Geography of Carbon County, Wyoming

By | March 4, 2024

Carbon County, located in the south-central part of Wyoming, is a region of rugged beauty, diverse landscapes, and abundant natural resources. From its vast plains and rolling hills to its towering mountains and pristine rivers, Carbon County offers a rich tapestry of geography and climate. In this exploration, we’ll delve into the geography, climate, rivers, lakes, and other notable features of Carbon County.


According to healthinclude, Carbon County encompasses an area of approximately 7,964 square miles, making it one of the largest counties in Wyoming by land area. It is situated in the Rocky Mountain region, bordered by the counties of Albany to the north, Converse to the east, Sweetwater to the south, and Natrona to the west. The county seat and largest town is Rawlins.

The geography of Carbon County is characterized by its diverse terrain, which includes vast plains, rugged mountains, and deep river valleys. The county lies within the Rocky Mountains physiographic province, a region known for its dramatic landscapes and geological formations.

The landscape of Carbon County is shaped by the presence of several mountain ranges, including the Sierra Madre to the west and the Snowy Range to the east. These mountains provide stunning vistas, challenging hiking trails, and opportunities for outdoor recreation such as skiing, snowboarding, and camping.


Carbon County experiences a semi-arid climate, characterized by cold, snowy winters and warm, dry summers. The region’s climate is influenced by its high elevation and its proximity to the Continental Divide.

Summers in Carbon County are typically warm and sunny, with daytime temperatures averaging in the 70s and 80s Fahrenheit. Thunderstorms are common during the summer months, bringing brief but intense rainfall and occasional hail.

Winters in Carbon County are cold and snowy, with temperatures often dropping below freezing from November to March. Snowfall accumulates throughout the winter months, creating ideal conditions for winter sports such as skiing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing.

Spring and autumn in Carbon County are relatively mild, with temperatures gradually warming up in the spring and cooling down in the autumn. These seasons are favored by many residents for outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and enjoying the colorful foliage in the county’s parks and nature reserves.

Rivers and Lakes:

Carbon County is traversed by several rivers and streams that provide important habitats for wildlife and offer recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike. One of the most significant waterways in the county is the North Platte River, which flows from its headwaters in the Snowy Range through Carbon County and into Nebraska. The North Platte River and its tributaries provide opportunities for fishing, boating, and wildlife viewing, as well as scenic beauty as they wind their way through the county’s countryside.

In addition to the North Platte River, the county is home to several other rivers and creeks, including the Encampment River, the Little Snake River, and the Medicine Bow River. These waterways meander through the county’s valleys and provide important water sources for wildlife, as well as opportunities for outdoor recreation such as fishing, kayaking, and picnicking.

While Carbon County does not have any natural lakes, it is home to several reservoirs and ponds, including Seminoe Reservoir and Pathfinder Reservoir. These bodies of water provide opportunities for boating, fishing, and camping, as well as scenic beauty and tranquility in the heart of the county’s rural areas.

Notable Features:

Carbon County is home to several notable landmarks and attractions that showcase the region’s natural beauty and cultural heritage. One of the most iconic features of the county is the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, a vast wilderness area located in the southern part of the county. The national forest features miles of hiking trails, scenic overlooks, and campgrounds, as well as opportunities for fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing.

Another popular destination in Carbon County is the town of Saratoga, known for its hot springs and outdoor recreational activities. The Saratoga Hot Springs Resort offers natural hot springs pools, spa services, and lodging options, making it a popular destination for relaxation and rejuvenation.


In conclusion, Carbon County offers a diverse array of geography, climate, rivers, lakes, and other natural features that make it a unique and appealing destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. From its rugged mountains and deep river valleys to its vast plains and pristine lakes, this corner of south-central Wyoming provides endless opportunities for outdoor exploration, recreational activities, and appreciation of the natural world. Whether you’re hiking in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, fishing on the North Platte River, or soaking in the hot springs of Saratoga, Carbon County has something to offer for everyone.