Bill Sniffin: Lots To Do In Goshen County, The Welcome Mat Is Out For State Visitors

in Bill Sniffin/Column

By Bill Sniffin, publisher Cowboy State Daily

TORRINGTON — Not long ago, I made a tour of eastern Wyoming was among the most fun experiences of a near half-century in the state.

Nestled between Devils Tower on the north end and Laramie Peak on the south end and the rugged hills and buttes of western South Dakota and Nebraska, is a very special place, stretching from up north to Hulett down to Pine Bluffs on the south.

One of our recent trips involved three wonderful towns, Torrington, Lingle, LaGrange, and Fort Laramie.

It is hard to find a small city in Wyoming that is more diversified that Torrington.

It has a thriving Ag community including the region’s largest sale barn Torrington Livestock Market plus a community college plus a large home for children and the state’s medium security prison. 

One the town’s biggest annual events is the 2-Shot Goose Hunt and we were there for the annual victory banquet Saturday, Dec. 9, 2018.

Then-Gov. Matt Mead was the biggest celebrity at the event, which he told me he enjoys very much.  Former Gov. Dave Freudenthal also competed that year.  And current governor Mark Gordon also competed. 

Hunters compete in teams of two. One year, Gov. Mead and his wife Carol were a team.  They camped out in their blind and saw nary a bird. Mead later quipped at the banquet that night that they had nothing else to do, so they repeated their marriage vows.

During my stay in Torrington in 2019, Director Bob Mayor gave us a tour of the St. Joseph’s Children’s Home, which was started as an orphanage some 89 years ago. Today, they serve young boys and girls who usually are sent to the home by the courts. They usually stay about six months.

The home is impressive.  Its grounds are beautiful and it has a solemn, beautiful chapel.  Its museum is one of the more distinctive in the state.  The home was founded by Bishop Patrick McGovern of Cheyenne.

Our friends Bryan and Donna Cay Heinz showed us around the area, including some fantastic historic homes.  These old homes had crow’s nests on the roofs where presumably you could watch for hostile Indians or just check on things for quite a distance.

It was fun visiting the Torrington Telegram and meeting publisher Rob Mortimore and then-Editor Andrew Brosig.  I have too much ink in my blood not to just love the smells and sounds of the local newspaper.  And the Telegram is a darned good one. 

The 2-Shot and other events were held in some of the impressive Goshen County Fair buildings.  Hard to imagine a town as small as Torrington having an indoor arena of such size. They host national roping events and you can see why. It is both enormous and impressive.

Another big thing in this small town is the Torrington Livestock Market. It is one of three biggest livestock auction barns in the country.  Hard to imagine the number of cows that go through that place each year.

While I was in Torrington, I gave a talk to the local Rotary Club about my trilogy of Wyoming Coffee Table Books. What an outstanding club.  And the meeting was at the clubhouse of one of the prettiest golf courses in the state. 

Eastern Wyoming College is going through a building boom, which we saw courtesy of one of the students.  President Leslie Lanham Travers is a Lander native, whom I had watched growing up in my town.  John Hansen, the director of institutional development, has a number of impressive projects underway.

The college is all-in when it comes to the trades with a massive welding teaching complex and an ample cosmetology facility.

As a student of Wyoming history, it has always been easy for me to assume that the only major railroad in the state is the Union Pacific, which runs across the southern tier of counties.

But the eastern side of the state was literally also built of towns nestled next to the railroad, which includes Torrington, Lusk, Newcastle, and onward north.

And it is important to note that for 50 years, Goshen County was the center of the entire west because it was home to Fort Laramie. Today it has been restored and is an amazing site to visit.  It is a national monument.  Watch your schedule because it closes at 4:30p.m. even though the sun doesn’t go down until 9 p.m. in June.

For a quarter of a century, my wife Nancy and I owned a newspaper in Winner, S. D. and often drove through eastern Wyoming on our way there from Lander.  Also, since we had relatives in Iowa, we often drove through Goshen County on our drives back and forth. The people were always incredibly friendly, the food was great, and the fields were lush.

During one of my stops in eastern Wyoming we also visited Jeff Rose at the Rose Brothers Implement Store in Lingle.  Last time I saw him, he was climbing Devils Tower with his daughter.  Now he is talking about climbing Gannett Peak.  Good luck on that!

Often the sites and sights of Goshen County are viewed more by out of state tourists than in-state tourists.  We would strongly recommend that this is a great time for Wyoming folks to visit other Wyoming folks.  A trip to Goshen County should be high on your list. I highly recommend it.

The Goshen County Economic Development agency put together a list of things to do:

Explore Goshen County’s Historical Markers

Ash Point Trading Post

California National Historic Trail

Cheyenne Deadwood Stage Route

Cold Springs Emigrant Camp

County Line Grave

Dickens Site

Fort Bernard Trading Post

Government Farm & State Station

Grattan Massacre Historical Monument

Griffin-Gardner House

Harvard Fossil Beds

Horse Creek Treaty

Indian Grave, Quarry, and Camp

Jay Em Bison Kill Site

John Henry Museum

Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail

Pony Express National Historic Trail

Rawhide Stage Station

Rawhide Wildlife Habitat Nature Trail 

Red Cloud Indian Agency

Sod House

Stuart Party Camp

Table Mountain Wildlife Habitat

Texas Trail

Texas Trail Marker

The Pioneer Community Center

Three Mile Hog Ranch

United States Postal Service

United States Postal Service

Whalen Diversion Dam

Woodworth Springs

Yoder Home Site

Torrington-Things to Do

Adam Walter Memorial Botanical Park

Basketball Courts

Bird Watching

Bounce City

City Park

Cottonwood Country Club 

Cottonwood Golf Course

Cross the state line

Dale Jones Municipal Swimming Pool

Fishing (90 bodies of water throughout the county)

Frisbee Golf

Geocaching (locations around the county)

Go Goshen Visitor Center

GoGoshen Visitor Center

Goshen County Fair Grounds

Goshen County Library

Goshen County Sportsman’s Club

Grass Roots Walking Trail

Gravity Rail Park

Hiking

Homesteader’s Museum

Jirdon Park

Nebraska State Line

North Platte River

Oregon Trail Historic Trail’

Packer Lake

Picnicking

Pioneer Park

Pleasant Valley Greenhouse & Recreation

Rendezvous Center & Indoor Arena

Stargazing

Table Mountain Vineyards

Tennis Courts

Torrington Cruise Night,  June-September

Torrington Livestock Markets

Torrington Rock Shop

Torrington Skate Park

Torrington Sports Complex

TravelStorys Tour

Walk your Dog

Wyoming Theatre Two

Standing Events

2 Shot Goose Hunt

3rd Thursdays

Ag Breakfast

Car Show

Christmas Festivities

Christmas Parade

Comedy Night

Easter Egg Hunt

Forks Corks & Kegs

Goshen County Fair

Holiday Bazaar

Lions Club Summer Arts and Crafts Festival

National Circuit Finals Steer Roping

Parade of Tables

Pictures with Santa

Prairie Rose Vintage Garden

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

Rooster Booster

Rotary Wine Tasting

Sagebrush and Roses

The Polar Express at the Museum

Torrington Farmers Market every Thursday from June until October

Torrington Fire Department Fireworks Show

Trunk-or-Treat

Yeehaw Daze

Enjoy a Bite at our Family-owned Restaurants

The 307 Bar & Grill

1500 E Valley Rd, Torrington

307-532-8164

Family Variety, Bar & Grill

AJ’s Soda Shop

918 W Valley Rd, Torrington

307-575-7632

Family Variety, Ice Cream, Coffee, Soda

Arby’s

128 W Valley Rd, Torrington

307-532-8900

Fast Food

Bee Chilled

Torrington

307-575-3295

Mobile Ice Cream Truck

The Bread Doctor

2017 Main St, Torrington

307-534-2253

Bakery

Broncho Bar

1924 Main St, Torrington

307-532-8660

Bar

Broncho Grill House

1918 Main St, Torrington

307-532-2950

Family Variety, Bar & Grill

Bucking Horse Steakhouse

Hwy 85, Torrington

307-532-8500

Family Variety, Fine Dining

Burger King

1020 E Valley Rd, Torrington

307-532-4505

Fast Food

Canton Dragon

2126 Main St, Torrington

307-532-3888

Chinese

Cottonwood Country Club

2101 W 15th St, Torrington

307-532-4347

Family Variety, Bar & Grill

The Corner Bar

202 Main St, Lingle

307-837-2673

Bar & Grill

Cowboy Cafe

626 W Valley Rd, Torrington

307-532-3333

Coffee/Cafe, Family Variety

Cowboy up Coffee

2702 W C St., Torrington

307-575-1392

Coffee/food to go

Deacon’s Restaurant

1558 S Main St, Torrington

307-532-4766

Family Variety

Domino’s Pizza

2741 W C St, Torrington

307-532-0330

Family Variety

Garcia’s

1915 Main Street

307-532-0852

Mexican

J & B Liquor

120 E Valley Rd, Torrington

307-532-2521

Bar

The Java Jar

1940 Main St, Torrington

307-532-8541

Coffee/Café

La Familia Prado

1250 S Main St, Torrington

307-534-1975

Mexican

The Mint

1914 Main St

307-532-7421

Bar

McDonald’s

800 E Valley Rd, Torrington

307-532-0120

Fast Food

Open Barrel Brewing Company

1930 Main St

307-401-0107

Bar/Snack food

Pizza Hut

1120 E Valley Rd, Torrington

307-532-7007

Pizza/Italian

Prairie Creek Books

and Tea

4392 US-26, Torrington 

307-532-3495

Tea

San Pedros

2113 Main Street, Torrington

Mexican

Scott’s Hiway Bar

1202 Main St, Torrington

307-532-3777

Bar & Grill

Subway

1934 W A St, Torrington

307-532-8444

Fast Food

Sweet Lou’s Bakery Café

120 W 20th Ave, Torrington

307-534-6984

Coffee/Café, Bakery

Table Mountain Vineyards

5933 Rd 48, Huntley

307-459-0233

Wine Tasting/Catering/Food Events

Taco Johns

224 W 20th Ave, Torrington

307-532-3711

Fast Food

Lingle-Things To Do

Bird Watching

Ellis Harvest Home

Fishing 

Haven on the Rock

Hiking

Historic Ban Shell 

Historic Jay Em

Jay Em Historic District Tours

Lingle Pool

Newcomb’s Arcade

North Platte River

Oregon Trail Historic Trail

Picnicking

Rawhide Wildlife Habitat Nature Trail

Stargazing

TravelStorys Tour

Walk your Dog

Whipple Park

Wyoming History Center

Standing Events

Car Show

Christmas Lighting Contest

Church in the Park

Fireman’s Ball

Fireman’s Burger Feed

Lingle Volunteer Fire Department – Easter Egg Hunt

Lingle, Mingle, Jingle

Movies in the Park

SAREC Tours

Trunk or Treat

Enjoy a Bite at our Family-owned Restaurants

The Corner Bar

202 Main St, Lingle

307-837-2673

Bar & Grill

Lira’s Restaurant

E Hwy 26, Lingle

307-837-2826

Mexican

Fort Laramie-Things To Do 

1875 Iron Bridge

B.A. Cave

Bird Watching

Dr. Brownrigg House & Hospital

Fishing 

Fort Laramie Community Center

Fort Laramie Frontier Trading Post

Fort Laramie National Historic Site Audio Tour

Fort Laramie National Historical Site

Fort Laramie Visitor Center

Hell Gap National Historic Landmark

Hiking

Interpretive Programs at the Fort

Mormon Initials Carved on Rock

North Platte River

Oregon Trail Historic Trail

Picnicking

Splash Park

Stargazing

Tracs and Traces

TravelStorys Tour

Walk your dog

Standing Events

4th Fridays (street fair and farmers market] from July through October)

Annual New Year’s Eve Dance

Halloween Party

Easter Breakfast

Easter Egg Hunt

4th of July Fireworks

Old fashion 4th of July activities at the Fort Laramie National Historic site

Christmas with Santa

Summer Street Dance

Enjoy a Bite at our Family-owned Restaurants

Ft. Laramie American Grill

302 Pioneer Ct, Ft. Laramie

307-837-2324

Family Variety

The Gathering Place

101 Lawton Ave, Ft. Laramie

307-837-3082

Tearoom

Vickie’s Saloon

115 N Laramie, Ft. Laramie

307-587-2288

Bar & Grill

Yoder-Things To Do

Bump Sullivan 

Downer Bird Farm

Fishing

Hawk Springs Easter Egg Hunt

Hawk Springs State Recreation

Hunting

Oregon Trail Historic Trail

Picnicking

Springer Reservoir

Springer Wildlife Management

Stargazing

TravelStorys Tour

Walk your dog

Water Sports

Yoder Abandoned Jail

Yoder Park

Standing Events

Pheasant Dinner [women’s club]

Roster-Booster [Springer bird farm]

Trunk-or-Treat

Enjoy a Bite at our Family-owned Restaurants

The Emporium

Hwy 85, Hawk Springs

307-532-3442

Bar & Grill

Longbranch Saloon & Steakhouse

525 Hwy 85, Hawk Springs

307-532-4266

Bar & Grill

LaGrange-Things To Do

Basketball court

Bill Ward Memorial Playground

Cookout in Local Park

Cross the State Line

Disc Golf

Enjoy fresh pie at the diner

Fishing

Hiking

Hunting

Library

Picnic

RC race track

Silver Wing Sporting Club

Take a tour of the Historic Heritage Center

Tennis court

Three parks

Walk your Dog

Walking Trail

Standing Events

June Mini Fair [includes pancake breakfast, foot races, lunch, 5k run, car show, garage sale, bands, games, and rodeo]

Annual Fireworks and Ice Cream Social

Community building fund raising through silent auction [soup and desserts auction

Easter Egg Hunt

Halloween Party

Christmas Lightning Contest

Enjoy a Bite at our Family-owned Restaurants

Bear Mountain Stage Stop

1252 Hwy 85, LaGrange

307-834-0105

Bar & Grill

Longhorn Café

5th Ave, LaGrange

307-834-2432

Family Variety

For more information, contact:

Sandy Hoehn 

Community Development Director

Goshen County Economic Development

Home of Goshen County Economic Development, Chamber and Visitor’s Center

2042 Main Street  | Torrington, WY  82240

Phone  307.532.3879 | Cell 307.575.5919

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