Wyoming offers a challenge to those who are willing to accept it in the winter months. That challenge is to brush off the cabin fever by experiencing the epic thrills this region of the west has to offer. Whether you are outdoor or indoor, Sheridan County has ample opportunity for you to find your new favorite hobby. Here are eight things to do during the months of the wintry wild west.
For something close to home in Sheridan and multiple points of access, the Sheridan Pathways offers a great location to bike, jog, or walk your dog. These paved pathways are maintained throughout the winter months to help folks get out there and stay active. With more than one starting point, Sheridan Pathways offers an opportunity to change up the direction of your wintertime recreation. Watch Go Fast Don’t Cry on the Sheridan County Travel & Tourism page and grab a map to get the lay of the land. These 13 miles of trails can help lay the foundation of endurance needed to play in the Backyard of Bighorn Mountains during the summertime.
There’s nothing better than hitting a biking trail in the Bighorns, but as temps get colder all good summer things must come to an end. On the other hand, with a fat bike trail riding does not have to end. Either renting or buying a fat bike from the lovely folks of Sheridan Bicycle Company unlocks the experience for all 12 months of the year. Fat biking can be a fun way to exercise in the winter time and help you explore a new way to traverse the snow. Cutler Hill, which is a Nordic ski trail, is a great place to experience the fun of fat biking. Another trail to try out is The Green Room Trail which is at Malcolm Wallop Park and is also accessible from the Sheridan Pathways.
In traditional forms of wintertime outdoor recreation, Antelope Butte Mountain Recreation Area with its 23 runs and 1,000 feet vertical rise does not disappoint. Being just 62 miles away from Sheridan on the US14 highway, a day of mountain play is not out of the question for locals and visitors alike. If you have not been skiing before, then try out of Antelope Buttes private, or semi-private skiing classes to avoid being called a Jerry this winter season. In between runs, a stop in the lodge is a good place to warm up and refuel. Either rent or bring your own skis/snowboard to experience the blood pumping adrenaline rush of downhill skiing in The Bighorn National Forest.
Another way to experience the slopes of the Bighorns is through Nordic skiing. There are 2 trails on the north end of the Bighorns and they are both in close proximity to each other. Cutler Hill and Sibley Lake Nordic ski trails being just a couple miles apart can create a day of endless entertainment. Cutler Hill elevation ranges from 8100’ to 8600’, and runs approximately 3 miles. Dogs are permitted on this trail. Blue diamonds on the trees with maps at trail intersections makes the trail easy to follow. Sibley Lake trails elevation ranges from 7700’ to 8400’ with 15 miles of trails. Like Cutler Hill, Sibley has blue diamonds on the trees and directional maps at the intersections making it an easy trail to follow. Both of these trails combined boast 18 miles of ski trail adventure to get the winter sport fix.
As the fall comes to a close and winter sets in, fishermen find themselves out of a hobby until the spring comes back around. While this may be the case for the fair weather fisherman, the true diehards are bundling up and hitting the hard water. There are benefits to being on the water when it is frozen over such as fishing a spot you would otherwise need a boat for and less traffic on the water. With opportunities such as Lake De Smet, Sibley Lake, Kleenburn Pond, Tie Hack Reservoir, etc. you can be sure to find a spot to break your personal best. With great fun comes great responsibility. Make sure to practice ice safety by checking the thickness of the ice (at least 4 inches or more) and blue to clear ice being the strongest is present.
While during the winter ice fishing season comes into popular demand, fly fishing still holds a place for folks who just can’t get enough. Streams in Sheridan County can remain unfrozen and consistently moving making fly fishing possible, but challenging. The Tongue River in Tongue River Canyon is a popular destination to hike and fish while remaining open in the winter time. Steady rapids and moving water helps the water from freezing over and a location to try your hand at pulling in that winter time catch. Other streams like Little Goose Creek, or Big Goose Creek can be other options for fly fishing in town.
If high octane speed and mountain views across frozen terrain is the level of adventure that peaks your interest, then look no further than Sled WYO. Experience the mountain in a whole new way through their backcountry tours, scenic tours, and clinics. If you are a pro on a snowmobile, or have never touched a sled a day in your life, Sled WYO can accommodate you. Sled WYO also offers rental pick-up, drop-off, and trailer rental if needed. Either way, the thrills of snow machining can be felt through the elevation gained in the Bighorn National Forest.
If the summertime vibe that rodeo brings is something that you are missing out on during these long winter months, take a look into WYO Winter Rodeo. This rodeo is an event of epic proportions and skijoring is at the forefront. Skijoring is a competition in which a horse and rider pull a skier along a course that has gates, jumps and rings. The competitors race for cash, buckles, and other prizes. The course allows the horse to run at top speed with the skier navigating slalom gates and jumps ranging from two to seven feet high. Competitors often use short skis and modified water-skiing towing equipment, though often this is as simple as a single tow rope looped around the horn or attached to the back of a western saddle. The horses are equipped with safety gear such as splint boots and bell boots. Western saddles are most commonly used in skijoring due to their sturdy build and pulling ability.There are six sections to the WYO Winter Rodeo including Open, Sport, Novice, Youth, Century and Snowboard to the competition making it an all day event.
Taking a Class
If you are looking to beat the cold and stay indoors, taking a class at The Cottonwood Kitchen + Home or Verdello Olive Oil & Fine Foods might be the option for you. At Cottonwood Kitchen, you are going to need to turn the stove top down to a simmer as you create some soups for two in the new year on 1/27/2024 with their soup class. You will create soups in pairs of two and learn by doing while taking the class. Crank up the heat on 2/02/2024 with some wing sauces that are sure to rank your super bowl party dish as the real MVP. At Verdello Olive Oil & Fine Foods, get a taste of Italy on 1/13/2024 and experience a dish like Cecamariti Maple bourbon Crème brûlée. Don’t stop there, catch the class on the Mediterranean way for health on 1/27/2024 to learn some skills from a registered dietitian. Register for your classes as soon as possible as they tend to fill up quickly and visit both Cottonwood Kitchen and Verdello’s websites to see what other offerings are available.
Seeing a Live Show
As the winter time seems to bring everything to a halt, the show must go on! WYO Performing Arts and Education Center offers an array of performing arts like music,dance, and other popular acts to attend and see as the temperatures drop. The WYO was originally built in 1923 as the Lotus, a vaudeville theater. The theater entertained Sheridan families for nearly 60 years with both live performances and films before closing its doors in 1982. Its future uncertain, the theater seemed destined to become just another main street memory.
Faced with the loss of this venerable landmark the citizens of Sheridan came together to rescue the building. Community leadership coupled with the generous gifts of time and money by individuals, businesses, and private foundations not only saved the theater but also renovated it to become an architectural centerpiece and important performing arts facility for downtown Sheridan. Since reopening in 1989 as a roadhouse, the WYO has brought countless hours of live entertainment, cultural enrichment, and educational opportunities to the greater Sheridan community. Buy tickets online and support a local act.
Piper Steinmetz | Sheridan County Travel & Tourism | December 11, 2023