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Explore Cheyenne, Wyoming: Hiking, horseback riding, bison and more

Cheyenne — the 150-year-old capital of Wyoming — captures the spirit of the Old West. From exploring rock formations at …

Cheyenne — the 150-year-old capital of Wyoming — captures the spirit of the Old West. From exploring rock formations at Vedauwoo Recreation Area to horseback excursions at a ranch, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the popular warm-weather retreat. Now all you need is a proper a cowboy hat.

Behold bison: At the Terry Bison Ranch (51 E. I-25 Service Road, 307-634-4171, terrybisonranch.com) — which contains 30,000 acres of rolling hills and lush grasslands — get up close to a herd of grazing bison from aboard a slow-moving train, and even have them eat molasses pellets from your hands.

Rock star: View ancient rock formations at Vedauwoo Recreation Area (I-80 Exit #329, 307-745-2300, vedauwoo.org), a destination for hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking and camping.

Hit the trails: The Bit-O-Wyo Ranch (reservations required for all activities; 470 Happy Jack Road, 307-638-6924, bitowyoranch.com) is known for its scenic trail rides, escorted by the ranch’s experienced wranglers. On Friday and Saturday evenings, you can also head in doors for the Horse Barn Cowboy Dinner Show with the Bit-O-Wyo Blue Water Cowboy Band and the Bit-O-Wyo Horses.

Botanic beauty: Explore the different landscapes, gardens and plant collections at the 9-acre Cheyenne Botanic Gardens (FREE admission; 710 S. Lions Park Drive, 307-637-6458, botanic.org). Its nearly 30 specialty areas include a cactus garden and solar greenhouse. The Paul Smith Children’s Village (616 S. Lions Park Drive, 307-637-6349) is also home to a natural wetlands.

Back to the frontier

Held every July, the Cheyenne Frontier Days (July 21-30; 1210 W. Eighth Ave., 800-227-6336, cfdrodeo.com) is the world’s largest outdoor rodeo and Western celebration and more than 120 years strong. There’s plenty of rodeo action, from bull-riding and barrel racing to steer wrestling and team roping. Also find a variety of Western entertainment, including concerts, parades, carnival rides, a chuckwagon cookoff and a pancake breakfast.

While you’re there…

Eat…: The Senator’s Steakhouse (51 I-25 Service Road E., 307-634-4171, terrybisonranch.com) at Terry Bison Ranch serves classic Western cuisine like bison ribs and Rocky Mountain oysters. At 2 Doors Down (closed Sundays; 118 E. 17th St., 307-634-6008, 2doorsdown.net), Cheyenne natives Jerry and Sandy Inniss serve up fries and gourmet burgers in a historic downtown building.

…and drink: Imbibe in the local craft brew scene at the five-year-old Freedom’s Edge Brewing Company (1509 Pioneer Ave., 307-514-5314, freedomsedgebrewing.com) and the new Danielmark’s Brewing Company (209 E. 18th St., 307-514-0411, danielmarksbrewing.com), located in an old carriage house. Or relax with a brewed tea — and a scone — at RX Tea Time (open Saturdays and Sundays; 1605 Pebrican Ave., 307-461-1574, rxteatime.com), which offers a tea room experience modeled after the Victorian era.

Road to history: The Cheyenne Depot Museum (admission $8 adults, $7 seniors and military, FREE ages 12 and under; 121 W. 15th St., 307-632-3905, cheyennedepotmuseum.org) is home to exhibits and interactive displays that showcase the history and romance of the railroad. To learn more about the capital city, hop on board the Cheyenne Street Railway Trolley (operates May-September, $12; cheyennetrolley.com) for a 90-minute narrated tour.

Where to stay: Situated on 80 acres of Wyoming prairie, within walking distance of Wyoming’s state capitol building, Little America Cheyenne (2800 W. Lincolnway, 800-445-6945, cheyenne.littleamerica.com) offers nearly 200 guest rooms, as well as a nine-hole golf course and a heated outdoor pool.

Adrienne Jordan