Oct 05, 2023
Visit Cheyenne For Fall Colors In The Old West
Two legends of Cheyenne - the railroad and the Wrangler. The locals like to say that you can be anywhere in this city in 10 minutes, and they’re not wrong. Cheyenne, Wyoming, is a captured-in-time
Two legends of Cheyenne - the railroad and the Wrangler.
The locals like to say that you can be anywhere in this city in 10 minutes, and they’re not wrong. Cheyenne, Wyoming, is a captured-in-time town where the biggest store sells cowboy hats and boots, Ford F-150s politely wait while you cross the quiet streets, and yes, you can get from one side of town to the other in 10 minutes.
The slow pace, kindness of strangers, and casual jeans-and-boots mentality is a balm when you need to de-stress from city life, and visiting in the fall provides pleasant temperatures and varying terrain to enjoy the aspens and cottonwoods as their color bursts through the pines.
If you travel to Cheyenne in the fall, here are some things to do to make the most of your time in the Magic City of the Plains.
While Cheyenne’s most popular event of the year is Frontier Days, the largest outdoor rodeo held in July, the city plays host to another rodeo event that takes place six times a year: Hell on Wheels. The name harks back to the 1860s when Cheyenne’s residents consisted mostly of cowboys and cowgirls, inebriated railroad workers, ladies of the night, and the lawmen who tried to rein them all in. Today, the event is a world-class rodeo that’s as fun as it is competitive.
And the dinner is just as popular. In a nod to chuck wagons, history’s first food trucks, Cheyenne combines food with fun on September 8, so you can feast on brisket and beans, garlic roasted baby potatoes, and cobbler, then cheer on the barrel racers and bull riders.
Mexican musicians mariachi on a city street
Cheyenne has a rich history, and its cultural influences abound. If you visit in the fall, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in two of them in family-friendly environments.
Cheyenne’s Hispanic Festival, held September 9, celebrates Hispanic culture with educational exhibits, games, mariachis, art exhibits, food and craft vendors, piñatas and lots of kid-friendly activities. Grad your partner to dance, enjoy the food and beer, enter a 50/50 raffle and other drawings, and browse the car show. This event is free and a great way to learn how Latinos have contributed to Cheyenne culture.
Hosted by 15th and 16th Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Christian Church, the Greek Festival returns on September 15 and 16 for its 36th year of food, music, performances, and legendary pastries. This is a good opportunity to check out Frontier Park, then head to the Exhibition Hall for the event.
While you won’t find noisy, big-city bars in Cheyenne, do you really want to? Embrace the relaxed atmosphere and surprisingly versatile music scene on a weekend visit to Cheyenne.
Railspur is a new bar in 2023, and they kick off the weekend early on Thursday nights with Reggae at Railspur. The craft cocktails and local beers are fantastic alongside the gourmet food truck food. Ask your server to tell you about the reclaimed wood and other pieces salvaged from the Union Pacific Railroad. Sit at the bar, where old train car flooring becomes a place to sit your drink.
On Friday nights, head over to Little America Hotel & Resort Cheyenne, where you can be-bop to live jazz music in Hathaway’s Lounge. This is also a great place to stay – it’s just outside of town proper, has plenty of space for kids to expend energy, and despite its sprawling footprint, it feels cozy and welcoming.
No trip to Cheyenne is complete without music and dancing at The Bunkhouse Bar & Grill, the most happening spot on Friday and Saturday nights. Country is king and Rocky Mountain Oysters are on the menu, so don your hat and boots and get ready to two-step.
You’ll want to get outdoors to soak in the fall foliage, and there are plenty of parks, hiking trails, and even the botanical garden where you can maximize your views. Curt Gowdy State Park gives you mountains, desert, and a secret waterfall, and you can take it all in from atop a horse or on your own two feet.
A small portion of Harry Brunk's miniature railroad
You can turn in any direction to find outdoor fun, but not many people know about an attraction that shouldn’t be missed. For a lesson in both history and tenacity, visit the Cheyenne Depot Museum. Make your way upstairs, which is devoted entirely to a 275-ft-long model railroad built by one man over a 30-year period. Harry Brunk had a fascination with the railroad, one he turned into artistry that has become his legend. Modeled after Cheyenne and its neighboring towns and buildings, the exhibit was painstakingly crafted from miniature molds and balsam wood, then hand painted based off photos Brunk took on his drives. The model grew so large that Brunk purchased a mobile home to house it. When it was later donated to the museum, it took 1 ½ years to deliver and reassemble all the parts. Be sure to make time to see this labor of love.
The trolley tour begins in the historic town of Cheyenne.
From the Depot, hop on a trolley tour with the requisite, lore, colorful history, and corny jokes you can’t help but laugh at. You’ll learn all about how the railroad made this a town where cattle barons later settled. You’ll hear about the many contributions of pioneering women as you cruise by the newly renovated state capitol and the Richardsonian Romanesque architecture that decorates the town.
Kids will love feeding the bison on this train tour that crosses from Wyoming into Colorado.
And for a taste of prairie life, the kids will love the bison train tour at Terry Bison Ranch, a narrated, open-air and rickety ride where you can feed bison and see ostriches, Clydesdales, friendly turkeys who pose for photos, llamas, bulls, and prairie dogs. The train crosses into Colorado then back to Wyoming, a kitschy couple of minutes that gives you the full scope of what 27,500 acres looks like. For the full adventure, stay in a cabin for just $150 a night – you’ll get ranch views, a playground, an Old West town, a restaurant, and a trading post, all of which will remind you that Cheyenne does indeed honor its heritage.