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Sweetwater County

Sweetwater County Sheriff Says ACLU Criticism Of Dept Is ‘Political Propaganda’

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Department is not pleased with an immigration and racism report issued by the Wyoming chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, the department’s spokesman told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday.

Deputy Jason Mower said the “License to Abuse” report sent to media outlets on Wednesday afternoon was “spurious at best.”

“If you read that report, it becomes clear to me the motive behind the report is political,” Mower said. “Their conclusion, before they even wrote the first word, is that the 287(g) program should be abolished and it’s a relic of Republican racism.”

In the report, researchers examined the 142 state and local law enforcement agencies participating in the 287(g) program and highlighted 54 agencies that are among the most egregious in their violations of people’s civil rights and liberties, according to the ACLU.

The 287(g) program is run by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and allows state and local officers to act in the identification, arrest and service of warrants and detainers of incarcerated foreign-born people with criminal charges or convictions.

The ACLU researchers said more than half of the participating sheriffs have records of anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric while contributing to a climate of fear for immigrants and the majority of the departments had records of racial profiling patterns.

Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Department was the only Wyoming agency named in the report, as it is the only one that officially has partnered with ICE for this program. Mower said the department receives federal funding for its participation in the program.

ACLU Wyoming spokeswoman Janna Farley said in a message to media outlets on Wednesday that the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Department was one of the 54 worst offending agencies listed in the report, but it was not specifically named as part of this group.

The department is mentioned in the report, in the appendix, where it is listed as one of the agencies that participate in the 287(g) program.

“To my knowledge, we’ve never had the ACLU request to come physically take a tour of the facility or interview any of us,” Mower said. “In the methodology section, you can see they rely on public records requests and keyword searches on Google.”

Mower said he has reached out to Farley regarding the misinformation she released to the media, but had not heard back from her or anyone at ACLU Wyoming as of Thursday afternoon.

Farley told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday that the organization’s review was a starting point, but not a sufficient basis for understanding the entirety of the 287(g) program or all of its agreements.

“The 287(g) program create a culture of division and suspicion that doesn’t serve anyone – least of all the community these departments are supposed to protect,” Farley said.

Mower said he and the rest of the department officials would not be losing sleep over the report.

“This report and the way it was issued is not how we do things in Sweetwater County or Wyoming, at large,” he said. “I think it’s political propaganda and I think it’s sad because we’re in the middle of an election cycle.”

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Green River Man Honored For Saving Woman, Boy From Burning House

in News/Good news

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Green River man was honored this week for his heroism after he saved a woman and her young son from a burning house in Sweetwater County earlier this year.

Ryan Pasborg saved Stephanie Wadsworth and her son, Weston Wadsworth, from their burning home in early February after he stopped when he saw their house was on fire. Despite being late for work, Pasborg felt compelled to stop when he saw the smoke and flames, he told Cowboy State Daily earlier this year.

Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Mower told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday that the recognition ceremony held in Pasborg’s honor on Tuesday was an amazing event.

“I’ve been in law enforcement almost 15 years and this is just one of those stories you see on television,” he said. “Really, this is just a small token of our appreciation and admiration for Ryan.”

Pasborg was recognized during the Sweetwater County Board of Commissioners’ second meeting of the month on Tuesday. His family and the Wadsworth family, along with a number of friends, were in attendance.

Having the Wadsworths attend the ceremony made it that much more special, Mower said. Shortly after the rescue, there was questions of whether Stephanie would survive the ordeal.

“As time went on and we heard through the grapevine about how she was hanging in there and beginning to improve and how she was likely to survive, we wanted to wait and hold this ceremony until they could all be in attendance, too,” Mower said.

Mower said the ceremony was emotional for everyone in attendance, from Sweetwater County Sheriff John Grossnickle to Pasborg himself and even the commissioners.

Pasborg has repeatedly insisted that he was not seeking recognition for rescue but Mower said it was important for Pasborg to be honored for his heroism.

“His motivation was that he hopes someone would do the same thing for him,” Mower said.

After saving the Wadsworths from the fire, he ensured the children were reunited with their grandmother and taken to a warm, safe place.

Following that, he went home, grabbed some money and went to Walmart to buy clothing and toys for the children who had just lost everything.

“What strikes me is that we can see the impact Ryan had on the Wadsworth family, but maybe Ryan needed to be there for Ryan, too,” Mower said. “This is something that may not only have saved the Wadsworths’ lives, but possibly, Ryan’s too.”

Pasborg did not immediately return Cowboy State Daily’s request for comment on Thursday.

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Sweetwater County Hunters Banned From Hunting After Multiple Counts Of Poaching

in News/wildlife

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The president of a hunting advocacy group on Wednesday welcomed the news that two Sweetwater County hunters have been convicted of multiple wildlife violations and barred from hunting.

According to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Justin Chewning and Steven Macy were convicted of a series of charges filed in connection with numerous hunting violations committed in 2019 and 2020 and fined a combined amount of nearly $15,000. In addition, Chewning lost his hunting and fishing privileges for 15 years, while Macy lost his for two years.

Muley Fanatics president and CEO Josh Coursey told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday that he was glad to see both men convicted of charges including hunting elk out of season, but expressed concern that if they were willing to break the law before, they could be willing to do so again.

“We have law and order for a reason and we have rules and those that violate the rules are held accountable,” Coursey said. “It’s unfortunate, because wildlife is a public trust.”

Coursey said that Chewning and Macy were cheating the state’s hunting system by illegally tagging wildlife they also illegally killed, taking something of value from the Wyoming residents who own the wildlife.

He added that people do not have to be hunters in order to appreciate the wildlife in Wyoming.

“Yellowstone has beautiful landscapes, but I’ve said several times that if you remove the wildlife from the park, I imagine that the number of visitors would plummet to next to nothing,” Coursey said. “You don’t have to be a hunter to appreciate the beauty and seeing free ranging wild animals that are plentiful on our landscape.”

According to the Game and Fish Department, during an investigation into game bird violations, its wardens learned that between Oct. 1 and Oct. 6, 2019, both Chewning and Macy illegally killed mature bull elk during the closed season, which they then tagged with general elk licenses. 

Game wardens were able to determine the locations of where the elk were killed. They also found the carcass of a bull elk illegally killed by Chewning on Oct. 1, 2019.

Using DNA analysis, the Game and Fish Department a skull and antlers Chewning had in his possession were from the bull elk.

Investigators also determined that on Oct. 4, 2020, Chewning and Macy were hunting deer in Sublette County when Macy illegally killed a buck mule deer and Chewning illegally tagged it. 

Later that same day, while returning from the Pinedale area to Rock Springs, the two men hunted in an area using the wrong license and before the area had officially opened for hunting.

Macy shot and killed two mature bull elk, and Chewning tagged one of the two illegally killed bull elk with his general elk license. 

Chewning was charged with violations including five counts of intentionally taking antlered big game without a license or during a closed season; two of transferring a license and two of intentionally wasting edible portions of game bird and big game back straps.

Chewning pleaded guilty to three counts of intentionally taking antlered bull elk without a proper license, one count of taking a buck mule deer without a license and one count of transferring a license.

Chewning’s hunting and fishing privileges were suspended for 15 years and he was ordered to pay fines of $1,585 and restitution of $7,000. All wildlife seized was forfeited to the state of Wyoming. All other charges were dismissed.

Macy was charged with five counts of intentionally taking antlered big game without a license or during a closed season and two counts of transferring a license.

He pleaded no contest to one count of taking a buck mule deer without a license and two counts of intentionally taking a bull elk without the proper license.

Macy’s hunting and fishing privileges were suspended for two years and he was ordered to pay $5,640 in fines, restitution of $1,500 and to forfeit the Browning .338-caliber rifle used in the commission of these crimes to the state of Wyoming. All other charges were dismissed. 

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Wamsutter Man Will Serve 75-100 Years For Sexually Abusing Grandchildren

in News/Crime

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Wamsutter man will serve the next 74 to 100 years in prison for creating child pornography, in some cases filming the abuse of his own grandchildren, the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday.

Russell Jay Byrne, 49, was sentenced Monday in state district court in Sweetwater County after pleading guilty to 58 criminal charges, which include the possession, manufacturing and distribution of child pornography, as well as the sexual abuse of three minor children ages 2, 3 and 8.

Charges against Byrne were the result of a joint investigation by the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office, the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation and the Internet Crimes Against Children taskforce. The investigation began almost two years ago after a sheriff’s deputy and DCI special agents assigned to the Rock Springs regional office of the DCI received tips about Byrne’s alleged activity.

Investigators learned that Byrne was using a number of social media platforms to access and distribute child pornography.

Through the course of the investigation, officers discovered Byrne was sexually abusing three of his grandchildren, recording the assaults and distributing some of those recordings as part of his growing collection of child pornography.

During an undercover operation in November 2021, task force members lured Byrne to a location where he was detained without incident.

Investigators then served multiple search warrants to secure a large amount of electronic and forensic evidence crucial to the investigation before also shutting down Byrne’s child pornography operation.

“It’s sad that this kind of thing is something that we face in this day and age, but that’s why adding one of our own detectives as a dedicated member of this important regional task force was a priority for me and our team so that we can better serve the community and protect our children from predators who choose to exploit the relative anonymity of modern technology in order to hurt innocent people in this disgusting way,” Sweetwater County Sheriff John Grossnickle said.

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Mother, Son Arrested Near Rock Springs In Oklahoma Murder

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A mother and son sought in connection with an Oklahoma murder were arrested near Rock Springs this week, according to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

Debbie Senft, 47, and Zachary Mussett, 26, both of Texarkana, Texas, are currently in custody at the Sweetwater County Detention Center and are awaiting extradition to Oklahoma to face charges related to the murder of 56-year-old Michael “Andy” McGuffee, the OSBI announced Friday.

Both the mother and son have been charged with one count of first-degree murder. Senft, who is McGuffee’s half-sister, and Mussett are being held without bond.

On Oct. 15, McGuffee’s wife was contacted when he did not show up for work in Blanchard, Oklahoma. She sent a family member to check on him.

When that family member arrived at the residence and saw signs of a fire, he contacted the Blanchard Police Department. After officers arrived at the scene and found McGuffee’s body, the Blanchard Police Department asked for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation’s assistance with the investigation.

When OSBI agents arrived on the scene, they determined McGuffee was the victim of a homicide.

While agents processed the crime scene, it was discovered that a fire had been started intentionally and many items were stolen from the residence, including McGuffee’s pickup truck.  

Early this week, agents discovered that items stolen from McGuffee were pawned in Salina, Kansas. At that point, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation went and collected the evidence from the pawn shop.

A few days later, agents recovered the pickup truck at a car wash in Oklahoma City.

The investigation then led agents to Wyoming.

Senft and Mussett were located 15 miles east of Rock Springs on Interstate 80 this week. The Wyoming Highway Patrol pulled over the moving truck Senft and Mussett were driving and agents with Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation took the pair into custody.

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Men Sentenced to Prison After Being Busted For Drug Trafficking In Sweetwater County

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

An Arizona man and Mexican man who is undocumented were convicted and sentenced to prison in U.S. District Court this week after they were caught last summer trafficking drugs through Sweetwater County.

Jose Luis Urrea, 35 of Tucson, and Mario Vera-Sandoval, 51 of Mexico, were each sentenced for their involvement in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Urrea received more than five years in prison, while Vera-Sandoval was sentenced to three years in prison, followed by five years of supervision.

“We know the interstate system is widely used by traffickers,” said Criminal Chief Nicole Romine. “That is why state agencies and local law enforcement in communities along the interstates, along with federal partners, work collectively to pursue and prosecute this type of criminal conduct. Simply put, we will not tolerate the use of our interstate system to transport drugs to or through the State of Wyoming.”

Vera-Sandolval was also convicted of illegally entering the United States, for which he received a sentence of time served.

On Aug. 14, 2020, the men were stopped by a Wyoming Highway Patrol officer in Sweetwater County for a routine traffic stop. After they pulled over, the men quickly exited the vehicle and began “aggressively” checking the tires and couldn’t give a definitive answer as to their travel plans.

During questioning, Urrea admitted he thought there was something illegal in a backpack the trooper saw in the car.

The trooper searched the vehicle, finding five pounds of methamphetamine. Urrea said he was paid $3,000 to deliver the backpack to unknown persons in another state.

Vera-Sandoval was aware that the reason for the trip was to transport methamphetamine and law enforcement discovered he was in the United States illegally. Both men were taken into custody.

Special agents with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigations and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration further questioned the men and gathered enough evidence through their phones, dash cam footage and their own admissions to charge them with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.  

“On behalf of the DEA I’d like to commend the sharp eye of the Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers who made this significant seizure,” said Deanne Reuter, Special Agent in Charge, DEA Denver Field Division. “Officers like these are the real force multiplier when combating the trafficking of these dangerous drugs.”

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Sweetwater County Sheriff Posts Terrifying Body Cam Video of Semi Crash

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Department has shared a terrifying video captured by one of its deputies over the weekend of a semi-truck crash involving an Amazon Prime truck.

The video was taken Sunday when the deputy was working an extra patrol shift in the Wamsutter area, where officers responded to reports of numerous traffic crashes and slide-offs on Interstate 80.

“Please pay attention and slow down. All of our lives depend on it,” the department said in its social media post with the video.

The 90-second video shows the Amazon Prime semi-truck’s trailer jackknifing as the truck passes another semi on the interstate.

The trailer then crashes into the second semi, and the video even shows a back tire and axle from one of the trucks flying into the air and narrowly missing the officer.

The video added information about how, statistically, an officer is more likely to be killed during a traffic stop than in a violent encounter with guns.

Wyoming had 128 traffic fatalities in 2020 and has had eight so far in 2021.

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Sweetwater County Detective to Appear On “20/20” Friday For Dating Game Killer Episode

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

It’s a little short notice, but if you’re a true crime fanatic, you should tune into ABC’s “20/20” on Friday at 7 p.m. to see a Sweetwater County detective.

According to a social media post, Sweetwater County Detective Jeff Sheaman will appear to discuss the 1977 murder of Christine Thornton in Granger.

According to media reports, Thornton left Texas in 1977, heading to Montana with her boyfriend to pan for gold. Her remains were found near Granger in western Sweetwater County in 1982, however, they were not identified until 2015.

Sheaman and other detectives investigating the case ultimately connected Thornton’s murder to the killing of at least seven other women across the country by Rodney Alcala, also known as the “Dating Game Killer.”

Alcala is now charged with first-degree murder in Thornton’s death and has been convicted of seven other murders. However, officials maintain his body count could be much higher. He has been imprisoned since 1979.

He is known as the “Dating Game Killer” due to his appearance on the dating show of the same name in the midst of his crime spree. He actually won his segment.

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Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Vehicle Struck While Investigating Separate Crash

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Sweetwater County sheriff deputy’s vehicle was struck by another vehicle on Friday morning as he investigated a separate crash in the same area.

The deputy responded to a report of a single-vehicle crash near Green River on Interstate 80 at Friday morning.

Upon arrival, the deputy learned that the driver has lost control of the vehicle on black ice. The vehicle slid off of the roadway, into the median and collided with the steel cable barrier. 

While tending to the crash, the deputy was parked in the median and seated in his vehicle with its red and blue emergency lights flashing.

A short while later, another driver passing by lost control of his vehicle, which collided with the deputy’s patrol car.

It was estimated that the passing vehicle was traveling between 60 and 65 mph before the driver lost control and collided with the deputy’s vehicle.

The driver was cited and released for speeding too fast for conditions.

The  deputy sustained minor injuries and was treated and released from Sweetwater Memorial Hospital.

“It never fails. When winter conditions hit, it always takes folks some time to adjust their driving behaviors,”  sheriff’s office spokesperson Jason Mower said. “We’re very lucky. This could have been much worse. We  want everyone to make it home safe for the holidays, so please pay attention, buckle up, take it slow and be careful out there.”

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Sweetwater County Looking For Family Of Man Who Was Found In Flaming Gorge

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Department is searching for the family of a man who went missing and died in the Flaming Gorge Reservoir earlier this year.

On Sunday, deputies were called to the Anvil Draw camping area of the reservoir after someone discovered a man dead in his camper. The man was later identified as 79-year-old Ronnie Baze Sumner, who had apparently died at the site months previously.

Sumner’s death didn’t appear to be suspicious.

But over the course of the investigation, deputies determined that the elderly man lived a fairly solitary and reclusive lifestyle, making it difficult to identify any next of kin.

Sumner was born in Las Vegas, but has lived in Casper, Manila and Green River, Utah over the course of his life.

Anyone with information about Sumner’s family should contact the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Department.

This isn’t the first death to occur at Flaming Gorge this year.

In August, a man and his son were seen leaving their camp site in the middle of the night in an all-terrain vehicle. An eyewitness later reported that the pair never returned to camp in the side-by-side.

The boy’s body was found in the reservoir a few days later.

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Get Off The Grid in Sweetwater County

in News/Tourism


Looking for a truly unplugged, raw trip full of gorgeous scenery, untouched trails and some good-old-fashioned peace and quiet? Look no farther than Sweetwater County, Wyoming—where you can really get off the grid* and relax in paradise.


Although Sweetwater County’s two main towns, Rock Springs and Green River, are pretty large and perfect for family vacations, the lesser-known town of Eden Valley is the perfect escape for those looking to get off the beaten path.

Eden Valley offers a historical snapshot of life in the 1800s. Visit Eden Valley if you are looking for historical trailslake fishing at Big Sandy Reservoir or camping.

So where should you stay? A stay in a hotel, motel or inn in Rock Springs, Green River or Farson can offer cell phone and internet access in between your off-the-grid day trips. Or pitch a tent in the wilderness to truly keep you off the grid. Find the lodging option that works best for you.


Whether you prefer high-flying sandy fun on the Killpecker Sand Dunes, traditional off-road rides on some high-country trails or gorgeous scenic views on a traditional scenic byway or drive, Sweetwater County has it.

The only rules? Bring your own four-wheel-vehicle, snacks and water. And make sure you tell someone where you’re going. Out here, there is no cell service and you are truly off the beaten path.


Whether you prefer lake fishing in a remote reservoir or beautiful streams and rivers, catch the big one here. With diverse waterways including Flaming Gorge Reservoir, Jim Bridger Pond, Fontanelle Reservoir, Hams Fork, LaBarge Creek and Big Sandy Reservoir, Sweetwater County is a fisherman’s paradise. 

Depending on which waterway you choose, catch catfish, mountian whitefish, smallmouth bass, kokanee salmon, or brown, mackinaw or rainbow trout. Finish off your day cleaning your fish by the shore and cooking them over your campfire.


With 90 miles of shoreline in the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area in Wyoming, there is plenty of area to explore. And what’s even better? Our side of the reservoir is much less developed than Utah’s, leading to one of the most quiet, serene escapes possible with this expansive reservoir.

With activities like hiking, fishing, mountain biking, off-roading and more, Flaming Gorge Country is an ideal escape. Bring your own ATV, boat or bike to explore the area. Visiting in the winter? Bring your own skis, ice fishing gear and more to enjoy winter activities while staying off the grid. 


A camping retreat is the perfect trip to give you a break from technology and day-to-day life. But you can do that almost anywhere across the country. So why choose Sweetwater County?

With more than 10 formal campgrounds with ammenities ranging from RV electrical hookups and maintained bathrooms to a patch of dirt and a fire pit, you’ll find the perfect one to suit your needs. Pitch a tent on your drive to one of the area’s National Parks to take in some of the area’s unique wildlife, rock formations, scenic vistas and more.

*Disclaimer: Sweetwater County offers true “off-the-grid experiences.” Cell service is limited or not available at all. Make sure you have extra water, food and a high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle with a spare tire to traverse dirt roads in the area. Let someone know where you are headed and when you plan to return.

Visit Sweetwater County: How to Experience Flaming Gorge Country

in News/Tourism


Just south of Rock Springs and Green River exists a stunning natural landscape.

Drawing adventurers, families, locals and those just seeking a beautiful view, the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area offers things to do and see year-round.

Here are a few ways to experience one of Sweetwater County’s hidden gems. 


If you’re short on time and want a quick glimpse of the area’s towering canyons, expansive lake and even some wildlife, drive the Flaming Gorge Scenic Byway.

Begin the route from Rock Springs and travel south on US-191 along the east side of Lake Flaming Gorge.

Loop around onto HWY-44 and travel north along the west side of the lake until you reach Green River.

There are various stopping points along this scenic drive to take photographs, eat a picnic lunch or enjoy the water.

Pull over by a scenic overlook such as the Firehole Canyon Overlook or Clay Basin Overlook.

The drive is approximately 150 miles and takes 90 minutes to drive one side. 



Extend your visit in Flaming Gorge Country by camping overnight at one the various campgrounds and RV Parks in the area.

There are campgrounds at each of the marinas – providing easy access to supplies, food and recreation. However, there are plenty of other sites to choose from including boat-in campsites such as the Hideout Boat-in Campground and Jarvies Boat-in Campground.

Or stay right on the shores of Lake Flaming Gorge at the Antelope Flat Campground.

The lakeside campground features 45 gravel sites and five tent sites for tent and RV camping along with an onsite boat ramp for easy water access.

Stay closer to Rock Springs and Green River by camping at the Firehole Canyon Campground which features 40 paved, non-electric sites for tent and RV camping.

This high-desert campground features a boat ramp and easy access to fishing, hiking and water recreation.



There are three full-service marinas in the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area to pick up supplies and food; rent boats, kayaks and paddleboards; or dock your boat.

The Buckboard Marina on the west side is the closest to Green River and Rock Springs, providing easy access for boating and fishing.

The Cedar Springs Marina and Lucerne Valley Marina are both on the Utah side and feature seasonal restaurants along with the full spectrum of services.

For a unique experience on Lake Flaming Gorge, head to the Lucerne Valley Marina where you can rent houseboats for overnight camping on the lake! This is also a great way to see the stars.


When it comes to water recreation, there are endless opportunities to swim, boat, fish and more on the 91-mile-long Lake Flaming Gorge. Bring your own watercrafts or rent fishing boats, pontoons, houseboats, kayaks and paddleboards from a marina.

It’s impossible not to enjoy the area’s majestic waters when visiting Flaming Gorge Country no matter what age you are.

But did you know there are many other ways to experience the rugged landscapes?

Across 42,000 acres, visitors can explore trails for hikingmountain biking and ATVing. And after a day full of adventure, you can toast marshmallows and relax along the shores of Lake Flaming Gorge.

Need trip inspiration for your next visit to this hidden oasis in the American West? Follow our three-day itinerary to get started.

Visit Sweetwater County: How To Experience Rock Springs And Green River

in Tourism


Looking to cool off? Rent a tube or a kayak at White Mountain Lumber Tube and Kayak in Green River, and head toward Expedition Island to launch down the area’s lazy river. Or take it up a notch and experience the Green River Whitewater Park and Tubing Channel.


Both a local favorite and one of the best trail systems in Wyoming, the Wilkins Peak Trail System allows mountain bikers of all levels to experience Sweetwater County’s unique landscape. Just outside of Green River, 20 miles of biking trails are accessible for a day of adventure. Rent your bike at Bike and Trike in Rock Springs before heading out to the trails. Start with the basics and get warmed up by biking the Channel Surfing trail, rated as beginner, and then see if you can tackle some of the more difficult trails including TNT and Pick Your Poison.



Located north of Rock Springs, White Mountain is the perfect place to start hiking in Sweetwater County. Those looking for an easier hike or interested in historic sites should follow the short path to the White Mountain Petroglyphs. Discover sandstone etchings from American Indians who inhabited the area hundreds of years ago on this all-level trail. 

For another challenge, visitors can hike to the summit of Pilot Butte, situated atop White Mountain. This extraordinary landmark is the second highest point in the immediate region at 7,949 feet above sea level. Visitors are able to hike to the summit with opportunities to see wild horses and panoramic views of Sweetwater County’s western landscape.



Just south of Rock Springs and Green River is an oasis of natural beauty. The Lake Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area offers visitors opportunities to camp, boat, fish and more with 360 miles of shoreline and more than 700 campsites. Bring your own equipment or rent water skis, jet skis or boats from one of the marinas around the lake as you reconnect with the great outdoors. Take a scenic drive along the Flaming Gorge Scenic Byway to reach this breathtaking destination. 

These are just a few ideas that will inspire you to get outside and explore Sweetwater County. Browse our Rock Springs and Green River trip ideas for more incredible paths to adventure. 

Visit Sweetwater County: Guide to Camping

in News/Tourism


From OHVing and hiking to boating and fishing, stay close to the action in Sweetwater County.

Camping is one of the best ways to escape into nature and experience the area’s stunning landscapes.

Our guide to camping in and around Rock Springs and Green River will help you find the perfect campsite for your next outdoor adventure.


On the northeast shore of Flaming Gorge Reservoir, the Fire Hole Canyon Campground is located 30 miles south of Rock Springs. There are 40 paved, non-electric sites for tent and RV camping, each featuring a shaded cabana, picnic table and fire ring. Campground amenities include showers and restrooms, and drinking water. The lake offers opportunities for boating, water skiing, swimming and more. Campsites can be reserved up to six months in advance while some are available on a first come, first serve basis. The campground is open May through September.

In a Nutshell: You’ll wake up to beautiful views at this lakeside campground. The site is great for tent camping or RV camping if you don’t require electric hookups. Experience Lake Flaming Gorge with fewer crowds and don’t forget to bring your boat! Nightly rates range from $20-40.


The Buckboard Crossing Campground is located along the northwest shore of Flaming Gorge Reservoir next to the Buckboard Marina. The campground has 66 sites for tent and RV camping, several with electric hookups, shaded cabanas, grills and/or fire rings. Other basic amenities include showers, restrooms and drinking water. This site offers great opportunities for fishing, boating, water skiing, swimming, and more. Groceries, rentals, fuel and fishing licenses are conveniently available at the adjacent marina. Campsites can be reserved up to six months in advance while some are available on a first come, first serve basis. The campground is open May through September.

In a Nutshell: This is another campground great for watersports and closer to Rock Springs and Green River than the Lucerne Valley Campground. The adjacent marina is convenient if you need to rent a boat or purchase extra supplies. Nightly rates range from $20-28.


The farthest trek out of town is the Lucerne Valley Campground in Manila, Utah. The campground sits along the shores of Flaming Gorge Reservoir with more than 140 campsites for tent and RV camping. Cabin camping and group camping is also available here. Various loops offer differing amenities including electric hookups, showers and restrooms, shaded cabanas, picnic tables, fire rings and drinking water. Nearby recreational activities include fishing, boating, water skiing, swimming and more. The adjacent Lucerne Marina offers groceries, rentals, fuel and fishing licenses. Campsites can be reserved up to six months in advance while some are available on a first come, first serve basis. The campground is open May through September.

In a Nutshell: Stay in the heart of Lake Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. This larger campground is more central to trails, attractions and the visitor center. If you’re looking to rent a boat, the nearby marina is the place to go. Nightly rates range from $20-140. Full season rates are also available.


The Rock Springs KOA is just 15 minutes outside of downtown Rock Springs. This Kampsite of America location offers RV sites, tent sites and camping cabins year-round along with numerous amenities for a comfortable camping experience. Campground amenities include a general store, electric hookups, showers and restrooms, laundry facilities, WiFi and cable. Long-term camping is also available at weekly and monthly rates. With a swimming pool, playground and dog park, visitors of all ages can enjoy a variety of activities while camping here.  

In a Nutshell: If you’re willing to spend a little extra, this private campground has added amenities and services ideal for extended stays. It’s location is central to outdoor activities while still being conveniently close to the vibrant town of Rock Springs.


Located off of I-80 and two miles from the town of Green River, The Travel Camp is a convenient campground with 71 full hookup sites for RV and tent camping. The Travel Camp has a full set of amenities including a general store, electric hookups, showers and restrooms, laundry facilities, WiFi, cable and fire pits. Long-term camping is also available at weekly and monthly rates. Nearby, anglers can walk just five minutes for fishing the Green River.

In a Nutshell: The Travel Camp is another private campground offering additional amenities that keep camping comfortable. It’s a great choice if you’re interested in fishing or extended stays with close proximity to business and attractions in the town of Green River. Nightly rates range from $20-38.


Just under an hour north of Rock Springs is the Killpecker Sand Dunes Open Play Area. The area has a developed campground featuring basic amenities including a vault toilet and fire rings. From the campground there is easy access to recreational activities such as hiking, horseback riding and ATVing. The Killpecker Sand Dunes is a valuable habitat for wildlife and requires special management to protect its resources. To protect this habitat, the area is closed to motorized vehicles from May through June. No fees or reservations are required to camp here.

In a Nutshell: This campground offers a more primitive escape into nature at no cost. Camping in this unique environment offers a one-of-a-kind experience and beautiful views of the high desert landscape. If you like adventure, activities are abound at these natural sand dunes.


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Stretching along 36 miles of the Green River in southwest Wyoming, you’ll discover Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge.

Not only is this 27,230-acre refuge home for migrating birds and a variety of animals, it is also a historical crossing for pioneers and nomadic Native American tribes. 

For those who haven’t had the pleasure of visiting this scenic sanctuary, it is a dream landscape for outdoor enthusiasts, history buffs and photographers. 


Guests to the refuge will be pleasantly surprised by the numerous winter activities available on-site.

Seedskadee is famous for its birding and Gold Medal fishing, but did you know you can also ride horses and ATVs, hunt, camp and so much more?

You can also view exhibits, take a class, or use viewing scopes at the Visitor’s and Environmental Education Center.


Each season brings new temperatures, influencing changes to the wildlife and plants and making each visit unique. 

During winter, this panoramic area is particularly breathtaking and becomes the perfect home for arctic rough-legged hawks, as well as migratory birds like rosy-finches, waterfowl and trumpeter swans. 

Many visit throughout winter just to see the big game mammals, such as elk, moose, pronghorn antelope and white-tailed deer.

If you’re vigilant, you may even see well-hidden creatures like great horned owls or river otters. Learn more about the wildlife seasons in Seedskadee

Seedskadee is open daily except for scheduled protective closings and holidays, so it’s easy to see why thousands of nature-lovers and sportsmen alike venture to the region year-round.

Planning your visit is simple and well worth the short drive from your base camp in Green River or Rock Springs

Take a virutal tour of Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge! 

Visit Sweetwater County: Road Trip Into Wyoming’s Wild Natural Beauty

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A trip to Yellowstone is a bucket-list-worthy adventure, but the journey to the park can be just as unforgettable as the park itself.

Start a few hours south of Yellowstone, and drive through the incredible and untamed beauty of Sweetwater County to get a taste for Wyoming’s unique natural setting.

From state record-breaking trout to herds of wild horses, this is a place that’s rugged and ripe with opportunities for outdoor adventure.

Get off the grid and reconnect with nature as you whitewater raft, off-road on sand dunes, hike among ancient petroglyphs and let your spirit run wild.


At the very edge of Sweetwater County, straddling the Wyoming-Utah border, is the breathtaking Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

The massive, twisting waterway is 42,000 acres of pure beauty. It provides awesome opportunities for boating and waterskiing, as the views around each bend are ever-changing and absolutely gorgeous.

You can even windsurf the lake, but it’s especially popular for its world-renowned fishing, as the reservoir is filled with trout, bass, and even salmon. Another way to experience the endless beauty here is to hike around the shores.

Rugged cliffs above the gorge and dense, lush forests provide wild and exciting trails. Rent a campsite beside the lake so you can sit back and enjoy this incredible place.


White Mountain Petroglyphs is a great hike for those who like their outdoor adventure with a side of history. The trails here take you past ancient rock carvings from between 1,000 to 200 years ago.

Take your time to examine the petroglyphs, which appear to depict elk and buffalo hunts, handprints, tiny footprints and other symbols and markings. Many tribes hold this place to be sacred, and you can feel something special in the atmosphere here.


Next, make your way to the Killpecker Sand Dunes. As the second-largest active dune field in the world, featuring thousands of acres of shifting sand, it’s truly a sight to see.

You can also experience the dunes while exploring the larger Red Desert area, which contains the sand dune field. These are back country roads with no services, so it’s a good idea to fuel up a high-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicle. 

Just be careful — high clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended and weather conditions can and do change quickly making it imperative to be prepared at all times.

There are no services along the route as it winds its way through the beautiful and rugged landscape, and cell phone reception may be limited. It is always advisable to inform someone of your destination and the planned time of return.


As you head north toward the sand dunes, it’ll be hard to miss Boar’s Tusk.

The lone butte is the remains of a volcano, composed of a rare, erosion-resistant volcanic rock called lamproite.

Drive a little closer to it to snap some photos and walk around… it’s a distinctive feature that adds character to the wild landscape.


If you’re short on time, then a scenic drive can give you a great sense of the wild western landscape with little effort… you won’t even need to get out of the car! 

The Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Loop is a unique opportunity to possibly see wild horses in their natural habitat. You’ll see herds of horses in all of their untamed glory, but plan to stop at the interpretive signs and scenic overlooks, too.

Just be careful — high clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended and weather conditions can and do change quickly making it imperative to be prepared at all times.

There are no services along the route as it winds its way through the beautiful and rugged landscape, and cell phone reception may be limited. It is always advisable to inform someone of your destination and the planned time of return.


The city of Green River is a nice place to get back in touch with civilization during your outdoor excursion through the region. It’s also home to Expedition Island Park, a public green space that serves as the heart of the city.

Its history dates back to 1869 when John Wesley Powell launched his historic exploration of the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon from the island, and you can follow in his footsteps with a visit to Expedition Island’s Green River Whitewater Park.

The North Channel of the Whitewater Park is a great place for tubers and beginning kayakers and canoers to put-in; the gentle drops, deep pools, and shallower edges make it a great place to swim, take a float on a tube and get the hang of navigating the river on a boat.

The main channel, which contains Castle Falls, is a little more advanced, but it’s an exciting and easy way to get your feet wet for some fun whitewater rafting and canoeing.

Be safe — don’t forget to check current whitewater conditions with USGS!


Another way to get wild in Sweetwater County is to meet some of the wildlife in the area. The Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge is absolutely amazing. 

Eagles, moose, pelicans, swans, deer, elk, antelope, jackrabbits, horses and more roam the landscape, which follows a portion of the Green River. The grassland is so wide and open that you might not see anyone else during a visit here.

The peace and quiet make for an incredible experience. Cruise around the roads, hike through the wilderness, backcountry camp and catch some fish in the Green River.


After spending a few days exploring, you’ll be re-energized to tackle the drive to Yellowstone.

The park is an absolute wonderland of natural beauty with geothermal oddities, incredible wildlife, and rugged mountains and canyons to explore. But as you experience all of the park’s jaw-dropping, bucket list-worthy sights, you might find yourself dreaming about the quiet beauty of Sweetwater County.

With so many different and unique ways to immerse yourself in the outdoor fun of Wyoming, Sweetwater County is an awesome stop on the way to Yellowstone or as a destination in and of itself.

Either way, experiencing the fun and outdoor allure of southern Wyoming is sure to create memories. It’ll turn even the least adventurous outdoorsman into a nature-lover!

For more trip guides like this, visit roadtrippers.com!

Visit Sweetwater County: Wyoming’s Coolest Hidden Gems

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The beauty and wonder of Wyoming is undeniable. With the mountains, lakes, forests and prairies, it’s got a lot going for it.

But tucked among the gorgeous landscape, you can find some truly special hidden gems that are worth the trip to the Cowboy State alone.

Follow in the footsteps of Butch Cassidy and other famed outlaws, feel the wind in your hair as you off-road through a massive shifting dune field, see the sights that guided pioneers and more on an adventure to discover the hidden gems of Wyoming’s Sweetwater County.


Straddling the state line between Wyoming and Utah is the utterly enchanting Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. Snuggled in between rugged cliffs and mountains lays the massive Flaming Gorge Reservoir, a winding body of water with 65.7 square miles of water for boating and fishing, and 360 miles of shoreline for hiking and swimming. Trails crisscross the cliffs and forests around the lake, and campsites line the water’s edge. You can rent a boat, check out the visitor center near the dam or go for a scenic drive… just make sure to do some exploring so you can really get a sense for the many diverse views the area offers.


As you make your way into Wyoming, you’ll probably have a hankerin’ for a snack for the road. Pull over at Cowboy Donuts for a fritter, a kolache (a kind of delicious meat and cheese stuffed roll) or a plain ol’ glazed donut. It’s the town’s only fresh donut shop, and it attracts a crowd of friendly locals each morning who love to linger over a pastry and a cup of coffee. The shop, which was featured on Food Network’s competition show “Donut Showdown,” makes over 55 varieties of fresh donuts each day. The sweet scent of donuts will be stuck in your memory for the rest of the trip!


Another local gem in Rock Springs is Bitter Creek Brewing. They craft beers inspired by the local culture, and they’re pretty much all worth trying, especially the light Sweetwater Wheat, the wild Mustang Pale Ale, the roasty and dark Coal Porter and the complex but warm Red Desert Ale. They also serve up some tasty elevated pub grub like sesame-fried calamari, gorgonzola steak salads and a whole bunch of burgers topped with mouthwatering gourmet goodies.


While you’re exploring Flaming Gorge, you can take a moment to sit back and relax at The Snag Bar & Grill on the Utah side of the reservoir. Located at the Cedar Springs Marina, the little hangout spot is right on the water. In fact, it’s the area’s only floating restaurant. The kitschy, fun atmosphere, killer views and full bar make The Snag a great place to spend a lazy afternoon in the sun. You can reach the bar via boat or car, but if you happen to be getting here from the water, the marina is a great place to gas up and get supplies as well.


Wyoming is probably the last place you’d expect to stumble upon a stretch of sand dunes, but Sweetwater County is home to the Killpecker Sand Dunes, the world’s second-largest moving dune field. If you’ve got a four-wheel-drive, high clearance vehicle, you will definitely want to take it for a spin on the sand. If you’re not into off-roading, a Wilderness Study Area that is home to rare creatures like desert elk surrounds the dunes. There’s also a wildlife viewing area right by the dunes, so you can just enjoy the fascinating scenery here as well.


It’s not hard to spot Boar’s Tusk, as it’s the only rock formation rising from the Killpecker Creek Plains. It can be seen for miles in each direction! It’s actually the rocky remains of a volcano that existed more than 2.5 million years ago. You can hike around the lone butte and admire it from every angle. Keep your eyes peeled for desert elk, wild horses, antelope and sage grouse as you ramble down the dirt path that leads to the rock formation. Keep in mind that it’s best visited in a high-clearance vehicle with four-wheel drive.


The best way to end an adventure? With an ice cream cone, of course. Farson Mercantile in Farson is a little cafe with pizza, coffee, sandwiches and the famous Big Cone. It’s roughly the size of four normal scoops, so if you’re worried about getting a brain freeze or a sugar rush you might want to split one. Then again, once you get a taste for their yummy flavors (including an outstanding seasonal huckleberry offering) you might not want to!

As you explore the canyons, mountains and plains across Wyoming, head off the beaten path to discover the local gems and hidden treasures that are tucked away in this little corner of the state. Where else in the country can you sip a beer on a stunning lake surrounded by red rocks, see the remains of an ancient volcano and experience the biggest and most delicious brain freeze of your life, all on one trip?

Click here to take a virutal tour of the Farson Mercantile! 

Visit Sweetwater County: The Ultimate Road Trip Stopover

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Long road trips are best broken up over several days so you can keep your eyes fresh, your vacation full and your mind at ease. Driving to Wyoming’s National Parks can be quite a jaunt for some, but we have some great news! Sweetwater County, Woming is the perfect place to jump out of the car and into adventure on your way.

Here’s our favorite way to create the ultimate road trip stopover before the last leg of your national parks journey:


Sweetwater County is one of the prime stops to experience the “Salt to Stone” region, which encompasses the natural attractions and off-the-beaten-path activities from Utah’s Great Salt Lake all the way to Yellowstone National Park.

No matter which direction you come from, Sweetwater County is the perfect stop, complete with some of the top regional attractions and adventerous activities like hiking, biking, kayaking and more.


Arrive in Rock Springs (from the east) or Green River (from the west) on I-80.

If you arrive in the morning, stop by a local coffee shop like Java Peddler in Rock Springs or Get Real Coffee in Green River. If you arrive closer to the afternoon, grab some lunch and a local brew at Bitter Creek Brewing in Rock Springs or the Hitching Post Restaurant in Green River.

Check in to a hotel, motel, or inn, or reserve an RV site or campsite in the area.


Make the most of the daylight hours, and get out to one of the region’s main attractions: Boar’s Tusk. This striking rock formation guards another main area attraction—the Killpecker Sand Dunes—so after taking in the views from Boar’s Tusk, head to the dunes. 

This is a true “off the grid experience,” and cell service is limited! Make sure you have extra water, and a high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle with thick tires (and a spare tire) to traverse the dirt roads. Let someone know where you are headed and when you plan to return.

If there’s enough daylight left and you brought along your ATV, spend the rest of the day off-roading on the dunes for a genuine, off-the-beaten-path afternoon of adventure and excitement in Sweetwater County. 

When the day is coming to a close, head back toward your accommodations to rest up for another day of adventure on your road trip stopover!


Another main attraction that Sweetwater County boasts is the Flaming Gorge National Recreation area. Stradling the Utah and Wyoming borders, Flaming Gorge Country is an incredible place to get off the grid. And the best part is, Sweetwater County offers the most rugged Flaming Gorge experience.


Get up nice and early to grab some breakfast at a local café like Penny’s Diner in Green River or Cowboy Donuts in Rock Springs. Pick up a picnic lunch at a local sandwich shop—we’re spending the day in rugged wilderness!


After you’ve packed up lunch, sunscreen, and plenty of water for the day, head to Lake Flaming Gorge. It is here you will find the best options to create your own adventure. Spend the day hiking to the plateus surrounding the beautiful Flaming Gorge landscape or really chill out with a little bit of wakeboarding, boating or jet skiing on Lake Flaming Gorge.


When the sun starts to set, head back into town to clean up and have some dinner at a local establishment like Broadway Burger Station or Grub’s Drive In in Rock Springs, or Gudino’s Cafe or Fish Bowl in Green River. You are sure to have worked up quite an appetite during the day!


Since Sweetwater County is only about a three- to five-hour drive from Yellowstone and Grand Teton, it’s easy to spend a morning in the area and still make it to your destination with plenty of time to spare.


Head to Green River and grab a coffee and light breakfast at a local café. Spend the morning at Expedition Island, a great place to walk along the greenbelt pathway for an easy, quiet morning after your day of rugged adventure. Or if you haven’t had enough of the area’s more strenuous activities, there’s kayaking, rafting, or tubing on the Green River. Don’t forget to check current whitewater conditions with USGS.

Since the area offers so much variety, it’s a perfect way to spend the morning before heading off to your final destination.

Looking for more ways to play in Sweetwater County? Extend your stopover with these diverse summer activities!

8 Ways To Experience Downtown Rock Springs: Experience An Award-winning Main Street

in Tourism

Bustling with locally owned shops, lively restaurants and year-round events, Downtown Rock Springs in Sweetwater County, Wyoming exudes small-town charm.

Admire historic buildings as you stroll down the picturesque streets, and discover fun things to do and see at every turn. Here are just a few ways to enjoy the downtown area:

    Eat your way through local specialties and time-honored classics when you chow down at the many restaurants in Rock Springs. Fill up on old-time burgers and fries at Broadway Burger Station, order a loaded Italian meatball sandwich at Boschetto’s European Market, or indulge in seasonal dishes from trout to pork chops at Eve’s. For locally brewed craft beer, Bitter Creek Brewing serves up flavorful microbrews, such as the refreshing Boars Tusk ale, bright Sweetwater Wheat or malty Red Desert Ale.
    The quaint streets of historic Downtown Rock Springs are lined with mom-and-pop shops, independent boutiques and gift shops. Go shopping for cute accessories at Sweet Sage, or pick up a few specialty gifts for yourself or someone else at Busy Bee Bath Essentials.
    Whether you’re looking to soothe sore muscles after a day of outdoor adventures or just want to enjoy a relaxing experience, make an appointment at one of the many salons or spas in Rock Springs. For the ultimate experience, unwind with a massage or facial, followed by a manicure and pedicure at Escape Day Spa & Boutique.
    Get ready for a night on the town with a live music concert, dramatic production or enthralling dance performance at the recently refurbished Broadway Theater, featuring an intimate setting of only 370 seats.
    Once the sun goes down, experience the nightlife in Rock Springs. Belly up to the bar (and then dare yourself to sing some karaoke) at Park Lounge, where the drinks are cold and the locals are friendly. Meanwhile, craft beer is the draw at Bitter Creek Brewing, offering a lineup of seasonal and staple brews in a lively (and family-friendly) setting.
    Walk through the doors of Rock Springs Historical Museum, and enter a passageway back in time. The castle-like sandstone building was built in 1894 and once served as Rock Springs’ City Hall. Today, it houses rotating exhibits that showcase the area’s rich history, from the town’s coal mining heritage to larger-than-life outlaws and pioneers who made a lasting impact during the Old West days.
    While you’re at the Rock Springs Historical Museum, pick up a free brochure for the Downtown Historic Walking Tour, a self-guided tour that highlights the city’s historic buildings, all while delving into the fascinating history of each location along the way. You can also download the PocketSights app to guide you along the way.
    Find fun things to do in Rock Springs all year long when you attend one of the many events happening downtown, such as free concerts in the Bunning Park, classic car shows, farmers markets and more. Check the events calendar to see what to do during your upcoming visit.

Looking for a pit-stop or more information? Visit the Bunning Freight Building for public restrooms and information about Rock Springs.

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