Gillette is the population center of the northeastern corner of Wyoming. A significant producer of coal, oil, and natural gas, Gillette calls itself the "Energy Capital" of the United States. Other cities in the northeast section of the state include Sundance, Moorcroft, and Wright. Devils Tower National Monument, one of Wyoming's most popular visitor attractions, is located nearby. Gillette is located along Interstate 90, a major east-west freeway through the northern US.
Whether you find yourself in the area for business or recreation, here are some recommendations for fun things to do in Gillette and Northeast Wyoming.
Jutting up among the surrounding grasslands, Devils Tower is an odd and noteworthy geological formation that demands your attention. America's first national monument, Devil's Tower is sacred to many Native American tribes of the region and is a compelling sight to all visitors. During your visit you can hike, climb, and explore the visitor center.
The Native Americans of the Plains made clever use of the natural landscape for their annual buffalo hunts. Now an active archaeological site, the Vore Buffalo Jump took advantage of a sinkhole in the landscape. Scientists, who have at this point excavated only a small portion of the site, have determined that this particular buffalo jump was in use relatively recently, from about 1500 AD to 1800 AD. The exhibit building at the site is a great place to learn about how American Indians drove the buffalo herds off of the jump as well as how every part of the buffalo was harvested and used. You can also visit the actual outdoor pit and observe the excavations in progress. The Vore Buffalo Jump is located just east of Sundance off of Interstate 90.
Take a Walking Tour of Historic Downtown Gillette
Stop by the Chamber of Commerce or the Visitor Center to pick up a map of the walking tour that will allow you to experience Gillette's history and its local shops and eateries at the same time. Notable buildings include the Gillette Post Office.
This local history museum that takes it's name from the Rockpile, a landmark rock formation, does have a few rocks. The focus, however, is on the history of Gillette and Campbell County. Exhibits at this free museum include artifacts from early homesteading, ranching, and mining days as well as information about the region's current mining industry. During your visit you can watch a film about coal mining.
Keyhole State Park
Located just north of Moorcroft, the Keyhole Reservoir is a popular place for boating and fishing as well as wildlife and bird watching. There are several campgrounds in Keyhole State Park, which are popular with families planning a visit to Devils Tower. Park facilities include a privately-run marina, a picnic area and shelter, a children's playground, and the campgrounds, some of which offer cabins or RV hookups.
Available on weekdays during some weeks of the summer, these guided tours start at the Gillette Chamber of Commerce and take two hours. During the bus tour, you will learn about Wyoming's vast coal reserves, observe massive mining equipment in operation, see the actual surface mine, and get information about the post-mining land reclamation activities. Reservations are required; call the Chamber of Commerce at 307-686-0040.