Many adventurers have the Grand Canyon, Hawaii, and Yosemite on their bucket lists. However, many underestimate the incredible beauty and simplicity of destinations like the lakes in Wyoming. If you’re tired of fighting crowds and dealing with traffic, you might consider adding some of the lakes in Wyoming to your bucket list.
Today, we’ll look at several lakes that we think deserve to be on your Wyoming bucket list. Whether you enjoy playing in the water or photographing it, these can be great spots to visit. Let’s dive in.
How Many Lakes Are There in Wyoming?
While Wyoming may not be known as the land of 10,000 lakes like Minnesota, it is home to more than 4,000 lakes and reservoirs. The many lakes add to the incredible natural beauty of Wyoming. Due to the various topographical changes around the state, you can find lakes at many elevations.
While you may think of Florida, California, or Hawaii when it comes to beaches, the lakes in Wyoming offer some great beaches too. They may not have palm trees or crashing waves, but the snow-capped mountainous landscapes provide the perfect backdrop for your aquatic adventures.
What Is the Clearest Lake in Wyoming?
If you want to experience the clearest lake in Wyoming, you’ll need to head to Grand Teton National Park. This gorgeous and out-of-this-world national park is where you’ll find Jenny Lake.
This beautiful lake is one of the clearest and cleanest lakes in the world. It’s a fantastic spot to do some fishing, go swimming, or paddle around on a stand-up paddleboard.
You can spend all day watching and listening to the small waves bump up against the shore. Additionally, several great hikes near and around Jenny Lake provide incredible views.
You can even hike to some backcountry campsite and stay a few nights camping near this lake. Just make sure you get a backcountry permit before heading out.
It’s also important to note that this is a very popular area for hiking, and the parking lots in the area fill very quickly. You want to arrive before 9 a.m. to snag a parking spot, especially if you visit during the peak season when it can feel a bit chaotic.
Can You Swim in Lakes in Wyoming?
If you enjoy swimming, lakes in Wyoming are a great place to do it. However, it’s important to note that the temperature of many lakes will be chillier than you might expect.
For example, Jenny Lake, a popular swimming spot at Grand Teton National Park, has a water temperature of 55 degrees at the start of July. Water temperatures in many of the Wyoming lakes rarely get above 60 degrees. However, these chilly waters can feel refreshing after conquering a challenging hike in the summer.
Add These Lakes in Wyoming to Your Bucket List
Wyoming has many great lakes, including several we think you should add to your bucket list. Let’s take a look at some spots you won’t want to miss on your next trip to Wyoming.
Alcova, Wyoming (South-central Wyoming)
The Alcova Reservoir covers approximately 2,470 surface acres and is a great spot for aquatic activities and hiking. It has six campgrounds, half reservable and half first-come, first-served.
Besides the natural beauty, you’ll also find a Dinosaur Interpretive Trail, the Alcova Dam and Power Plant, and Seminoe Reservoir. The lake and its canyons offer some incredible fishing and adventure opportunities. This is a great spot to visit and explore if staying near Casper, Wyo., which is about 45 minutes northeast of the reservoir.
Kane, Wyoming (Northern Wyoming)
Bighorn Lake stretches the entire 72 miles of Bighorn Canyon. The lake is the result of the construction of the Yellowtail Dam near Fort Smith, Mont., in 1965. It has a surface area of 5,574 acres and has consistent streamflow due to the dam.
Bighorn Lake has over 40 miles of shoreline in the state of Wyoming. You have plenty of opportunities for just about any aquatic activity, including fishing.
The lake is also home to a warm-water fishery with catfish, sunfish, and other warm-water fish. You can also find areas with cold-water species like trout and whitefish. Fishing is popular all year, including ice fishing in the winter.
Shoshoni, Wyoming (Central Wyoming)
Boysen Reservoir has approximately 20,000 surface acres and 77 miles of shore. The deepest spot in the lake is 117 feet deep. It’s great to enjoy wildlife, aquatic activities, and hiking.
You can stay at one of the nearby campgrounds and spend several days exploring and experiencing the beauty of the reservoir. Brannon Campground also has a designated swimming beach on the lake’s northern end.
Buffalo Bill Reservoir
Cody, WY (Northwest Wyoming)
Buffalo Bill Reservoir resulted from the construction of Buffalo Bill Dam. The reservoir sits about 6 miles upstream from Cody, Wyo., and 44 minutes east of Yellowstone National Park.
It’s a great place to do some fishing and enjoy the views, especially if you want to check out Yellowstone. You can catch a variety of trout that enjoy the 8,000 acres of cold water.
If you want other activities at Buffalo Bill Reservoir, you can also go horseback riding, big game hunting, hiking, and horseback riding. The reservoir is also a popular spot for windsurfing.
Flaming Gorge Reservoir
Flaming Gorge Reservoir has a surface area of 42,000 acres, a depth of 436 feet, and is the largest reservoir in Wyoming. It is a part of the 207,000-acre Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. It extends 91 miles long and lies within Wyoming and Utah.
Visitors to the reservoir enjoy tubing, water skiing, wakeboarding, and many other exciting aquatic activities. However, many also enjoy kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and fishing for a more relaxing time.
You’ll also find miles of hiking and mountain biking trails along the reservoir. Like many of the lakes in Wyoming, fishing for trout and other coldwater fish is popular.
Pinedale, Wyoming (Western Wyoming)
Fremont Lake is the second-largest natural lake in Wyoming. It’s 12 miles long, a mile wide, and 610 feet deep and is the seventh deepest lake in the United States. The lake sits at over 7,000 feet, so this high-elevation lake is a great spot to relax, enjoy fresh air, and stargaze.
Water enthusiasts flock to the area for camping, fishing, ice skating, and water sports. If you visit in August, you can enjoy a two-day Sailing Regatta put on by the Pinedale Lions Club. You can rent canoes, fishing boats, powerboats, or a party barge from the lodge. Fremont lake is a great place to spend a day in or by the water.
Glendo, Wyoming (Eastern Wyoming)
Glendo Reservoir is a 12,000-acre and 145-feet deep lake that offers a variety of aquatic activities, including some of the best walleye fisheries in the state. It also has a healthy population of many other fish species. So bring your fishing gear and acquire a fishing license if you plan to spend time here. The reservoir is also a popular spot for water-skiing and other boating activities.
With more than 500 campsites across 19 campgrounds at the state park, you’ll have many options for a weekend camping trip. Additionally, if you want to enjoy the area without getting wet, you’ll find more than 45 miles of mountain biking and hiking trails. You’ll have no trouble enjoying an adventure for anyone in your crew.
Green River Lakes
Pinedale, Wyoming (Western Wyoming)
Green River Lakes is very remote and approximately 50 miles from the nearest commercial services in Pinedale. This area is a part of the Wind River Range and sits around 8,000 feet.
The Green River, a major tributary of the Colorado River, sources this and many other lakes in the region. Green River Lakes resulted from glacial melting. The formation of debris accumulated by the glacier, called an end-moraine dam, prevented water from leaving the valley.
While driving to the lakes, you pass the earliest Dude Ranch in Sublette County, homestead cabins, and many historical markers. It’s like stepping back into time and experiencing the western frontier as settlers explored it.
The Green River Lakes provides opportunities for photographers and hikers. However, it’s important to point out that this area has a very active bear population. Both black and grizzly bears frequent the area. If you plan to hike or camp in this area, you must follow bear-safe practices.
Traveler’s Tip: The town of Green River, Wyo., actually sits roughy two hours south of Green River Lakes. Find out what Green River is famous for.
Are Lakes in Wyoming Worth Visiting?
If you want to escape the crowded tourist destinations, we recommend visiting the many lakes in Wyoming. They can refresh your soul and help you experience nature without all the noise and crowds.
Whether you dive in the waters, catch your next meal, or simply sit on the banks and watch the clouds, it’s a great option we think you should consider when in Wyoming.
Which Wyoming lake will you visit next? Tell us in the comments!
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