Wyoming is brimming with fascinating history, and the best way to immerse yourself in that history is to book a stay at one of the state’s many historic hotels. From a luxurious vacation in the resort town of Jackson to a quiet retreat in Elk Mountain, population 200, these hotels allow you to step back in time to the days when Wyoming was truly the wild, wild West.
1. Wort Hotel
The Wort was built in downtown Jackson in 1941 by Jess and John Wort in honor of their father and Jackson Hole homesteader, Charles J. Wort. The stunning lobby features priceless Western art and a grand staircase leading to rooms ranging from intimate deluxe rooms with one bed to expansive suites suitable for larger groups. All rooms are accessible by elevator.
Spend your time relaxing by the lobby’s massive stone fireplace, belly up to the Silver Dollar Bar, and tap your feet along with local musicians at the Silver Dollar Showroom. The hotel is located within walking distance of the best shops and galleries in Jackson and is just a short drive to the South entrance of Grand Teton National Park. Rooms can be pricey depending on the season. For the best value and to avoid the crowds, visit during the shoulder seasons: April, May, September, or October.
Pro Tip: Grab a brochure at the front desk and take the self-guided tour to see over $1,000,000 worth of original art throughout the hotel.
2. Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel
William “Buffalo Bill” Cody was never one to shy away from the spotlight. He built the Irma Hotel In 1902 in his namesake town — spending $80,000 — named it after his daughter, and promptly dubbed it “A Gem.” Cody often stayed there when he was in town, ensuring a full guest list of folks looking to mingle with the Wild West star. Visitors today can revel in this history, perusing Buffalo Bill memorabilia including his show saddle and, alongside the saloon’s cherrywood bar, a gift to Cody from Queen Victoria.
Each room in the hotel is historically styled with a Western feel. The rooms original to the hotel are all on the second floor and there is no elevator. Private bathrooms and air conditioning offer 21st-century amenities. Summer is the best time to visit. Pick a seat on the hotel’s expansive porch to witness the Wild Bunch Gunfighters shoot it out and listen to the roar of engines as the Cody Yellowstone Mustang Rally cruises through town at the end of May.
Pro Tip: While in town, be sure to visit the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, which includes five museums ranging from the Whitney Western Art Museum to the Draper Natural History Museum
3. Sheridan Inn
The Irma Hotel wasn’t Buffalo Bill’s only foray into the hotel business. He also had a hand in investing in and furnishing the Sheridan Inn, often staying there while in this bustling town located 25 miles from the Montana border. The inn was constructed in 1892 and still boasts the original porch stretching 116 feet long and 14 feet wide, perfect for taking in downtown Sheridan and chatting with the locals. The inn features 22 rooms decorated in true Western style, each named for an iconic western personality like Bronco Billy, Sitting Bull, and Annie Oakley. All rooms are accessible by elevator.
Pro Tip: Pets are not allowed, but the inn partners with Sheridan’s Country Pet Inn so your pooch can experience all the same comforts as you.
4. Historic Occidental Hotel
The “Ox” has a long and fascinating past. High society travelers, outlaws, and those looking for a new life out West along the Bozeman Trail all found respite and a warm bed at the Occidental after its founding in 1880. The Great Depression proved a temporary downfall until Dawn Dawson purchased the hotel in 1997, lovingly restoring it and securing its place on the National Register of Historic Places.
Stay in one of the 18 rooms, each exquisitely decorated with historic furnishings and antiques, many of which are original to the hotel. There is no elevator, but rooms are available on the ground floor. All rooms have cable television, central air conditioning, and free Wi-Fi. Fuel up for a day exploring the nearby Big Horn Mountains at the Busy Bee Café and share tales of your trip over a Wyoming-sized plate of bison ribeye at The Virginian.
Pro Tip: The hotel hosts bluegrass jam sessions every Thursday night. Musicians come from miles around and guests of the hotel are welcome to join in.
5. Hotel LaBonte
Whether Douglas is your destination or you’re passing along I-25, plan a stay at the Hotel LaBonte located in the heart of town. The hotel opened its doors in 1914 as a replacement for the Valley House Hotel, which was torn down to accommodate the Burlington Railroad. It was named in honor of Converse County’s first resident (on record), Pierre LaBonte.
The elegant lobby features wood beams, plush chairs, and a decorative tile floor. The second floor is accessible by elevator and offers 20 hotel rooms modestly decorated, each with a private bath, air conditioning, microwave, and refrigerator. The Yard game room offers ping pong and pool tables for those young or simply young-at-heart and Sapporo Japanese Restaurant is a convenient on-site option for lunch and dinner.
Pro Tip: Douglas is home of the famous mythical creature, the jackalope, a cross between a jackrabbit and antelope. For the perfect souvenir, snap your picture beside the giant jackalope statue located in Douglas’s downtown Jackalope Square.
6. Old Faithful Inn
Yellowstone National Park
It could be argued that the Old Faithful Inn is the finest hotel in Yellowstone National Park. Located in Upper Geyser Basin within shouting distance of its namesake geyser, it would be hard to have a more iconic American West experience than a stay at Old Faithful. The Inn was completed in 1904 and remains the largest log structure in the world. The lobby is a wonder with its giant locally harvested logs eternally holding up each floor with their strong branches.
For a truly historical, and rustic, experience choose rooms in the “Old” section which date back to the hotel’s inaugural years. Keep in mind that these rooms have basic amenities and some require that you share a bath. More standard rooms are found in the east and west wings of the hotel completed in 1914 and 1927, respectively. All rooms have heat but no air conditioning even though the hotel is only open from May to October. All rooms are accessible by elevator except for those on the first floor of the West Wing.
Pro Tip: The inn boasts a massive balcony that offers the perfect view of Old Faithful erupting without having to battle the crowds. Peruse the schedule of eruptions posted in the lobby and grab a seat early.
7. Hotel Wolf
The Hotel Wolf celebrated its opening on New Year’s Eve in 1893. The grand brick structure is a fixture of Saratoga, a small town along Wyoming Highway 130, 20 miles south of I-80. German immigrant Frederick Wolf and his wife Christina were the original owners of the hotel and found immediate success as the hotel was the perfect stop on the stage line into town.
Accommodations range from a cozy Deluxe room with one bed to the Executive Suite with a queen bed, sleeper sofa, and wet bar. Each room is tastefully decorated with Victorian-style furnishings. Keep in mind that all rooms are on the second floor and there is no elevator. Sip a drink in the saloon and get to know the friendly staff to hear tales about the hotel’s storied past.
Pro Tip: Take a half-mile stroll from the hotel to Hobo Hot Springs, a natural spring open to the public reputed to have the power to heal what ails you.
8. Historic Elk Mountain Hotel
Set along the banks of the Medicine Bow River, this lovely little hotel has been welcoming visitors for over a century in the quaint town of Elk Mountain, found just off I-80 halfway between Laramie and Rawlins. You’ll feel as if you’re being welcomed into someone’s home with its open porches perfect for rocking and its quiet grounds sheltered by cottonwoods. The lobby offers a cozy sitting area and an on-site restaurant serves up three meals a day.
Book one of the 12 rooms named after historical figures with interesting connections to the hotel and area from the one-bedroom Jim Bridger Room to the John Fremont Suite with a fireplace and separate access from the deck. Each room has a private bath, but in keeping with the historical feel, there are no televisions or air conditioning in the rooms and no elevator access to the second floor.
Pro Tip: Take a wacky road trip an hour’s drive from the hotel to the Fossil Cabin at Como Bluff, reported to be the world’s oldest building as it was constructed using 5,796 dinosaur bones.