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Equality State, Cowboy State™
The State of Wyoming is located in the western region of the United States. The majority of the state is dominated by the mountain ranges and rangelands of the Rocky Mountain West, while the easternmost section of the state is a high altitude prairie region known as the High Plains. The tenth largest U.S. state by size, Wyoming is the least populous, with a U.S. Census estimated population of 522,830 in 2007. The capital and the most populous city of Wyoming is Cheyenne.
The Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming. The state is a great plateau broken by a number of mountain ranges. Surface elevations range from the summit of Gannett Peak in the Wind River Mountain Range, at 13,804 feet (4,207 m), to the Belle Fourche River Valley in the state’s northeast corner, at 3,125 feet (952 m). In the northwest are the Absaroka, Owl Creek, Gros Ventre, Wind River and the Teton ranges. In the north central are the Big Horn Mountains; in the northeast, the Black Hills; and in the southern region the Laramie, Snowy and Sierra Madre ranges.
The Snowy Range in the south central part of the state is an extension of the Colorado Rockies in both geology and appearance. The Wind River Range in the west central part of the state is remote and includes more than 40 mountain peaks in excess of 13,000 ft. tall in addition to Gannett Peak, the highest peak in the state. The Big Horn Mountains in the north central portion are somewhat isolated from the bulk of the Rocky Mountains.
The Teton Range in the northwest extends for 50 miles (80 km) and represents the most impressive section of mountains in the state. It is home to Grand Teton, the second highest peak in Wyoming, and to Grand Teton National Park, which preserves the most scenic section of the Teton range.
The Continental Divide spans north-south across the central portion of the state. Rivers east of the Divide drain into the Missouri River Basin and eventually the Atlantic Ocean. They are the Platte, Wind, Big Horn and the Yellowstone rivers. The Snake River in northwest Wyoming eventually drains into the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean, as does the Green River through the Colorado River Basin.
The Continental Divide forks in the south central part of the state in an area known as the Great Divide Basin where the waters that flow or precipitate into this area remain there and cannot flow to any ocean. Instead, because of the overall aridity of Wyoming, water in the Great Divide Basin simply sinks into the soil or evaporates.
Several rivers begin or flow through the state, including the Yellowstone River, Powder River, Green River, and the Snake River.
Parks in Wyoming include:
- Yellowstone National Park
- Grand Teton National Park
Recreation Areas in Wyoming include:
- Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
- Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area
National Monuments in Wyoming include:
- Devils Tower National Monument
- Fossil Butte National Monument
National Historic Trails and Sites in Wyoming include:
- California National Historic Trail
- Fort Laramie National Historic Site
- Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail
- Oregon National Historic Trail
- Pony Express National Historic Trail
National Parkways in Wyoming include:
- John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway near Moose, WY
Wildlife Refuges and Hatcheries in Wyoming include:
- Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge
- National Elk Refuge
- Jackson National Fish Hatchery
- Saratoga National Fish Hatchery
The climate in Wyoming is generally a semi-arid continental climate which is drier and windier in comparison to most of the United States with temperature extremes. Much of this is due to the topography of the state. Summers in Wyoming are warm with July high temperatures averaging between 85 °F (29°C) and 95 °F (35°C) in most of the state. With increasing elevation, however, this average drops rapidly with locations above 9,000 feet (2,743 m) averaging around 70 °F (21°C). Summer nights throughout the state are characterized by a rapid cooldown with even the hottest locations averaging in the 50-60 °F (10-14°C) range at night. In most of the state, the late spring and early summer is when most of the precipitation tends to fall. Winters are cold, but are variable with periods of sometimes extreme cold interspersed between generally mild periods, with Chinook winds providing unusually warm temperatures in some locations. Wyoming is an arid state with much of the land receiving less than 10 inches (25 cm) of rainfall per year. Precipitation depends on elevation with lower areas in the Big Horn Basin averaging 5-8 inches (125 - 200 mm) (making the area nearly a true desert). The lower areas in the North and on the eastern plains typically average around 10-12 inches (250-300 mm), making the climate there semi-arid. Some mountain areas do receive a good amount of precipitation, 20 inches (510 mm) or more, much of it as snow, sometimes 200 inches (510 cm) or more annually.
Wording courtesy of http://www.wikipedia.org/
Photos courtesy of Wyoming Travel and Tourism