Discover the Coldest Place in Wyoming (-66 Degrees!)

Snow covered Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming
© Steele

Written by Lev Baker

Updated: April 23, 2023

Share on:


Situated in the western part of the country, Wyoming is known for its wide-open spaces and rugged terrain. From the rolling hills of the Great Plains to the towering peaks of the Rocky Mountains, the state’s geography is diverse and varied. But no matter where you go in Wyoming, you can experience some seriously chilly temperatures, especially during the winter.

One place takes the cake when it comes to extreme cold: the small town of Riverside in Carbon County! This area holds the record for the lowest temperature ever recorded in Wyoming. On February 9, 1933, the frigid record-breaking temperature was -66 degrees Fahrenheit. Amazingly, this record still stands almost a century later.

History Of Riverside

Riverside, Wyoming, is a small town located at the junction of US 230 and WYO Hwy 70. It was first settled in 1902 by Johnson & Newton Doggett, who originally named it Swan and later Doggett. However, when people began calling it Dog-town, the citizens decided to change the name. They thought Riverside was more suitable and less corruptible.

Riverside has always been a place where agriculture and logging were the primary sources of income. The town was home to the 40-room Riverside Hotel, which became a popular meeting place for mine workers. Additionally, in 1902, the Taylor Publishing and Engraving Company began publishing the Riverside Record, a weekly newspaper.

Riverside is situated on the banks of the Encampment River, a popular attraction for fishermen, rafters, and kayakers. The town is known for its world-class trout fishing and other outdoor activities, such as hunting and fishing. 

Today, the population of Riverside is only around 60 people. Despite its tiny population, Riverside was once an integral shipping center for copper mines in the Sierra Madre Mountains.

Fun Facts About Riverside

Let’s look at some of the exciting facts about Riverside and Wyoming.

  • Riverside is a small town in the state of Wyoming, with a total area of 0.27 square miles.
  • In Riverside, the nighttime low temperature falls below freezing for about 206.5 days per year, making it colder than the majority of places in Wyoming.
  • According to the U.S. National Climatic Data Center, Riverside is the coldest town in Wyoming.
  • Wyoming is the least populous state in the United States, with only 576,850 residents.
  • People who live in Wyoming are called Wyomingites.
  • Wyoming is known as the “Cowboy State”, due to the fact that rodeo is the official state sport.
  • Cheyenne, the capital of Wyoming, is the second highest capital in the United States, at an elevation of 6063 feet. Only Santa Fe, New Mexico, is situated at a higher altitude.

Average Temperatures

Jackson, Wyoming is another area in the state that receives a lot of snow.

© Sachs

If you’re considering a trip to Riverside, Wyoming, be prepared for some chilly weather. The temperature falls below 50 degrees Fahrenheit for about nine months out of the year.

Interestingly, Riverside is one of the least rainy towns in the United States. It has an average of only 14 inches of rain per year. However, on the flip side, visitors will have to deal with a lot of snow! Riverside gets an average of 74 inches of snow per year. In fact, snow covers the ground for 126 days out of the year, which is way above average in the United States.

In the summer, the temperature in Riverside warms, with July highs reaching around 82 degrees. But the winters can be brutally cold, with lows in January dropping to 11 degrees.

The most pleasant months to visit are typically June, July, and August. February and December are usually the least comfortable due to the cold weather.

Record Temperature

The lowest temperature recorded in Riverside, Wyoming, was an incredibly cold -66 degrees Fahrenheit on February 9, 1933.

If you were outside on this day, you would have had to be extremely well-prepared to survive the extreme cold. You would have needed several layers of warm clothing, including a hat, gloves, and a thick coat. You would have also needed to protect your face and ears from the cold, as exposure to these areas can lead to frostbite and hypothermia. In temperatures below -55 degrees F, you are also at extreme risk of frostbite. It only takes about two minutes of exposure to get frostbite at this temperature. 


Riverside has always been a small town, with its population never reaching 100. The highest number of residents ever recorded was 87 in 1960, while the lowest was only 29 individuals in 1920.

At the time of the lowest temperature ever recorded in 1933, this small town had around 30 residents. 

What Is the Warmest Town in Wyoming?

Thermopolis, whose name literally means “hot city” is the Cowboy State’s warmest town. Named for its hot springs, the town which has a population of 2,725, was founded in 1870. Thermopolis also boasts the world’s largest mineral spring, christened the Big Spring. The warmest months include June, July, August, and September, where it is possible to record temperatures of 82, 89, 88, and 77 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively.

The town is also home to an amazing variety of wildlife: bison can be observed enjoying each other’s company and fresh verdant grass at the Hot Spring State Park. Deer herds can also be admired in the town as well.

Wildlife In Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park

While the bison is the largest land mammal in the US, you’re more likely to face danger from a grizzly.


If you’re looking to spot some amazing wildlife, Riverside is the place to be. Many animals call this place home, including deer, antelope, big horn sheep, elk, and even blue herons. But the real standout is the bald eagle population — there are more nesting pairs here than anywhere else in Wyoming!

Wyoming is a paradise for nature enthusiasts. From the majestic grizzly bears in the Grand Tetons to the pronghorns and bison in Yellowstone National Park, there is always something to see and appreciate.

Wyoming is known for its gorgeous landscape and diverse array of wildlife. However, it’s important to remember that some of these animals can be dangerous. While the bison is the largest land mammal in the US, you’re more likely to face danger from a grizzly.

Mountain lions, moose, bobcats, and gray wolves are also dangerous mammals to watch out for in Wyoming. Snakes, including rattlesnakes and the western hog-nosed snake, can also be found in the state.

In addition to these potentially dangerous animals, Wyoming is home to several species that are officially listed as endangered. These include the black-footed ferret, the Kendall warm springs dace, and the Wyoming toad. Other threatened species in the state include the northern long-eared bat, yellow-billed western cuckoo, grizzly bear, lynx, and jumping mouse.

Best Places for Wildlife Viewing

If you’re interested in getting up close and personal with Wyoming’s wildlife, there are plenty of opportunities to do so. Guided wildlife tours are available year-round in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park. And the National Elk Refuge near Jackson offers unique winter sleigh rides.

These national forests, parks, wilderness areas, and refuges are home to many of Wyoming’s majestic creatures. They are the perfect place to observe and appreciate them. However, it’s always a good idea to be cautious and respectful when exploring the great outdoors in Wyoming.

Share this post on:
About the Author

Lev is a writer at AZ Animals who primarily covers topics on animals, geography, and plants. He has been writing for more than 4 years and loves researching topics and learning new things. His three biggest loves in the world are music, travel, and animals. He has his diving license and loves sea creatures. His favorite animal in the world is the manta ray.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.