As we contemplate a new year and clean slate, winter in southern Wyoming beckons you to visit for the perfect season for rest and reflection. From rejuvenating hot springs to hiking to the ski trails, or the comfort of a cozy fireplace, there are so many ways to enjoy the least crowded season in this quiet corner of Wyoming.
First Day Hikes are part of a nationwide initiative led by America’s State Parks to encourage people to get outdoors. On New Year’s Day, thousands of people in all 50 states, from children to seniors all across America, will be participating in First Day Hikes, getting their hearts pumping and enjoying the beauty of a state park.
In 2021 nearly 55,000 people rang in the New Year, collectively hiking over 133,000 miles throughout the country!
First Day Hikes are happening in Wyoming, too. In light of the ongoing pandemic, many people are opting for self-guided hikes and seeking out areas that aren’t prone to large crowds. It’s no secret that Wyomingites have been practicing social distancing long before it was a buzz-phrase!
Wyoming State Parks and historic sites will welcome everyone for the extremely popular New Year’s Day First Day Hikes again on January 1, 2022.
Participants will be asked to adhere to social distancing guidelines, and while pre- and post-hike refreshments will not be made available, the public is encouraged to bring their own snacks and hot beverages
Hikes aim to create a fun experience for the whole family, no matter age or skill level, so they may be inspired to take advantage of these local treasures throughout the year.
Carbon County invites you to participate on January 1 with self-guided hiking in Seminoe State Park. While there is no specific program or guide, that grants the freedom to chart your own course and enjoy hiking at your own pace.
Seminoe State Park does not have designated trails for hiking or biking, but all the park land and Bureau Of Reclamation land surrounding it can be hiked. As a matter of fact, there is excellent hiking anywhere from the park.
If you prefer a trail system, you’re in luck! Some of the best places in Carbon County can be accessed by hiking on one of the hundreds of miles of hiking trails in the county.
Area Hiking Resources
- Continental Divide Trail Hiking Resources Visit Website
- Hiking & trails in the Medicine Bow Forest: Visit Website
- Area wilderness areas: Visit Website
- Links to more trail information: Visit Website
- Links to Seminoe State Park Hiking Information: Visit Website
- Local Hiking Information: Visit Website
Since January 1st falls on Saturday and the holiday is observed on Friday, why not make it an extra special long weekend? Accommodations are available from rustic to luxurious, and meals from warming comfort foods to upscale elite dining, with everything covered in between.
And if you’re not used to hiking, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and dog sledding (YES! You can do all of that and more in Carbon County!) and concerned about being a little sore from all of the activity, there’s ample opportunity when visiting over a long or short weekend to partake in the healing, soothing waters of natural mineral hot springs – open 24/7 and FREE!
Plan For Cold Weather Hiking
Hiking during the winter can be fun as long as you prepare with these tips:
Dress in layers. While it is perhaps nice to have a huge, fluffy parka on the ski slopes, it really isn’t practical for the trail. Instead, take several layers you can peel off or put on when you stop and go on the trail. Your base layer should be a wicking fabric that will pull your sweat away from the skin. Overheating is a dangerous threat since excessive moisture that isn’t allowed to escape can freeze and cause hypothermia. If you ever wondered why some of your jackets have zippers under the armpits, it’s to keep air circulating and prevent your clothes from getting wet.
Wear a hat! Our heads are filled with oxygen-carrying capillaries which fuel our brains and consume one third of the body’s energy. During the colder months it is important to keep your head covered to maintain function and not lose precious body heat. You may want to bring a warmer/heavier hat for rest periods.
Appropriate footwear makes a world of difference. Keep your feet warm and dry with a good pair of winter hiking boots to make your experience absolutely enjoyable. Traversing deep snow? Use what’s designed for your trek – snowshoes!
Keep your water bottle warm. Whether you are at the campsite or on the trail, with a foam sleeve like a koozie to help prevent the water from freezing in a bottle. Also, to keep water from freezing, keep your water bottle on the inside of your jacket – properly sealed, of course. Staying hydrated, especially at a higher-then-normal elevation, is very important!
Remember the sunscreen. While this is most important if you are hiking in a snowy region, winter hikers often forget about the sun’s glare reflecting off of white snow.
Protect your lips. Just like the importance of sunscreen on exposed skin, remember to protect your lips, too!
Be prepared for winter’s shorter days. Though we have passed the Winter Solstice and the days are getting longer by a few minutes, dusk still settles earlier and more quickly than in the summer. Have a good idea of the usable daylight hours before going hiking. Always carry a headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries.
In addition to these tips and hints, remember to follow normal safety practices as well when hiking in the winter. Be sure of the gear you take with you and if you have any specific questions, ask a local outdoor expert so you can stay safe.
More About Seminoe State Park
At an elevation of 6,390 ft. Seminoe State Park was established in 1965 and is located on the northwest side of the Seminoe Reservoir, at the base of the Seminoe Mountains, 35 miles north of Sinclair, Carbon County, Wyoming. The state park encompasses 1,450 acres of land and offers access to over 20,000 acres of water. Seminoe State Park is open 24 hours throughout the year.
Park Address: Seminoe State Park, County Road 351, Sinclair, WY 82334.
Phone: (307) 320-3013
“Wyoming’s Hidden Gem” – a MUST on Your Bucket List!
Ice fishing on Seminoe Reservoir, one of the largest man-made reservoirs in the state, might land you one of the lake’s record-size trout or walleye. While you’re on the ice, scan the treeless hills for pronghorn, moose, mule deer, bald eagles, mountain lions and herd of elk that winter in the park. Seminoe State Park is regarded by many as one of the top treasures in Wyoming, just off of road #351. Visitors to Seminoe State Park enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities, all the while being surrounded by the gorgeous Seminoe Mountains and crystal clear waters of Seminoe Reservoir.
The Seminoe Mountains surrounding Seminoe State Park were once the site for gold prospecting during the late 1800s. The name “Seminoe” is commonly assumed to come from the Seminole tribe, but is an Americanized spelling of the French name Cimineau.
Basil Cimineau Lajeunesse was a French trapper in the area in the 1800s.
Seminoe State Park, located on the northwest side of the reservoir, was established in 1965 through an agreement between the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the Wyoming Recreation Commission, the predecessor to Wyoming State Parks and Historic Sites.
There are four campgrounds with 61 campsites, a boat ramp, and many sandy beaches available throughout the 1,450 acre Seminoe State Park as it surrounds the north end of the 20,191 acre Seminoe Reservoir. Fed by the North Platte River and Medicine Bow Rivers, and dammed by the Seminoe Dam, the Seminoe Reservoir is one of the best kept secrets in Wyoming, and is a water lover’s paradise.
Seminoe Dam was completed April 1, 1939. The dam is a concrete arch construction 295 feet high, 530 feet long, 15 feet wide at the top, and 85 feet wide at the bottom. This structure contains over 1 million acre-feet of water supplied by the North Platte and Medicine Bow rivers.
Ice fishing is popular in winter once the ice is safe. Home to prior state record walleye, Seminoe Reservoir offers good fishing for both walleye and several varieties of trout. Use a fishing boat, kayak or canoe to reach most of the 180 miles of rocky shoreline. And if you prefer to fish from shore, there is plenty of access at, and nearby, Seminoe State Park.
Fascinating wildlife can be found throughout Seminoe State Park, such as pronghorn, coyotes, raccoons, moose, elk mountain lions, bald eagles, mule deer and more. And for an added bonus, near the north end of the Seminoe Reservoir rests the nearly 5,000 acre Morgan Creek Drainage inside the Seminoe Mountains. This forested area is a winter range for elk and bighorn sheep, and therefore is a popular place for excellent wildlife viewing.
Morgan Creek Wildlife Management Area is managed through the Lander Regional Office of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and has travel and use restrictions to protect wintering wildlife from December 1 through April 30.
There is an amazing Sand Dune found very close to Seminoe State Park on BLM land, which is extremely popular for motorcycle, four wheeler and dune buggy enthusiasts.
And the views of Seminoe Reservoir from the top of this massive dune is absolutely breathtaking. The “Seminoe Sand Dune” offers abundant riding challenges, as well as easy sections for the novice.
The “Seminoe Sand Dune” is part of a very extensive sand dune field that stretches from western Wyoming all the way into Nebraska. This sand dune complex is known as “The Killpecker Sand Dunes”.
Download or request your FREE Carbon County Visitors Guide, peruse the Video Library to take a tour through fantastic scenery, wild places, museums, communities and culture. Then check the calendar of Upcoming Events to make planning your trip as easy as 1-2-3.
Brought to you by:
CARBON COUNTY VISITORS COUNCIL
1-800-228-3547 or 307-324-3020
PO Box 1017, Rawlins, WY 82301
Administrative office is located at
508 W Cedar, Rawlins WY