Lassos, cowboys, saloons, stand-offs, they all make us think of one thing – The Wild West. It is perhaps the most famous aspect of American history and makes us think of movies with gunslingers and wild adventures in a time gone by. Except it’s not totally gone; there are still many states in the USA where the Wild West truly lives on, and this article is here to inspire your next trip with the best the West has to offer.
Taking off on any trip is always very exciting, and taking off on your cowboy adventure is no exception. Be sure to get in the Wild West spirit even before you’ve packed your bags. You can stream episodes of HBO’s Westworld while you sit in the terminal or have fun playing William Hill’s Heart of the Frontier game risk-free when you use Oddschecker’s welcome bonus. There’s also a range of mobile games with a Wild West setting out there, like Lost Frontier.
For a true cowboy experience, Colorado is the place to go. This beautiful state is home to some breath-taking nature and vibrant cities that will leave any tourist in awe of what the state has to offer. Despite the modernistic atmosphere, Colorado hasn’t abandoned its Wild West origins, and there are still plenty of places to visit that will transport you back in time. Head on over to Colorado Springs where the Academy Riding Stables will take you on an incredible horseback ride around the Garden of the Gods National Park, where you will truly feel like a cowboy exploring the Wild West for the first time. Feel like a more relaxed approach? Why not explore one of the first towns in Colorado established by those who came in search for gold and take a horse-drawn wagon tour of Old Colorado City. Step back a few centuries into the Ghost Town Museum where you will experience a fully preserved Wild West town complete with artefacts and activities to partake in, including panning for gold just like they did along the Colorado Frontier!
There can be no argument that Arizona is home to some of the Wild West’s best-known tales. The tale of the half-a-minute shoot out at OK Corral, Tombstone, where the Holliday brothers Earp and Doc gunned down three members of the Clanton cowboy gang, is one that has cemented the quick-draw as a staple of Wild West tropes. You can see this for yourself at the OK Corral site, where you can learn more about the fight and even watch live re-enactments of the event. Visit the set of some of the best loved Western productions ever made at the Old Tuscon Studios; get a behind the scenes tour, watch gunfights on set, and enjoy some can-can dancing in the old saloons! Experience the old Spanish mission sites in the Tumacacori National Historic Park and learn about the missions carried out by the Spanish settlers of the Wild West whilst taking in the astonishing nature surrounding it.
When thinking about the Wild West, Texas is without a doubt one of the first places that springs to mind. There are endless ways to feel like a true Texan in the heart of the Wild West and traditional cattle ranches are the best place to start. If you time it right, you can dive straight into the Wild West action at the semi-annual Longhorn Cattle Drive at the Big Bend Ranch State Park. This isn’t just some tame tourist gimmick; this is a three-day-long immersive experience that allows you to go out and find the new Longhorn calves, round them up to be tagged, inoculated, and branded, and then drive them back out to the fields! Or if you’re pressed for time and looking for a shorter event, head on over to King Ranch – one of the oldest ranches in the world. Here you can take a guided tour to learn all about the history of the ranch and all of the day-to-day workings of a modern ranch. Finally, if you’re looking for an authentic Wild West experience, head on over to Texas Hill County to a town called Bandera, otherwise known as the Cowboy Capital of the World. Bandera is a town that remains close to its origins, with rodeos and horseback excursions occurring at regular intervals, chuck-wagon meals, and a thriving nightlife at the range of honky-tonk bars around town.
So, what are you waiting for? Step back in time and experience the Wild West in a trip like no other.