SHERIDAN — Sheridan’s location lends itself to the great outdoors, so it’s easy to trade in the normal Valentine’s Day dinner and a movie date for something a bit more adventurous.
Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources Commission member Julie Greer said there’s many cabins, ranches and lodges that offer winter accommodations, like Eaton’s Ranch and Paradise Guest Ranch.
“It’s completely different than your summer guest ranch, and it’s just a short distance from town,” Greer said. “You have your own little cabin and it’s a good way to get out to escape.”
For couples who are interested in snowmobiling she suggested renting a room or cabin at Arrowhead, Bear, Deer Haven or Elk View Lodges for the weekend.
For the more adventurous couples, and ones with snowmobiling experience already, Greer suggested venturing a little further from home and staying the weekend at Wyoming High Country Lodge or Paint Rock Ranch, which she said would require a snowmobile to get to.
“Snowmobiling into one of those places and spending the weekend is a really unique experience,” Greer said. “Because you are right in the mountains, really secluded, beautiful locations.”
Once couples arrive, she said, with any of these options, they can choose to stay in, relax and just enjoy being away from it all, or venture out, ski, snowshoe, hike or participate in other winter activities offered.
Lastly as cabins go, Greer suggested the U.S. Forest Service’s Muddy Guard Cabin. This time of year, renters have to park and ski or snowshoe to the cabin and bring a little more than what’s required at other cabins and lodges. Muddy Guard has no potable water, so renters must bring their own, along with firewood for its only heat source, a wood stove.
Greer, who has stayed at Muddy Guard in the winter, said if you’re adventurous the experience is worth it and would be a romantic escape.
For day trips, Greer said couples can explore the Sibley and Cutler trails, not only cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, but also for fat biking. She said Sheridan Bicycle Company has a small fleet of fat bikes that can be rented out, and from there couples can venture to the trails or ride around town.
Another day trip she suggested is ice fishing. While at first it doesn’t seem to have that Valentine’s Day feel, she said it can absolutely lend itself to the holiday.
“It could be considered romantic because you’ve got your little hut and your heater,” Greer said, “so you could certainly make it more romantic.”
Sheridan Travel and Tourism head of media Megan Ahrens said she did a weekend itinerary for Valentine’s Day last year, and though that involves mostly indoor activities, the winter itinerary she put together for the adventurer could be weaved in.
Included in that list is a day spent in Story, getting ice climbing lessons with Story Climbing Guides.
For those who want to put in a bit more effort and maybe stay closer to home, Greer suggested a little construction project.
She said it’s easy to build an igloo or a quinzhee, and once constructed she said they’re relatively warm. She said it can be done in backyards or on public land and would be a surprise venue for dinner on the romantic holiday.
“It would take a lot of effort, but it would be a unique Valentine’s Day dinner,” Greer said.
Greer also suggested cross-country skiing on the trails at South Park for couples who want to get out but stay close to home. This can be done as a short evening activity on Valentine’s Day or any day leading up to it.
And though she doesn’t suggest it for this Valentine’s Day because of the high temperatures this weekend, Greer also said that skiing Goose Creek is a great experience for future holidays or outings, especially at night. She said to try this when temperatures are in the 20s or below consistently for at least a week and a half.
Not owning equipment isn’t a problem. Both Back Country Bikes and The Sports Stop rent skis.
“There’s a ton of different options,” Greer said.
“A lot of people don’t have their own skis or snowshoes, but all of that stuff is stuff that you can rent,” she added. “So whether you have lots of experience or no experience, you can certainly have a great Valentine’s Day winter adventure around here and not have to travel very far.”