Casper is the largest city and county seat of Natrona county, located in Central Wyoming. The city occupies a valley created by the junction of the North Platte river and the Laramie mountains. Casper is the largest city between Cheyenne and Billings, and between Rapid City and Salt Lake City. The city is the financial and administrative center for a vast region of Wyoming that encompasses some of the state's most important mineral producing areas, especially the oil and gas fields located nearby. If you're passing through the state, Casper is a likely choice for an overnight stop or as a place to find food and supplies before heading to the national parks in the state's northwestern corner or to the forests located to the southeast or to the north.
Casper grew up around the ferries that enabled travelers on the Oregon Trail and California Trail to cross the North Platte River. The presence of settlers transiting westward and the growing presence of the US military made the region around present-day Casper a focal point in the late 19th century war against Native American tribes in the region, many of whom had suffered prior dislocation from the north and east as the US pushed the frontier westward. This conflict resulted in a military battle in which Lt. Caspar Collins perished. As "Collins" had already been used in the designation of Ft. Collins to the south, the settlement on the North Platte became known as "Casper" (changed from "Caspar" thanks to a clerical error). In later years, the arrival of the railroad and the discovery of oil in nearby fields consolidated Casper's relative importance in the region. Today, the city is a commercial hub for the surrounding region, whose economy is closely tied to energy and mineral extraction business. Casper is the second largest city in Wyoming, after Cheyenne. The city has a few attractions to entertain visitors for a day or so, but the real attraction lies in the surrounding areas, which include some of the state's most interesting historical and natural sites. Independence Rock, South Pass City, Ayre's Bridge, Castle Gardens and two national forests are within a 60-mile drive of downtown Casper. The Oregon and California trails once passed through the city and visible signs of their presence can be found within a stone's through of the city's boundaries.
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- 1 Casper–Natrona County International Airport (CPR IATA). Served by Allegiant Air to Las Vegas and Phoenix, Delta to Salt Lake City, and United to Denver. While it might seem unexpected in an airport this small, lines at security can be long. There is only one security checkpoint and flights to Denver and Salt Lake City seem to leave at the same time, making the otherwise underused airport seem crowded and small. It's best to go through security at least 30 minutes prior to scheduled departure. If you're lucky, your boarding pass will get a stamp from one of the security staff's extensive collection. Travelers report seeing Hello Kitty, Snoopy and various seasonal holiday greetings on their boarding passes, turning them into unexpected souvenirs.
The airport has on-site car rental facilities and it's easy to arrange a pick-up by one of the many hotels that offer shuttle service.
Taxi service is not always easy, if you want to arrange a pick-up, you can call to arrange a pick-up. They'll wait outside after your flight. If you call when you arrive, expect a 20-30 minute wait.
- RC Cab, ☏ .
- Casper Cabs, ☏ .
Casper is located at the intersection of Interstate 25, US Route 20/26, and Wyoming State Route 220. Approximate driving times are: 2 hours and 30 minutes south of the Montana border, 2 hours and 30 minutes north of Cheyenne, and 4 hours and 45 minutes east of Grand Teton National Park.
Casper Area Transportation Coalition - closest Natrona county has to a bus system.
The cost for elderly and disabled is $2.00 per one way trip, $5.00 for general public and $1.00 for children 12 and under when accompanied by an adult traveling to the same destination. Passengers are required to register the first time they use the service and purchase trip tickets.
If you find yourself enjoying a bit too much of Casper's nightlife, you can always call the Tipsy Taxi, a service provided by a coalition of the town's bar owners. A taxi will pick you up and take you home free of charge. They will also come pick you up to take you back to retrieve your car for a substantial discount. Tipsy Taxi +1 307 234-8294
- 1 National Historic Trails Interpretative Center, 1501 N Poplar St, ☏ . Free.
- 2 Fort Caspar Museum, 4001 Fort Caspar Rd, ☏ .
- 3 Nicolaysen Art Museum, 400 E Collins Dr,, ☏ . Tue-Sat, 10-5, Sun, noon-5. The Nicolaysen is one of few Wyoming institutions focusing on contemporary arts, showcasing a wide variety of work across multiple media. Together with other galleries in Casper, "the Nic" offers a welcome respite from the constant "Old West" theme seen in galleries throughout the Rocky Mountains. Exhibits showcase the work of local, national and international artists. The Nicolaysen's website offers details about exhibits and opening hours.
- Casper Ice Arena, 1801 East 4th St, ☏ . A permanent indoor ice facility offering year-round skating, with open sessions, figure skating, curling, and hockey.
- Historic Trails West. Feel like the pioneers of the American West by riding historic wagons following the famous Oregon Trail. They offer rides ranging from several hours to several days. Their meeting location is in Casper.
- 1 Eastridge Mall, 601 Southeast Wyoming Blvd (at SW corner of E 2nd St and Wyoming Blvd SE). Mon–Sat 10AM–9PM, Sun 11AM–6PM, maybe longer during high shopping holidays. The only mall in the city, anchored by JCPenney and Target.
- 2 Lou Taubert Ranch Outfitters, 125 East 2nd St (downtown, near Center St), ☏ , toll-free: (WEST). Mon–Sat 9:00AM–5:30PM, Sun 12:00N-4:00PM, holidays differ. An amazing selection of Western apparel and accessories. Want cowboy boots? They claims to have over 10,000 pairs in stock. Also hats, jeans, work shirts, belts, and more, across 9 floors. Very friendly staff. The Taubert matriarch may check that you are being served properly.
- 3 Mountain Sports, 543 Center St, ☏ , toll-free: . Mon–Sat 9AM–6PM, Sun 11AM-4PM. One of the oldest sporting good stores in Wyoming. Helpful, knowledgeable staff and a very good selection of sporting gear, particularly for winter sports. Can provide rental equipment for skiing. A good source of information about local outdoor activities.
- 4 Nate's Flowers and Gifts, 1042 East 2nd Street (at S. Jackson St), ☏ , toll-free: . Mon–Fri 8AM–5PM, Sat 12N–5PM, Sun closed. Capable and well-regarded local florist. Just the place if you want a bouquet of stargazer lillies for your spouse's anniversary on short notice. Friendly, helpful staff. Bouquets $20 and up.
- 5 307 Metal Works, 136 S Wolcott St, ☏ . A gallery of practical but pretty metal art, like tables, stools, light fixtures, and wall hangings. Many feature the number "307" or a bronco motif, meaning Wyoming. They are the arts offshoot of an oil-industry metal fabrication business, which leads to interesting gallery conversations. Eager to do custom work.
- Nadonia, 734 West Collins Dr, ☏ .
- 1 Fire Rock Steakhouse, 6100 E 2nd St, ☏ .
- 2 Dsasumo, 320 W 1st St, ☏ . Thai, Asian, Sushi
- 3 La Costa Mexican Restaurant, 600 East 2nd Street, ☏ . Sun–Thu 11AM–9PM, Fri–Sat 11AM–10PM. The big yellow and orange building is matched by the spacious and friendly interior. The Mexican food is conventional but well-executed and generous. Plenty of vegetarian options. entrees $10–16.
- MainStay Suites, 551 Granite Peak Dr, ☏ . Extended-stay hotel.
- Quality Inn and Suites, 821 North Poplar, ☏ . Extended-stay hotel.
- Super 8 Casper/West, 3838 CY Ave, ☏ . Budget minded hotel.
- 1 Hilton Garden Inn, 1150 North Poplar St, ☏ . Reliable, predictable chain motel located near the Events Center.