Discover the Top Activities and Attractions in Rawlins, WY.
Rawlins, Wyoming, is home to various attractions and activities. There is something for everyone, from historical sites to shopping, dining, and recreation.
Founded in 1868 on the Union Pacific Railroad line, Rawlins is a significant railroad division point and supply center for ranching, lumbering, and coal mining. It is also a popular tourist destination with many national forests within a short drive.
Rawlins is located in south-central Wyoming and is the county seat of Carbon County. It is 149 miles W of Cheyenne, WY, and 228 miles NW of Denver, CO.
Historic Downtown Rawlins
Rawlins’s nationally designated historic district is rich with turn-of-the-century architecture and colorful local history. In addition, a 60 – 90 minute leisure walking tour is offered to visitors who want a fun and educational trip through the city’s past.
The Carbon County Museum is a popular attraction and houses exhibits showcasing the area’s unique culture and history. Also, a local treasure, the Wyoming Frontier Prison Museum, shares the stories of 13,500 inmates who served here between 1901 and 1981.
The area has plenty to do, including kayaking, canoeing, and float trips on Seminoe, Pathfinder, or Alcova reservoirs. Fly fishing is a local favorite, and the area has several public and private fishing lakes.
Business & Economy
Rawlins is the center of the region’s commerce. It is a Union Pacific Railroad division point and supply center for ranching, lumbering, coal mining, and tourist trade. It also connects daily stage lines to Dixon, Baggs, and Miner’s Delight.
Wyoming Frontier Prison Museum in Rawlins, Wyoming
The Wyoming Frontier Prison Museum in Rawlins, Wyoming, is a must-see attraction. You can find it at 500 West Walnut Street.
Initially, it was the state’s first penitentiary. It opened in December 1901 with 104 cells and no electricity or running water.
Cell Block B was built five years later to accommodate more inmates and to add heat and hot water. It was also the site of a prison uprising in 1912 because of deteriorating conditions.
The Wyoming Frontier Prison Museum offers tours of the Old Pen daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day. In addition, you can choose from various guided or self-guided options.
Carbon County Museum in Rawlins, Wyoming
The Carbon County Museum is a place where you can learn about the history of Wyoming and its people. The museum also has several permanent exhibits, including a “Discovery Zone” for children.
One of the most exciting displays at the museum is the life of Big Nose George Parrott, a local outlaw who was hanged in Rawlins in 1891. A plaster cast of the outlaw’s skull is on display at the museum.
Another exciting attraction at the Carbon County Museum is a Nightherder Gun, which James Weed, a Wyoming sheepherder, invented.
The patented gun was designed to keep predators away from a herd of sheep while the herder slept at night.
The Carbon County Museum is a great place to learn about the history of Rawlins and the people who lived here. It has several interesting exhibits and is constantly adding new displays.
Tully Park in Rawlins, WY
If you’re traveling through Rawlins on Interstate 80 and are looking for an excellent place to stop to cool off, head over to Tully Park. This park is fun to have a picnic, walk, or ride on a train.
There’s a playground and a railroad engine, so it’s a nice place to take your kids for fun traveling activities.
If you’re in the area, you should also check out the Wyoming Frontier Prison Museum and Carbon County Museum. These museums offer a lot of exciting information about the region’s history.
Parco Sinclair Museum in Sinclair, WY
The Parco Sinclair Museum is an excellent way to learn about the history of this quaint little town. The museum features a large fountain erected in 1927 to honor the town’s founder and several buildings styled in original Spanish Colonial architecture.
The museum is open to the public year-round and is free. The museum also has a great collection of memorabilia and artifacts to view.
Denver architects Fisher and Fisher designed the town in 1925. They employed the Spanish Colonial Revival style to create a unified townscape, with a central plaza surrounded by stylistically consistent public buildings.
They designed several significant buildings, including the Parco Inn, a large five-story building with a polychrome clay-tile roof and wrought iron balconies.
Rochelle Ranch Golf Course in Rawlins, Wyoming
If you want to get your game on while visiting Rawlins, check out Rochelle Ranch Golf Course. This public, city-owned, links-style course offers enjoyment and challenges for players of all skill levels.
Designed by Ken Kavanaugh, the course measures 7,925 yards from the longest tees for a par of 72. This is one of the most comprehensive courses in Wyoming and can be a real challenge for even the best players.
The layout is carved out of the rugged Red Desert steppe and surrounded by the Sierra Madre, Medicine Bow, Seminoe, Haystack, and Rattle Snake mountains, creating the perfect backdrop for your round.
It’s a lovely 18-hole gem and well worth the short trip from Rawlins to play a few rounds here.