This Underrated Wyoming State Park Is A Must Visit For Wildlife Lovers

Wyoming is famous worldwide for its wide open spaces, wildlife, and iconic natural landscapes. All of these attributes can be found in Yellowstone National Park, the oldest and one of the most-visited national parks in the United States. However, Wyoming is much more than Yellowstone, and it is more than its other major draws, like the romantic Jackson Hole and secret-filled Grand Teton National Park. If you're looking for a truly underrated part of the "Cowboy State," head to Bear River State Park in Evanston.

Where Yellowstone National Park sees massive traffic from tourism, Bear River is an altogether less hectic experience. Bear River State Park may not have Yellowstone's thermal pools or geysers, but it does have plenty of wildlife and plenty of trails to explore, and that all-important break from the national park crowds. Take your pick from outdoor activities that change with the seasons, or perhaps visit during one of the park's special events. What's more, Bear River's location in Wyoming's southwest corner makes it a convenient addition to a northwest national parks and wildlife road trip itinerary.

Visit in spring and summer to see bison calves

The animals that call Bear River State Park home include a handful of regional favorites like moose, elk, and antelope. Majestic bald eagles can also be spotted here, along with other stunning birds like red-tailed hawks and great-horned owls. Though the elk and bison herds here are considered captive, they have plenty of space to roam and remain visible to park guests. These bison can breed, too. Visit from mid-April to early July for the best chances of seeing adorable bison calves. The park has trails where these gorgeous animals can be seen, with trails located on both sides of Bear River. You can even follow the trails to the Bear River Greenway, which leads to the Bear River Ponds and downtown Evanston.

Bear River itself is another highlight of Bear River State Park. You can throw in a line at this river and try your hand at catching trout or mountain whitefish. Swimming is also allowed in the river, and the best time to swim here is during the summer months, as the water often moves quickly during spring. Around 3 miles of Bear River is within the park's boundaries for all to enjoy.

Bear River State Park is also fun during the winter

Snowfall at Bear River State Park creates the perfect environment for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or sledding down the Buffalo Run sledding hill at the park's visitor center. Year-round, the visitor center has taxidermy mounts of species found within Bear River State Park and elsewhere in Wyoming, like black bears and grizzly bears. Getting up close to these artifacts can show you just how massive these animals are. At the center, you can also learn more about Wyoming's wildlife, local Native American tribes, and geological artifacts, and buy souvenirs to take home. If you are visiting with a large group, head to the visitor center to reserve one of the park's shelters. If you're tying the knot, Bear River can even be used as a wedding venue!

Bear River State Park is open year-round but closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. For an extra special visit, check the park's calendar for events, as Bear River State Park hosts outdoor movie nights, educational talks, and the popular Bear River Mountain Man Rendezvous. This family-friendly event takes place during the weekend before Labor Day. Crafters bring their handmade western and frontier-themed items to sell during this extravaganza, and attendees can compete in bow and arrow shooting.