Touring the Byway
46 Miles | 4 Days / 3 Nights | Gateway City: Gillette, Wyoming
We recommend starting your journey in Gillette, a historic ranching town with a true Western vibe. Learn the story of the Powder River Basin through thousands of artifacts at the Campbell County Rockpile Museum, step back in time and tour two vintage towns at the Frontier Relics & Auto Museum, before spending your first evening relaxing in a charming lodge.
On Day Two, stop in the tiny town of Moorcroft to visit the West Texas Trail Museum, which pays homage to the great cattle migrations of the late 19th century that moved millions of livestock from Texas to northern states and territories. Then head north on WY-14 and WY-24 to visit Devil’s Tower, for one of the greatest monoliths in the country. The sacred Native American site was the first location in the United States to earn a national monument designation. Your accommodations for the night are in a rustic mountain resort.
Explore Sundance on Day Three, the town that gave us the famous Butch Cassidy criminal pal, Harry Longabaugh and his nickname, the Sundance Kid. Take a spectator’s seat at his trial at the Crook County Museum and Art, and visit the Vore Buffalo Jump, a significant Plains Indian archaeological site. Then, head south on WY-585 to enjoy the Black Hills Scenic Byway, a picturesque road winding through the western edge of the Black Hills National Forest.
On Day Four, visit Newcastle’s Anna Miller Museum to view the oldest remaining building from the Black Hills Gold Rush. As you make your way back to Gillette, pause at the Red Onion Museum, which tells the story of the pioneer life of women in northeast Wyoming.
From there, we wish you a safe passage if you’re continuing your journey on another Wyoming Scenic Byway, or a safe and pleasant journey home.
View the Detailed Itinerary below to see the full route, which is complete with dining, shopping, and lodging recommendations!
Standing tall above the Belle Fourche River at 867 feet, this butte of igneous rock was proclaimed by President Theodore Roosevelt the nation’s first national monument. Named Bear Lodge and considered sacred by Northern Plains Indians, Devils Tower today preserves the Native American traditions through educational programs. You can enjoy a 1.3-mile hike around the base to learn about its natural and cultural history, theories about how it was formed, and the connections modern tribes maintain with the site today. The 1935, Civilian Conservation Corps Visitor Center houses the Devils Tower Natural History Association bookstore.
One of the most important archaeological sites of the Late-Prehistoric Plains Indians, this natural sinkhole was used by ancient tribes to corral bison into pits to cut them up for meat. Archeological digs begun in the 1970s uncovered about 10 tons of bones and projectile points at a depth of 15 feet. It is estimated the pit still contains the remains of 20,000 buffalo. A small interpretive center provides more information.
Rated by True West magazine as one of the top six cowboy, cattle and ranching museums in the United States in 2016, the West Texas Trail Museum holds one of the largest authentic collections of artifacts from the West Texas Trail cattle drive era, including saddles, weapons, gear, and items used in everyday life by the cattle drovers, plus mercantile, medical, farm, commercial items, and personal items, clothing, tools, toys, and more from pioneers in the area.
You have to give these folks credit for a totally unique museum name, which displays fossils, Native American items, weapons, wagons, a homestead shack, ranch blacksmith shop, two rural schoolhouses, a caboose, boxcar, windmill, and horse-drawn farm equipment.
Walter K. “Jarbo” Poulson opened the “Red Onion Saloon,” in town before Prohibition, which he later moved to a barn at “Red Onion Ranch.” The community chose the name Red Onion for the museum which tells the story of life in Wyoming for pioneer women and the great lengths they went to in order to care for their families.