We’ll show you around the place
The best way to learn about Gillette and Wright is from the locals, and we’d love to show you around. Together, we’ll explore history, geology and the wilderness. Schedule a solo tour or a bus load of people to see Wyoming like only a resident can show you.
Coal Mine Tours
Durham Bison Ranch
The bison has come to represent all of Wyoming as we wave its iconic silhouette proudly across our flag. Historically, bison were known as the most important animal in the development of North America. They were the center of life for the Plains Indians, providing food, clothing and shelter, so the animal was revered by the tribe culturally and religiously. There were an estimated 40-60 million bison roaming the Great Plains in the 1830s, but Western expansion and development endangered the animal nearly to the point of extinction. Fast forward to 1965 when Armando Flocchini Jr., a meat butcher from San Francisco, purchased a 55,000 acre ranch just outside of Wright, Wyoming. Like many ranchers of the time, he understood if he wanted to make a living through bison, he needed to set an example in his care of the animal and the land. By raising his bison holistically and ethically, Flocchini developed symbiosis with his herd, and the Flocchini family has been running the ranch ever since. Thanks to conservation efforts of private ranchers like Flocchini, bison have been removed from the endangered species list and are now thriving in North America. Today, the Durham Bison Ranch is one of the continent’s largest bison operations and is home to more than 2,500 bison, all of whom are raised naturally, holistically and sustainably as part of the Flocchini’s commitment to the animal. Durham bison is hailed as some of the highest quality meat available and is shipped nationwide. Durham Ranch is open for tours during the summer months, so you can go where the buffalo roam. You’ll experience life on a Wyoming ranch and can taste the signature flavor of Wright with a bison lunch available from several restaurants in Wright or Gillette. Schedule tours through the Gillette Visitor Center by calling 307.686.0040.
Wildlife Loop Tours
Campbell County may be most famous for what’s beneath our surface, but above all of our minerals is a vibrant and diverse ecology with wildlife so abundant that pronghorns actually outnumber people here. Experience the raw landscapes and all of the creatures that call it home on one of our two self-guided driving Wildlife Loop Tours, produced by the the experts at the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. Whether you select the three hour West Tour or the two hour East Tour, you’ll navigate through Rochelle Hills, sagebrush grasslands, ponderosa pines and juniper habitats to see wild turkeys, waterfowl, pheasants, whitetail deer, mule deer, hawks, eagles, owls, elk, and of course, pronghorn. With its distinctive white fur patches on the rump, sides, bellies and throats, the pronghorn is the fastest animal in North America and second fastest in the world, capable of reaching 65 miles per hour. Though the animal is not technically an antelope, its commonly referred to as such because of the characteristic horns.
Though you have a good chance of seeing pronghorn on nearly any drive through Campbell County anytime of the year, the rest of our wildlife isn’t quite as easy to spot. The Wildlife Loop Tours peak April 1 through October 31, and animals tend to be most active in the early mornings and evenings. All roads along the tours are either blacktop or improved gravel so they are easily traveled by any vehicle, and many have designated pull off areas so you can get binoculars out for a closer look. While our residents will always be excited to see you, wildlife tends to be a little bit more bashful, so be patient as you take the tour. Neither loop needs to be completed in its entirety. To pick up maps for both tours and additional information, stop into the Gillette Visitor Center at 1810 South Douglas Highway.
Downtown Gillette is where the saloon doors of the old West swing open for a dramatic entrance into small town Americana. Learn about the city’s chronicles of gunslinging cowboys while experiencing the charm of a quaint but up-and-coming downtown on either (or both) of two historic walking tours. You’ll see the spot outside the Montgomery Bar where legendary outlaw Ray Montgomery pulled then-mayor Mark Shields out into the street to beat him up and take over as mayor in 1914. Tour the former City Hall which held public meetings, dances, trials and funerals, sometimes all on the same day. Make sure to explore behind the building, where you’ll find a dent in the main iron door from a jealous husband’s bullet who warned a man away from his wife with a pistol. The contiguity between past and present is most obvious at the former Gillette Post Office, which is now Gillette Brewing Company and Gone Postal Pizzeria. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and when you step inside you can still see remnants of mail exchange like the preserved teller windows. While you’re there, make sure to order a Locomotive Brown Ale. Trust us. It’s in the name of research.
You’ll feel the boundaries between time blur as you experience historically relevant and riveting stories about old West lore in the freshly modern setting of boutiques, shops and restaurants in Gillette’s revived downtown, so it’s only fitting that the tours are available in one classic format and another that’s much more contemporary. Enjoy the nostalgia of simpler times with the
Campbell County Historical Society’s free walking tour using a printed guidebook, which is available at the Gillette Visitor Center, located at 1810 South Douglas Highway, or from the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce at 314 S. Gillette Avenue. For a more immersive, technological experience, download the free TravelStorys app, a location-aware audio tour that will automatically begin playing when your phone is in front of any of the ten stops along the tour. Download the app and learn more at https://www.travelstorys.com/wy-tour/, and click on WY Tour Gillette.