equipped RV is a must for staying cozy as you camp. Here’s a list of winter-ready RVs you could check out. Make sure your RVing plans include the following to be winter-ready:
- Heating — Propane heaters are a must if you plan to camp without electrical hookups for long periods of time. Electric heaters are swell when you’re plugged in, but when you’re dry camping they use too much electricity to be practical.
- Tire chains — Tire chains are an important tool to have at the ready in case you need them on a snowy mountain road. You’ll want chains on hand even if you plan to tour Wyoming in the spring, fall, or some parts of the summer because mountain passes can still be snowy during these times.
- Wildlife safety — Watch for wildlife at any time of year on Wyoming roads. During the winter, it’s especially important to be mindful of wildlife as roads get slicker and animals might roam on roads that are less-traveled in the off-season. If wildlife viewing is part of your adventure, be sure to stay at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves and at least 25 yards away from all other wildlife.
- Plumbing protection — Four-Season RVs usually feature things like heated water tanks and extra insulation to keep you and your rig from freezing up.
- Electric RV sites — While camping without hookups will get you into Wyoming’s wild depths, it can be tough to keep your RV from freezing up in bitter cold if you don’t have steady electricity.
By having an RV site that comes with an electric hookup, you can run electric heaters and your propane heater to keep things rolling.
Six Amazing Places to Explore
Wyoming is a wild state where there’s strong potential for quick weather changes that can have a dramatic impact on road conditions and can even cause closures. That’s why it’s important to have these ‘Know Before You Go’ tips before you embark on your journey.
As long as you plan ahead for responsible travel, these 6 spots are musts during Wyoming’s shoulder/off-seasons:
1. Yellowstone National Park
During the shoulder seasons, most of Yellowstone National Park is open but will feature smaller crowds and (generally) better prices in the surrounding towns. During off and low season, be mindful of Yellowstone’s closure dates. For example, most sections of the park open around June 22nd, but closure dates range from early September to November depending on which section of the park you plan to head into.
If you’re properly equipped, seeing Yellowstone during snowy months can be the experience of a lifetime while you enjoy activities like wildlife spotting and snowshoeing in a white wilderness.
NOTE: Generally speaking, the only way to access Yellowstone itself in the depths of winter is via guided tour.
Please also note thatMammoth Campground is the only campground open year-round in Yellowstone. For other winter camping options, check on open dates for some of the private RV parks listed here.
Rent this rad campervan to reach parts unknown around Yellowstone.
2. Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park is open year-round but does have some major road closures during the winter that you’ll want to plan around. The park features vistas of one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world. RVers in the off-season often see same-day availability at Teton campgrounds that are otherwise booked out years in advance for the high season.
This spacious rig for rent will allow you and the whole family to enjoy the Tetons.
3. The Snowy Range
Be sure to enjoy the Saratoga Hot Springs as you post up at one of the many free campsites within the national forest. Note that the byway is generally closed from December-May, so the Snowy Range is a place best visited in the shoulder seasons if you want to beat the crowds.
Rent a truck bed camper like this one to bring the comforts of home with you deep into the forest.
4. Devils Tower National Monument
Devils Tower National Monument is a jaw-dropping monolithic geological feature that rises 867 feet above Wyoming’s rolling prairie and can be visited virtually any time of the year.
Off-season will allow you to enjoy the tower with fewer crowds and to experience one of the most sacred spaces for local tribes.
Get this RV delivered to your campsite to have a basecamp as you explore the Devils Tower area.
5. Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area
Tucked into Wyoming’s southwest corner, Flaming Gorge features towering red canyon walls, arid green forests and a massive lake that’s a hub for anglers and watersports enthusiasts alike.
RV camping abounds in this 207,000-acre national area. Visit in the off-season to enjoy activities like ice fishing and snowshoeing.
Rent this 4×4 sprinter campervan to get anywhere you want to go within Flaming Gorge.
6. Lander/Sinks Canyon State Park
Located in Wyoming’s beautiful Wind River Mountain Range, this state park and the nearby town of Lander, WY are fun RVing destinations any time of year. Sinks Canyon features world-class rock climbing, hiking and its namesake canyon. ‘Sinks Canyon’ is formed where the Popo Agie River disappears into a limestone cavern only to reappear ¼ down the way as a placid pool filled with 8-12 pound trout.
Rent this bunkhouse camper to take the kiddos on a fun adventure.
RVing in Wyoming for the off-season months is a special way to see the wide variety of outdoor activities and landscapes that The Cowboy State has to offer. You can beat the crowds, enjoy having the comforts of home with you at all times and see well-known sites in a different light.