With big skies and long Great Plains highways beckoning you down the road, it can be easy to miss Goshen County, Wyoming. Sitting along the Nebraska border in Wyoming’s southeastern corner, Goshen County is rich with agricultural tradition, wonderfully preserved history, and small town charm. Sitting just off the intersection of several major interstate highways and conveniently situated between some of the nation’s most popular National Parks, Goshen County is a perfect area to add to your western road trip itinerary. But Goshen County is more than just a stopover– its fascinating historical landmarks, amazing food and classic Americana flair make it a destination all of its own.
This article was created in partnership with Go Goshen County.
In Goshen County, cattle is king. Consistently one of Wyoming’s top cattle producing counties, you’ll see thousands of head grazing on the area’s open range. With a ranching heritage dating back to the early 1850s, Goshen County’s cow culture is alive and well. Torrington Livestock Markets is the largest livestock auction in Wyoming and draws cowboys and ranchers from across the country. Spend an afternoon wandering the stock pens and watching one of the frequent live auction sessions to soak up the true flavor of the American West. And to really get a taste, end your day with a sizzling steak at Long Branch Grill in Hawk Springs.
Look to the skies and you’ll see food, too. Goshen County has some of the best waterfowl and upland bird hunting in America. With many wildlife areas, recreation areas and tons of open public land, opportunities and access aboud. Wyobraska Waterfowl, Maximum Waterfowling, or another local guide can show you the lay of the land and give you some local tips.
But there’s more to Goshen County’s agriculture and food scene than just beef and birds– dig a little deeper and you’ll find businesses offering handcrafted beer and wine, baked goods, and wonderful produce. Grab a local cold one at The Open Barrel Brewing Company in Torrington, or a glass of Table Mountain Wineries signature Wyo Wine at their scenic tasting room in Huntley. Check out Ellis’ Harvest Home in Lingle for festive fall activities like a pick-your-own pumpkin patch and a corn maze. If your timing is right, you can pick up some produce or artisan baked goods at the Torrington Farmers Market, open every Thursday afternoon from July through October. And to relax with a sweet treat from The Bread Doctor or fuel the next leg of your road trip, grab a coffee, soda, bubble tea or an ice cream at AJ’s Soda Shop in Torrington.
At the heart of a region teeming with history, Goshen County is particularly rich with historical significance. At various points during the story of the American Frontier, The Oregon Trail, Cheyenne Deadwood Stage Route, Mormon Trail, Pony Express and Texas Trail all passed through Goshen County. Today, Goshen County is home to the Oregon Trail Historic Scenic Byway and more than 650 historic markers and memorials.
Just west of Fort Laramie is the Fort Laramie National Historic Site, an immaculately restored and preserved interpretive area open 365 days per year. Having served as both a trading post and military base over its almost 200 year history, the fort was once one of the area’s most consequential hubs of transportation and trade. Follow the 1.6-mile Confluence Trail through the region and gain an immersive look into the landscape and history of the area. Originally established as a fur trading post in 1834, Fort Laramie National Historic Site eventually became the largest military post on the Northern Plains. Take the audio tour, watch a live reenactment, have the kiddos participate in the Fort Laramie Junior Ranger Program, or sip sarsaparilla and birch beer at 1883 Soldiers Bar (open select days and weekends). Visit in the summer and you’ll be greeted by staff who bring the site to life by delivering talks and demonstrations in period dress.
You can bring some history and Western flair home, too. Fort Laramie Frontier Trading Post sells leather goods, cowboy hats and frontier themed memorabilia. The Old Moose Mercantile offers unique housewares and gifts in a bright, beautifully curated shop in downtown Torrington.
Find one-of-a-kind gifts in Torrington, such as colorful crafting supplies at Sew Addicting Quilt Shop, or find trendy women’s clothing at Farm Girls Boutique, where they have a passion for all things beautiful. Stumble upon a hidden gem at the Old Moose Mercantile, and get into your western style with Home on the Range, where they specialize in unique treasures that give your wardrobe and home just the right touch of style. And don’t forget your Wyoming gear from Heartland Embroidery. Additionally, Vandel Drug offers a complete pharmacy with a wide variety of everyday items, and you can also still find Hallmark products. And to return home with an actual piece of Goshen County itself, be sure to make a stop at Torrington Rock Shop, which has been a local favorite for 57 years. Looking more like a museum than a shop, perusing this gorgeous collection of rocks, gems, fossils and jewelry is an activity in and of itself.
Before leaving town, stock up on provisions in Goshen County like so many pioneers, trappers and explorers did before you. You can re-up on supplies at Vandel Drug in Torrington and fuel the next leg of your journey with gas and snacks from Haystack Hills Trading in Fort Laramie.
With any luck, you’ll leave Goshen County with a renewed appreciation for the people of today who feed our country, the people of yesterday who built it, and the fact that, if we slow down to take a look, amazing travel destinations can often be found right under our noses.
Goshen County: Big Land. Small Pleasures.