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Gillette is a city in Northeast Wyoming halfway between Sundance and Sheridan on I-90. Gillette is a coal mining town with a population of about 33,000 (2020). Because of the coal, oil, and natural gas production, the city calls itself the energy capital of the nation.

Understand

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Visitor overlook platform, next to Eagle Butte Mine

History

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Gillette started as a tent city called Donkey Town in the 1890s, when a railroad line was built. For Edward Gillette's surveying work, the company who owned the line named the town after him. The early days of Gillette were rough, with over a dozen saloons and no church. There are stories of cowboys burning down the jail they were in to flee, a shootout downtown that killed a man, and outlaws in a showdown with officers. Despite all that, it never reached "Wild West" levels of violence and outlaws.

After law and order took hold in Gillette, it became a quiet and small ranching town. Sometimes weeks happen in decades and decades happen in weeks. The sleepy cow town may had little in the way of happenings until the first hints of booms started with uranium in the 1950s. The nuclear programs of the United States made its influence felt slightly, then oil caused more growth in the 1960s.

Coal mining was always present around Gillette, but it was the opening of major coal mines by huge corporations that caused the rough days and rowdiness to return. Fast money, trailers, drinking, drugs, fights, and all sorts of problems happened as the town swelled in size. The city was overwhelmed in every way possible. Jobs paying insanely high wages poured like manna from heaven requiring little more than a pulse until the late 1970s to early 1980s, when job requirements settled in. The energy industries influence was so prevalent the city stopped calling it self nicknames such as Razor City and called itself The Energy Capital of the Nation instead.

During the 1970s, Gillette became known as a rough riding hell hole. A place where drugs were left as tips to waitresses. A place where wives refused to get out of the car upon arrival. A place so bad the media picked up on a term called Gillette Syndrome in a little known psychology paper and turned it into a lightning rod of every ill imaginable a boomtown could experience giving it unwanted attention against the wishes of its author.

Some of it was true, some of it was exaggerated, and some was a media invention. Though like the early days, the boom didn't go on forever. At that time nearly half the housing during was mobile homes until the city stepped in. The city focused on turning Gillette a place based around families, and succeeded in restoring order.

As the money rolled in from the mines, so did the amenities. It seems the city lacks for nothing. Some cities become a company town, others don't. Gillette has some perks found in company towns while remaining a little more true to its origins. Though the city changed, the perceptions did not. No one remembers the sleepy cow town as it passes from memory, but the place no one visited for the hell of it remains burned in, for now.

As for the traveler, throughout its history, Gillette has been a launching point or a place to rest along a journey. Photographer William H. Jackson and painter Thomas Moran went to Devil's Tower in 1892 by horse-drawn wagon, using Gillette for their round trip. Today the city still promotes itself as a good place to stay when traveling between the Black Hills and Yellowstone National Park.

When Custer Battlefield Hiway was built, Gillette became a stopping point. Many motels were built from around the 1930s to about the 1960s on what is now U.S. Highways 14 and 16. Those places lost their significance as the town shifted direction when Interstate 90 was built in the early 1970s.

Culture

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Guns and hunting have always been part of the culture of Gillette. In the past, the great antelope roundup drew hunters from around the country

Gillette is a blue-collar city where you will find tradesmen, coal miners, and a few large sunburned men sporting bushy beards. Mixed in with them are the occasional ranchers, clean shaven with their cowboy hats and shiny belt buckles. Women also dress casually, many still in their work hoodies and nurse scrubs. Suits are so rare that most of the lawyers and politicians don't wear them. Ethnic clothes are almost only worn by foreign tourists.

Politically, Gillette is one of the most Republican places in the country. Bumper stickers read "if you don't like coal don't use electricity" and signs with coal trucks tell residents to stay strong. People openly discuss their dislike of Democrats while also being cautious of some Republicans. A small streak of libertarianism runs through the region due to the culture of independence much of it from those who live out in the county such as the ranchers that want the government to leave them alone. The Green Party has no official presence in the state and Democrats will find themselves massively outnumbered.

In the early 1980s a writer for Playboy famously said "No one comes to Gillette for the hell of it." He wrote of drug abuse, hard work and even harder drinking, and transplants vs natives. Times have changed, but in some ways what he wrote still lingers on. Even the visitor center promotes the city as a stop rather than a destination. If you ask someone where they are from it most likely wont be Gillette. Drugs are a problem visitors will never encounter apart from the rare gaunt-faced creature licking their lips through missing teeth with serious skin problems. They remind everyone the billboards against meth are there for a reason.

With the mining related jobs, ranch history, and western ideas, come the trucks, and not of the small Japanese kind. A car feels small, sandwiched between all the pickups, SUVs, haul trucks, and semi-trucks on the road and in the parking lots.

Climate

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Gillette
Climate chart (explanation)
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Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
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See Gillette's 7 day forecast
Metric conversion
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Windy, cold, and dry. These are the words visitors use to describe Gillette. Keep water handy if you are from a humid climate and always have winter clothes for any season besides summer.

Tourist information

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Get in

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By car

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Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana)

i Between the Black Hills of South Dakota and Yellowstone National Park, Gillette is an excellent place to stop if you are traveling I-90 East or West. Highway 59 connects the town with Montana to the north and Douglas, Wyoming, to the south.

Watch out for deer on the road, especially at night and early in the morning. Sometimes there are carcasses on the side of the road from previous collisions. The saying about a deer in the headlights is real. They will stare at the lights and not move. The pronghorn, seen everywhere, usually don't stop and get out of the way.

By bus

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  • 1 Greyhound, 106 N Hwy 14-16 (outside Boondoggles (Shell Food Mart) convenience store). The bus stop is an outdoor stop, but there is no need to stand in the snow or sun. You can wait around for the bus at the sit down eating area inside the convenience store.

By plane

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Flying directly to Gillette is expensive. If you plan to rent a car or have a ride, a cheaper option is to fly to Casper, Wyoming or Rapid City, South Dakota. Casper and Rapid City are about 2 hr away by car.

  • 1 Northeast Wyoming Regional Airport (GCC  IATA), 2000 Airport Rd (Take US 14/16 and follow it North. Look on the left for the airport sign at the intersection of Old Hwy 59 right after the industrial park.), +1 307 686 1042. 4AM-last evening flight. Previously known as the Gillette-Campbell County Airport the Northeast Wyoming Regional Airport has non-stop service on United Airlines to Denver. All parking including long-term is free. Given how dirty the industrial park and all the work trucks are near the airport it might be hard to imagine how clean the terminal is. It's immaculately clean, well maintained, and completely empty if a plane isn't coming. Take a minute to look around at the art on the walls and the nature scene displays. There's a cafe, ATM, and car rentals in the terminal. Flights in and out use smaller Bombardier CRJ planes so turbulence is more common and stronger. Gillette–Campbell County Airport (Q3274318) on Wikidata Gillette–Campbell County Airport on Wikipedia

Get around

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Map
Map of Gillette

The main roads are 59 (South Douglas Highway or Highway 59) and 14/16 (US Routes 14 and 16 or 2nd Street). All the major business areas and half the interstate exits and on-ramps are located on or right off those two roads. Lakeway, Boxelder, and 4-J are the major arteries inside the city with Skyline (Highway 50) and Southern Drive on the outside.

The oldest parts of the city downtown are laid out in a grid. Roads are called East or West depending on where they are in relation to Gillette Avenue - the middle of the city. Roads going East and West are often named streets. Those going North and South are often named avenues.

A few of the numbered roads are split. It's not possible to travel all the way down a numbered road straight through. This applies to South Gillette Avenue. The downtown portion is north of I90 (Interstate 90). The part south of I90 is a residential area.

By car

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Highway 59

Gillette is best navigated by car. Parking in the city is free and street parking outside the downtown area is usually plentiful. All the major business areas have parking lots. One-way streets are rare. Rentals are available at the airport and near the downtown area.


By bike

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While some bike lanes and paths do exist they are better used for recreation in the summer than as a main form of transportation. People often park RVs, trailers, cars, and trucks in some of the unused bike lanes. Sometimes snow plows push snow to the side blocking both bike lanes and sidewalks. The bike paths separate from the road are not always cleared during winter. Even when the paths are cleared the snow can melt during the day and freeze in the evening creating sheets of ice.

By taxi

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Taxi service in Gillette is slow because of the distances they take passengers. Some services don't give an exact time you will be waiting outside in the heat or snow for a while. Many of the vehicles operating as taxis are dirty and run down as well.

See

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  • 1 Festival of Lights, Saddlehorn Rd (in the CAM-PLEX park), +1-307-686-5187. November-January. Feeling the holiday spirit? Then this massive drive-through Christmas lights display is for you. It has dozens of animated displays, a light tunnel, and many thousands of lights. A short range radio station is setup at the park that plays Christmas music so don't forget to tune in. Free.

Art

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Gillette has over 110 sculptures across the city picked by the Mayor's Art Council and even more at Mount Pisgah Cemetery. Several buildings have large murals including one downtown and another on one of the L&H buildings. On the outskirts of town two water towers in Sleepy Hollow have been painted based on the story Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

  • 2 Avenues of Art, on Gillette Ave downtown and 4-J from Lakeway Rd to Boxelder Rd. While large sculptures and statues are spread across the city many pieces are concentrated on the Avenues of Art. The highest concentration is on 4-J and on Gillette Ave. The 4-J sculptures are best seen by using the bike and foot paths. The sculptures downtown are best seen by walking. Jane DeDecker, Gary Lee Price and Benjamin Victor are some of the notable artists that have had their work displayed. Quality varies from works of fine art made by truly skilled sculptures to school workshop projects of questionable value. Just as the statues are scattered, so is the subject matter. Free.
  • 3 Heritage Center Art Gallery, 1635 Reata Dr (at the CAM-PLEX in the Heritage Center building; use the door near the Energy Hall; once inside go through the second door on the left). M-F 8AM-5PM. The quality of art in the gallery can vary greatly, but since it is right around the corner from the ticket office it is worth a quick look if you happen to already be at the CAM-PLEX. Other than events you will find it empty so you can look at the art in peace. If you enter the Heritage Center on the door next to the Energy Hall directly on the left are pamphlets, maps, and other things for visitors. Free.
  • 4 Sculpture Walk, 804 S Emerson Ave (south garden in Mount Pisgah Cemetery). The Campbell County Cemetery District has a similar program to the Avenues of Art. It also showcases their work for sale while also buying pieces for permanent display. While there are a few sculptures scattered across at Mount Pisgah, the Sculpture Walk pieces are at Inspiration Garden in the southern part of the cemetery. Some of the works are fine art to contemplate the fragility of life while others such as the small Stonehenge replica made of old coal bucket shovels will leave you scratching your head. Free.

History

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This retired haul truck at the Energy Equipment Park is 18 feet tall, 23 feet wide, 65 feet long, and weighs 235,000 pounds. It is small in comparison to modern-day haul trucks in use at the mines
  • 5 Campbell County Rockpile Museum (Museum of the Powder River Basin), 900 W Second St (next to the large pile of rocks on Hwy 14/16), +1 307 682 5723, fax: +1 307 686 8528, . M-Sa 8AM-5PM. The Rockpile was a landmark for cowboys and now it's a landmark for the museum next to. This quiet museum has a mix of objects and information about homesteading, ranching, farming, coal mining, ancient geology, and American Indians. There are a few hands on displays with old items for children, but a few are still interesting for adults. A back room in the main building is used for rotating exhibits and the empty space there in front of the covered wagons is for events and talks. Don't forget to walk outside to the big white building with a garage door. There are more exhibits inside and outside on the South side of the building. $10.
  • 6 Energy Equipment Park (near the CAM-PLEX multi-events center). A large outdoor display of retired coal mining, oil drilling, and agricultural heavy equipment. You can take your photo with a coal haul truck from Jacob's Ranch Mine the size of a house or dragline buckets you could drive a car into. The plaque for one of the tires says it was the largest tire in the world in the early 1990s. Unfortunately many of the pieces of equipment now have graffiti. Also, watch where you step because people don't clean up after their dogs. Free.
  • 7 Gillette Post Office, 301 S Gillette Ave. Philatelic (stamps, postal history, and postal related) fans can see the old Gillette Post Office in the downtown area. You can also check out the local brewery inside. Free. Gillette Post Office (Q5562162) on Wikidata Gillette Post Office on Wikipedia

Overlooks

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Gillette is a contrasting view of trees surrounded by the treeless high plains. Across the city are the many trailers, ranch style homes, and plain commercial buildings. The backdrop is buttes and coal-fired power plants. While perhaps not a majestic sight, these are the characteristics of the city
  • 8 Eagle Butte Coal Mine public viewing area (north of the Gillette-Campbell County Airport on Highway 14-16). Daylight hours. See a working coal mine with haul trucks and other heavy equipment in action. The outdoor visitor area has chunks of petrified wood, a huge coal haul truck tire, a large drag line shovel, and a platform to see the mine west of the highway that splits it. Since the area is unstaffed there is some graffiti on the shovel and tire. Free. Eagle Butte Mine (Q5325038) on Wikidata Eagle Butte Mine on Wikipedia
  • 9 Overlook Park, 2901 Goldenrod Ave (Use Goldenrod in the Foothills area to easily access the upper part of the park.), +1 307 686 5275. 7AM-11PM. One of the highest points in the city for a great view of Gillette north of the interstate. The park is open long enough to allow day or night viewing. Be careful on Goldenrod Avenue when it is icy or there is heavy snow. The road can be steep. Free.

Do

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A common complaint by some locals and many transplants is there is nothing to do. That depends on what you enjoy and are willing to try especially those from big cities.

Generally speaking, Gillette only seems to have two seasons - summer and winter. Most of the events and tours occur in the summer because of bad weather during the winter.

  • 1 CAM-PLEX Multi-Event Facilities, 1635 Reata Dr, +1-307-682-0552, fax: +1-307-682-8418, . CAM-PLEX hosts RV and motorcycle rallies, many rodeos including the National High School Finals, concerts, gun shows, car shows, flea markets, fireworks displays, conferences, and the county fair.
  • 2 Campbell County Recreation Center, 250 Shoshone Ave, +1-307-682-8527. The modern looking rec center has a pool, basketball courts, tracks, and so on; the same you would find at any recreation center or gym. The unique feature is the huge 42 foot tall climbing tower that mimics parts of Devils Tower.
If you need to get away and relax, go to Dalbey Memorial Park, even if it's winter
  • 3 Dalbey Memorial Park, 900 Edwards St, +1-307-689-8369, . 7AM-11PM. Where there is water there is life and with a little help from the city transplanting and stocking it becomes the Gillette Fishing Lake with year round fishing including ice fishing. Besides the water there are several large shelters, a few playgrounds, and restrooms. For sports there are several baseball fields, a football field, a large disc golf course around the lake, a spot for horseshoes, and canoes are allowed on the lake. Signs warn of high bacteria counts so don't plan to swim in it or let your pets in the water. Fishing in Wyoming requires a license which is sold at Rocky Mountain Discount Sports, Sportsman's Warehouse, CBH CO-OP, and Walmart. Free, fishing $14/day nonresident. Dalbey Memorial Park (Q49481684) on Wikidata
  • 4 Gillette Wild, 121 S 4-J Rd, +1 307 687-1555, . See website for current season schedule. Enjoy an ice-hockey game at the Campbell County Ice Arena. The Wild play in the North American Tier III hockey league.
  • 5 Lakeway Learning Center, 525 W Lakeway Rd (It's near the 4 J and Lakeway intersection. Look for the unassuming brown building with a blue stripe on the south side of Lakeway.), +1 307 687 4918. What started out as a mall was bought by the Campbell County School District and turned into the Lakeway Learning Center many years ago. While the center is for the local students it does have public hours where anyone can visit for free. One of the former shops is a children's science center called the Adventurarium. Throughout the indoor courtyard and Adventurarium are whisper dishes, displays of local wildlife feces, optical illusions, and live and stuffed animals. Many of the exhibits are interactive including a large electronic monitor that slides over a virtual human body showing it scanned with a CAT scan, MRI, x-ray, and gamma radiation. It's best for younger kids as adults will find the only real joy available at the science center is watching your children having fun. Free.
  • 6 Red Rock Trails (Go to Northwest Park and take the sidewalk all the way to the top. Then keep going off the sidewalk to an opening in the fence with signs on the hill.). Gillette finally has trails. They are just north of the city and it's entrance is Northwest Park. The main trail is over 12 miles long. Bikes and horses are also allowed. Come see the classic basin bowl scene. Sagebrush, grass, pronghorn and not a tree in sight. While rare, signs do warn of rattlesnakes. Free.

Events

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  • 7 International Pathfinder Camporee, 2910 Doubletree Ln (CAM-PLEX Park). Aug 5-11 2024. The Camporee is finally coming after many years of planning. The city is holding its breath as it will literally double in population during this time as children and their chaperones from the 7th Day Adventists hold their every four years religious event. Every hotel, motel, and RV spot is booked. Warnings were sent out to stock up on food and gas to last for a week. The children are coming to do community service in the city, participate in events at the CAM-PLEX Park, and worship their lord and savior Jesus Christ. The theme this year is going to be learning about Noah. There will be one free show to the general public the day before the Camporee starts.

Annual events

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  • 8 Brew Fest, Gillette Ave (downtown). Regional and local breweries show up and offer their beer right on the street with live music playing in the background. You can hold your craft beer in one hand and play oversized Jenga or cornhole with the other because drinking is allowed in public for the outdoor event. Or use that free hand to get some food from local vendors. Free.
  • 9 Campbell County Fair, 1635 Reata Dr (at the CAM-PLEX), +1-307-687-0200, fax: +1-307-685-6636. Rodeos, bands, animal shows, dog race, tractor pull, and pig wrestling are just a few of the things you can find at the fair. The fair is mostly geared towards two types of people; local ranchers and children. The two meet when the families occasionally wander away from the free stage entertainment through the barn areas to see prize pigs, rabbits, sheep, rams, cows, chickens, goats, ducks, and turkeys. If you didn't grow up on a ranch then inside the Central and East Pavilion is a peek into their world. There is a reason farm kids don't have as many allergies as city kids. You will find out once you step through those doors and all the sawdust, a dozen species of animal hair and feathers, and smells that cling to you for hours being blown by high powered fans hits you like a brick. If you can get past that then walk through the pens and crates, maybe even stop for a show or get a free sample of sheep. While the ranchers are friendly they aren't there to entertain you and go about their business. Free.
  • 10 Charity Chili Cook-off, 1635 Reata Dr (at the CAM-PLEX Central Pavilion). Local businesses, groups, the college, and others try to win your vote with samples of chili and salsa. The Central Pavilion is over 40,000 square feet (over 12,000 meters) and it is completely filled with over 30 booths and a large crowd. While orderly the lines are long so spend time talking to locals while waiting. Booths are sorted by last year's rankings; booth number 1 will be the previous year's winner. The quality of the chili starts off great then tapers off to just good. Beer is available at extra cost and a few booths have offered free beer tickets for stunts such as eating a whole ghost pepper. Money from the event goes to local charities such as the YES House and Council of Community Services. $10.
  • 11 Cupcake Wars, 2101 S 4-J Rd (at the Campbell County Public Library). Inspired by the TV show, Cupcake Wars has over a dozen booths of homemade cupcakes each with its own theme and flavor. Tastes range from unbelievably good to finding out what happens when you let small children put whatever ingredients they want into it. After a massive sugar rush vote who had the best booth and taste. Water, plates, and napkins are in the center on tables. Even though there is no seating you have to eat it there because no one is allowed to wander the library stuffing cupcakes. $5.
  • 12 Gillette Gun Club Gun Show, 1635 Reata Dr (at the CAM-PLEX Central Pavilion), . Every year the gun club hosts a weekend long gun show at the CAM-PLEX. The building it is hosted in is 42,000 square feet and the vendors use most of it. Wyoming is extremely gun friendly. No permits are required at the state level to purchase and own a gun nor register with the state, but federal laws still apply. $5 a day/$10 weekend pass.
  • 13 New Years Eve Buck & Ball Rodeo, 1635 Reata Dr (at the CAM-PLEX Wyoming Center), +1-605-545-7865. Dec 31-Jan 1. Every year the CAM-PLEX hosts the Buck & Ball rodeo. See cowboys from around the region ride bucking broncos and bulls. After the rodeo a ball is held with live country music until the new years starts. $30.
  • 14 Show & Shine, 211 W 2nd St (near the Frontier Auto Museum along S Ross Ave.), +1-307-686-5667. The Frontier Auto Museum hosts a one-day small classic car show in front of their museum. As a bonus their museum is free to visit that day. If you love free car show, it is worth a look. Free.

Golf

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Buy

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The old advice of locals has always been to travel to Rapid City, South Dakota, or Casper, Wyoming, to shop. The biggest reason people say to go out of town is because Gillette doesn't have a classic indoor shopping mall. The only attempt at one failed in the 1990s and was turned into a school learning center. While the old advice is still true, it isn't anywhere near as strong as it used to be as more places to shop have opened up over the decades it has been repeated.

Besides some lack of shopping options one of the major problems Gillette has is overall bad customer service. Every city has places with good and bad service, but Gillette on the whole has a much lower bar for what is acceptable. Even worse, service is random. It can be great or terrible so every shopping experience can be an adventure. Another problem is high prices. Being further out of the way and all the money flowing through the hands of coal miners drives the cost of living up. This leads to some places charging even more than the sticker price (MSRP) for products.

Despite the problems, Gillette is still a hub for shopping to the surrounding area. People travel an hour away to come to Gillette to get what they need.

The major shopping areas are along East and West Lakeway Rd, South Douglas Hwy (Hwy 59), E 2nd St, and S Gillette Ave in the downtown area. Most of the local shops with unique or locally made goods are going to be found downtown. These local shops tend to have much better service as well.

Downtown Gillette is the historic area of the city, lined with local shops and art. Many of the street events take place here
  • 1 Seconds on the Avenue (Downtown), 203 S Gillette Ave (easier to go North on S Gillette Avenue to park on the east side of the road). M-Sa 9AM-5PM. Good prices, varied inventory, and a charitable goal to help the poor and needy of the area. Items are often priced by type rather than individually which can lead to better deals. Books are particularly cheap at 10-15 cents each. Housewares, decorative items, and a few other things that are chipped or missing part of a set are put in a different section keeping the main selection clean, but furniture is often in rough condition. Unusual items often find their way here - autoharps, projection lenses, handmade religious objects from other countries. While helpful, some of the staff are clearly jaded from years of dealing with bad customers.
  • 2 Gillette Avenue (Downtown), Gillette Ave, +1-307-689-8369. The downtown area has a variety of local businesses, cafes, restaurants, and bars. Prices are higher than the chain stores around the city, but they sell things you won't find elsewhere. Some of the buildings are traditional architecture and there are several statues and a mural in the area. Before you go ask the Campbell County Rockpile Museum for their free walking tour pamphlet that explains the history of each building. Keep an eye out for all the statues on every corner.
  • 3 Walmart Supercenter, 2300 S Douglas Hwy (right off Hwy 59), +1 307 686 4060. 6AM-11PM. What can be said? It's Walmart, but it has to be listed because everyone goes here, it's cheap, and they have the biggest selection in town. All the locals extolling the virtues of buying local still go here. Absolutely don't take the south entrance from Powder Basin Center. The severely dented bollards will explain why. It's a combination of a grocery store, general goods store, pharmacy, deli, Gameplay room with claw machines, and tire center. It sells cooked hot food during the day. The pharmacy and deli have different hours than the store. Several other shops are inside including a salon, check cashing, and fast food.

Groceries

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Gillette is a hub for groceries in the area because of the distance to nearby cities.

  • 4 Albertsons, 2610 South Douglas Hwy (in the Powder Basin Center and easiest to see by using Hwy 59), +1-307-686-7352. 5AM-11PM. Albertsons has the best seafood section in town and high prices on everything to match. A sushi maker works in their deli and makes amazing sushi rolls that are sold ready to go in containers. It is the only supermarket with a liquor license. Also inside the store is a staffed Wells Fargo branch and a small Starbucks.
  • 5 Don's Supermarket, 2610 South Douglas Hwy (directly off Hwy 14/16), +1-307-687-1086, fax: +1-307-682-5534. Don's is the only local supermarket in Gillette. They have friendly staff and retro style counters and signs from several decades ago. While the owners probably don't consider that a selling point it really feels like stepping back in time.
  • 6 Smith's Food & Drug, 906 Camel Dr (use Hwy 59 and head east on Camel Dr, but turn right before the high school), +1 307 682 1103. 6AM-midnight. Smiths offers a choice to those averse to Walmart. Besides the typical bakery, deli, pharmacy, and so on, they have one of the very few electric vehicle charging stations in the area. Avoid going here around 3-4PM. That is when the nearby Campbell County High School gets out. There isn't much room on the Camel Dr and it will be clogged with inexperienced young teens rushing to get out as fast as possible.

Eat

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  • 1 Armando's Taco & Pasta Shop, 2700 S Douglas Hwy, +1 307 682 2922.
  • 2 The Coop, 208 W Second St (The Coop is an easy find on W 2nd St. Look for the small building with a huge roof that looks like an old carhop on the North side of the road.), +1-307-257-7460. The Coop's rotisserie chicken is the big draw, but don't over look the pot pie. Their homemade pot pies have about as much in common with a frozen pot pie as homemade mashed potatoes do with instant potatoes out of a box. It comes in a big enough portion enough to fill up anyone but the biggest eaters.
  • 3 Humphrey's Bar & Grill, 408 W Juniper Ln, +1-307-682-0100. Humphrey's Bar & Grill has a wide selection of beer, big portions for lunch and dinner, and a few unique food creations.
  • 4 Pizza Carrello, 601 S Douglas Hwy, +1-307-363-1743, . M-Th 11AM-9PM, F Sa 11AM-10PM. The formerly mobile Pizza Carrello now has their own restaurant with a bar that looks new and clean. They still use a wood fired oven which makes pizzas that have a completely different flavor compared to anywhere else in the city, but at a higher price. While the alternative crowd is still visible families and couples are also showing up. You can also find Pizza Carrello at seemingly every event with their mobile oven. $6-13 personal pizza.
  • 5 Prime Rib Restaurant and Wine Cellar, 1205 S Douglas Hwy, +1-307-682-2944, . M-Th 11AM-10PM, F 11AM-10:30PM, Sa 4PM-10PM, Su 4PM-9:30PM.
  • 6 Roberto's, 10698 S Douglas Hwy, +1-307-682-3850. 5AM-3PM. On Highway 59 just south of Gillette, this little cafe offers simple, cheap, delicious Mexican and American food.

Desserts

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  • Alla Lala Cupcakes and Sweet Things, +1-480-205-9879. $1.50-2.45 each cupcake.
  • 7 Breanna's Bakery, S Gillette Ave (Downtown on the West side of S Gillette Ave.). Doughnuts, cookies, and fudge. Also sells a variety of regular breads. Prices are slightly higher than chain store bakeries, but worth it for the better taste. They sell out quickly, so get there as early as possible.
  • 8 The Ice Cream Cafe, 202 S Gillette Ave (Downtown on the West side of S Gillette Ave.), +1 307 686 8110. M-F 7:30AM-9PM, Sa 10AM-9PM, Su noon-6PM. If there was a noticeable class system in Gillette then the Ice Cream Cafe would be in the higher middle class. As with Breanna's Bakery the prices are a bit higher than chains, but completely worth it for the taste. Forget the imitation frozen deserts, this is real ice cream. Once you have decided on ice cream calories don't seem to matter so skip the small premade cake cones and go straight to their big chocolate dipped waffle cones with a marshmallow stopper at the bottom to prevent leaks. After that it is just a matter of selecting one or more of several flavors of ice cream. The Ice Cream Cafe always seems to have customers, but the line is never long.

Drink

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  • 1 Boot Hill, 910 N Gurley Ave, +1-307-686-6404.
  • 2 Grinners, 5201 S Douglas Hwy (on the corner of the intersection of Hwy 59 and Southern Dr).
  • 3 Rustic 13, 2009 S Douglas Hwy (Inside the Ramada Plaza.), +1-307-686-3000.
  • 4 Sundance Lounge, 1020 E Hwy 14-16 (from I-90 take exit 128, go west ½ mile), +1-307-685-2231. 11AM-2AM.

Sleep

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Gillette has over 2,000 hotel rooms, many motels, and a few campgrounds one of which is in the middle of the city. There are usually plenty of rooms even during summer events. Prices go up and down in the same cycle as the boom and busts come and go.

Hotels

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  • 1 Best Western Tower West Lodge, 109 N US Hwy 14-16, +1-307-686-2210, toll-free: +1-800-780-7234, fax: +1-307-682-5105. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon.
  • 2 Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, 1908 Cliff Davis Dr (From I-90 take exit 126 and go south on Hwy 59. Turn left on E Boxelder Rd then left again on Cliff Davis Dr. It is a large hotel on the left side.), +1-307-686-9576, . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Must be 21 or over to check in.
  • 3 Home2 Suites by Hilton, 1120 Boxelder Rd, +1-307-257-7040, fax: +1-307-363-4980.
  • 4 La Quinta Inns & Suites, 450 E Boxelder Rd, +1-307-686-6000, fax: +1-307-686-6001. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Completely nonsmoking, pool, and free wireless internet. $82-93.
  • 5 National 9 Inn, 1020 E Hwy 14-16 (from I-90 take exit 128, go west ½ mile), +1-844-709-0799. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Amenities include large cable TV, daily newspaper, guest business center, room service, 24-hour coffee bar, outdoor heated pool (seasonal), high speed internet, in-room microwave, and refrigerator. Restaurant, lounge. $49.59, kids 12 and under free, pets $7 pet.

Motels

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  • 6 Arrowhead Motel, 202 S Emerson Ave (right off Hwy 14/16), +1-307-686-0909. Laundry, coffee, fax, WiFi, copy service, and small pets allowed.
  • 7 Motel 6, 2105 Rodgers Dr, +1-307-686-8600, fax: +1-307-682-1938. WiFi, pets allowed, and laundry.

RV parks

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Stay safe

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There is little to worry about in Gillette. Violent crime is rare and visitors are not targets. It is safe to go around the city without fear day or night. The only threat to visitors is the occasional theft. The best deterrent is to lock your car because thieves do handle checks to find things to steal. The police make their presence known at night, especially when the bars let out. During the day, the newly created traffic unit is cracking down on bad drivers. They won't hesitate to stop you. Out–of–state plates will find an extra set of eyes on them, because of previous drug runners caught passing through.

Ignore the occasional beggars along Hwy 59 especially near Walmart. They aren't locals, but drifters passing through. They purposely stick to open private property such as shopping centers. Don't let them sucker you with their cute dogs. Though not perfect, Gillette has many social services including a food pantry, thrift store vouchers, food and rental assistance, job training and placement, soup kitchen, homeless shelter, and so on. If after seeing them you still feel compelled to give to charity, give to the local Council of Community Services or shop at the charity thrift store Seconds on the Avenue which uses it's revenue to fund those programs.

The police in Gillette are extremely quick. Expect them to show up within a few minutes; they are never far. Often the police will render medical assistance first since they are faster than an ambulance. The sheriff's department is as helpful as the police are fast. Both the police and sheriff's office record all interactions with headcams.

Stay healthy

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You can't miss Campbell County Memorial Hospital, just look on the hill for the large off-white blocky building

Gillette has always had a shortage of doctors. Most of the established family doctors won't see new patients, much less visitors. Call around first anyways because they charge less than the walk-in clinics do.

Dentists are especially hard to get into. They almost always refer problems such as chipped and broken teeth to the emergency room at the hospital. The ER can patch you up, for a price, both in time and money. Those coming to the ER with serious problems are seen immediately with no issue, while the rest must wait and wait and wait. Expect to spend at least 3-4 hours if not much longer at the ER for any reason other than a true emergency.

While there are several pharmacies in Gillette, Walmart is usually the cheapest for prescriptions.

  • 4 Campbell County Memorial Hospital, 501 S Burma Ave (use the rear entrance for the ER and Walk-In Clinic; use the parking garage in front for the rest), +1-307-688-1000. For non-emergencies the hospital runs a Walk-In Clinic during the day and unless you have a true emergency it leaves the rest to a several hour long wait at the ER. The cafeteria and cafe are open during the day, but at night you will have to settle for vending machines scattered across the hospital on multiple floors. The hospital has a blood lab, radiology unit with an MRI machine, a heliport for life flights to Denver, maternity, internists, and a psychiatric unit.
  • 5 BestMed Urgent Care, 2201 S Douglas Hwy (Easiest to use S Douglas Hwy. The clinic is in the front and Black Hills Orthopedic & Spine is in the back. Inside they both share one building with no wall so it's possible to park on either side of the building and reach the clinic.), +1 307 370 1574. Urgent Care offers an alternative to the hospital's walk-in clinic.

Cope

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Religious services

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While Gillette isn't an extremely religious place it does offer a diverse range of religious services for a rural community in rural state.

  • 6 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2903 Allen Ave. This LDS church is the Gillette Stake.
  • 7 Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church, 610 S Kendrick Ave (on the corner of S Kendrick Ave and E 7th St), +1-307-267-7189, .
  • 8 Queresha Masjid, 1410 Country Club Rd (a converted house on a long private driveway off Country Club Rd.). The first and only mosque in Gillette and one of just a few in the entire state. Operated by the Khan family.
  • 9 Trinity Lutheran Church, 1001 E 9th St (use either Hwy 59 or E 2nd St (Hwy 14/16) to reach the very tall obvious brick building on the corner of S Gurley Ave and E 9th St), +1-307-682-4886, .
  • 10 St. Matthew's Catholic Church, 900 Butler Spaeth Rd, +1-307-682-3319, fax: +1-307-682-6386. The Catholic church is part of the larger St. Matthew's Catholic Community.

Connect

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As you visit and leave Gillette, keep an eye on the haystack topography of buttes that are everywhere. Carved by ancient water sources, they are topped with rocks called clinker, changed by burning coal on the top
  • 11 Campbell County Convention and Visitors Bureau, 1810 S Douglas Hwy (a small trailer in the north-east corner of the Flying J parking lot on Highway 59 just off of Exit 126), +1-307-686-0040. The visitor's center is a great place for information. Besides being helpful they have many pamphlets and a slick brochure of the area they produce. Coal mine and Durham Buffalo Ranch tours start in their parking lot.
  • 12 Campbell County Public Library, 2101 S 4-J Rd, +1-307-682-3223. The public library has wireless internet access, a free phone for local calls, a fax machine, photocopiers, a microfilm reader, and a 3D printer. With a library card you can access computers with wired internet, a scanner, and a black and white laser printer. A few paintings and sculptures line the east walls and a reading room north has more art, historical displays, and rare books. The library holds regular hands on events for young children and anime and gaming events for teens.
  • 13 Daly Memorial Library, 300 W Sinclair St (go to the Gillette College Main Building front entrance and walk straight behind the reception desk into the commons area on the first floor; the library is on the left near the rear entrance), +1-307-681-6220. The college library is open to the public and uses the same library card system as the Campbell County Public Library. It is much smaller and has less equipment available, but being part of the college gives access to an ATM and a cafe right outside the library. Unlike the county library the computers and internet can be used without a library card. Use the password taped to the top of the monitor to log in. Free.

Go next

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If you are headed east be sure to visit Devils Tower National Monument on your way into the Black Hills National Forest. Mount Rushmore National Memorial is over-rated, but Custer State Park, the Needles Highway, and the various caves of the Black Hills National Forest are all worth checking out.

If you are headed west take Hwy 16 on into Yellowstone National Park. Watch out for bison!

Routes through Gillette
BillingsBuffalo  W  E  MoorcroftRapid City
Yellowstone N.P.Sheridan  W  E  MoorcroftRapid City
Yellowstone N.P.Buffalo  W  E  MoorcroftRapid City
Miles City ← Jct W E ← becomes  N  S  DouglasEnds at


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