Casper is a city of 59,000 people (2020). If you're passing through the state, Casper is a likely choice for an overnight stop or as a place to find food and supplies before heading to the national parks in the state's northwestern corner or to the forests located to the southeast or to the north.
The city has a few attractions to entertain visitors for a day or so, but the real attraction lies in the surrounding areas, which include some of the state's most interesting historical and natural sites. Independence Rock, South Pass City, Ayre's Bridge, Castle Gardens and two national forests are within a 60-mile (100-km) drive of downtown Casper. The Oregon and California trails once passed through the city and visible signs of their presence can be found within a stone's through of the city's boundaries.
Casper is the largest city and county seat of Natrona county, located in Central Wyoming. The city occupies a valley created by the junction of the North Platte river and the Laramie mountains. Casper is the largest city between Cheyenne and Billings, and between Rapid City and Salt Lake City. The city is the financial and administrative center for a vast region of Wyoming that encompasses some of the state's most important mineral producing areas, especially the oil and gas fields located nearby.
Casper grew up around the ferries that enabled travelers on the Oregon Trail and California Trail to cross the North Platte River. The presence of settlers transiting westward and the growing presence of the US military made the region around present-day Casper a focal point in the late 19th-century war against Native American tribes in the region, many of whom had suffered prior dislocation from the north and east as the US pushed the frontier westward. This conflict resulted in a military battle in which Lt. Caspar Collins perished. As "Collins" had already been used in the designation of Ft. Collins to the south, the settlement on the North Platte became known as "Casper" (changed from "Caspar" thanks to a clerical error). In later years, the arrival of the railroad and the discovery of oil in nearby fields consolidated Casper's relative importance in the region.
Today, the city is a commercial hub for the surrounding region, whose economy is closely tied to energy and mineral extraction business. Casper is the second largest city in Wyoming, after Cheyenne.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Casper, as is typical in the Plains and Rocky Mountains regions, experiences a semi-arid, continental climate. Precipitation is relatively low year-round, and summers are hot, while winters are cold.
- 1 Casper–Natrona County International Airport (CPR IATA). Served by Allegiant Air from Las Vegas and Phoenix, Delta from Salt Lake City, and United from Denver. While it might seem unexpected in an airport this small, lines at security can be long. There is only one security checkpoint and flights to Denver and Salt Lake City seem to leave at the same time, making the otherwise underused airport seem crowded and small. It's best to go through security at least 30 minutes prior to scheduled departure. If you're lucky, your boarding pass will get a stamp from one of the security staff's extensive collection. Travelers report seeing Hello Kitty, Snoopy and various seasonal holiday greetings on their boarding passes, turning them into unexpected souvenirs.
The airport has on-site car rental facilities and it's easy to arrange a pick-up by one of the many hotels that offer shuttle service.
Taxi service is not always easy, if you want to arrange a pick-up, you can call to arrange a pick-up. They'll wait outside after your flight. If you call when you arrive, expect a 20-30 minute wait.
- Casper Cabs, ☏ +1 307 234-8294.
Casper is located at the intersection of Interstate 25, US Route 20/26, and Wyoming State Route 220. Approximate driving times are: 2 hours and 30 minutes south of the Montana border, 2 hours and 30 minutes north of Cheyenne, and 4 hours and 45 minutes east of Grand Teton National Park.
Casper Area Transit is the closest Natrona county has to a bus system. Adult or youth $1.00; senior, disabled, Medicare $0.50; student $0.75; child 5 and under free (Aug 2022).
If you find yourself enjoying a bit too much of Casper's nightlife, you can always call the Tipsy Taxi, a service provided by a coalition of the town's bar owners. A taxi will pick you up and take you home free of charge. They will also come pick you up to take you back to retrieve your car for a substantial discount.
- Tipsy Taxi, ☏ +1 307 234-8294.
- 1 National Historic Trails Interpretative Center, 1501 N Poplar St, ☏ +1 307 265-8030. Thousands of people traveled the Oregon, Mormon, California and Pony Express trails in the 1800s. Their tales are told through the center's interactive exhibits. Free.
- 2 Fort Caspar Museum, 4001 Fort Caspar Rd, ☏ +1 307 235-8462. The museum explores central Wyoming's history, including a reconstructed 1865 military post located at a major river crossing on the Oregon, California, Mormon Pioneer and Pony Express trail corridor.
- 3 Nicolaysen Art Museum, 400 E Collins Dr,, ☏ +1 307-235-5247. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. The Nicolaysen is one of few Wyoming institutions focusing on contemporary arts, showcasing a wide variety of work across multiple media. Together with other galleries in Casper, "the Nic" offers a welcome respite from the constant "Old West" theme seen in galleries throughout the Rocky Mountains. Exhibits showcase the work of local, national and international artists. The Nicolaysen's website offers details about exhibits and opening hours.
- 4 Tate Geological Museum.
- 1 Casper Ice Arena, 1801 East 4th St, ☏ +1 307 235-8484. A permanent indoor ice facility offering year-round skating, with open sessions, figure skating, curling, and hockey.
- Historic Trails West. Feel like the pioneers of the American West by riding historic wagons following the famous Oregon Trail. They offer rides ranging from several hours to several days. Their meeting location is in Casper.
- 2 Hogadon Basin Ski Area, 2500 W Hogadon Rd (atop Casper Mountain), ☏ +1 307 235-8499.
- Fly Fish in the North Platte River
- 1 Eastridge Mall, 601 Southeast Wyoming Blvd (at SW corner of E 2nd St and Wyoming Blvd SE). n–Sa 10AM–9PM, Su 11AM–6PM, maybe longer during high shopping holidays. The only mall in the city, anchored by JCPenney and Target.
- 2 Lou Taubert Ranch Outfitters, 125 East 2nd St (downtown, near Center St), ☏ +1 307 234 2500, toll-free: +1 800 447 9378 (WEST). M–Sa 9AM–5:30PM, Su noon-4PM, holidays differ. An amazing selection of Western apparel and accessories. Want cowboy boots? They claims to have over 10,000 pairs in stock. Also hats, jeans, work shirts, belts, and more, across 9 floors. Very friendly staff. The Taubert matriarch may check that you are being served properly.
- 3 Mountain Sports, 543 Center St, ☏ +1 307 266-1136, toll-free: +1-800-426-1136. M–Sa 9AM–6PM, Su 11AM-4PM. One of the oldest sporting good stores in Wyoming. Helpful, knowledgeable staff and a very good selection of sporting gear, particularly for winter sports. Can provide rental equipment for skiing. A good source of information about local outdoor activities.
- 4 Nate's Flowers and Gifts, 1042 East 2nd Street (at S. Jackson St), ☏ +1 307 266-2300, toll-free: +1 800-845-9006. M–F 8AM–5PM, Sa noon–5PM, Su closed. Capable and well-regarded local florist. Just the place if you want a bouquet of stargazer lillies for your spouse's anniversary on short notice. Friendly, helpful staff. Bouquets $20 and up.
- 307 Metal Works, 225 S David St, ☏ +1 307-333-5840. A gallery of practical but pretty metal art, like tables, stools, light fixtures, and wall hangings. Many feature the number "307" or a bronco motif, meaning Wyoming. They are the arts offshoot of an oil-industry metal fabrication business, which leads to interesting gallery conversations. Eager to do custom work.
- 1 Fire Rock Steakhouse, 6100 E 2nd St, ☏ +1 307 234-2333.
- 2 Dsasumo, 320 W 1st St, ☏ +1 307 237-7874. Thai, Asian, sushi.
- 3 La Costa Mexican Restaurant, 600 East 2nd Street, ☏ +1 307 235-6599. Su–Th 11AM–9PM, F Sa 11AM–10PM. The big yellow and orange building is matched by the spacious and friendly interior. The Mexican food is conventional but well-executed and generous. Plenty of vegetarian options. entrees $10–16.
- The Office Bar and Grill, 520 S Ash St, ☏ +1 307-265-2616. Very communal.
- 1 MainStay Suites, 551 Granite Peak Dr, ☏ +1 307 472-5189. Extended-stay hotel.
- 2 Quality Inn and Suites, 821 North Poplar, ☏ +1 307 266-2400. Extended-stay hotel.
- 3 Super 8 Casper/West, 3838 CY Ave, ☏ +1 307 266-3480. Budget minded hotel.
- 4 Hilton Garden Inn, 1150 North Poplar St, ☏ +1 307 266-1300. Reliable, predictable chain motel near the Events Center.
|Routes through Casper|
|to Billings ← ends ← Buffalo ←||N S||→ Douglas → Cheyenne|
|Yellowstone N.P. ← Thermopolis ←||W E||→ Douglas → Valentine|
|Grand Teton N.P. ← Riverton ←||W E||→ Douglas → Scottsbluff|