The Best Locations For Family Photos in Cheyenne (2024 Update)

Have you been wondering what the best location for your family photos might be? Curious about what your options are near Cheyenne?

I’ve put together a short guide with location information on my favorite places for family sessions in the Cheyenne, Wyoming area. While it doesn’t cover every available option, it does include the locations I love best!

Lions Park

Lions Park is the largest park in Cheyenne, and includes a variety of natural settings for family photo sessions. It also includes the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens (see below).

  • Best for June through February
  • Morning and evening sessions
  • Great for families of all ages, as well as extended family sessions
  • Long grass, evergreens, cottonwoods
  • Accessible
  • Located in Cheyenne (usually accessed from Carey Ave)

During the summer and fall, the grass is (often) left long in certain areas of the park, and the trees along the lake provide great shade and color for family sessions. During the winter months, there are several spots with evergreens that work well for morning family sessions.

This is a great location for families who want to bring their dog(s)! Dogs must be leashed.

Cheyenne Botanic Gardens

The Cheyenne Botanic Gardens are located inside Lions Park, in Cheyenne, Wyoming. They include the gardens directly behind the Shane Smith Consevatory, as well as the Labyrinth.

  • Late May through February
  • Morning and evening sessions
  • Perfect for families of all ages, as well as extended family sessions
  • Flowers, spring blossoms, evergreens
  • Accessible
  • Located in Cheyenne (accessed from Carey Ave)

The Botanic Gardens are a great choice for family photos from late May through early October. The crabapple trees and tulips start blooming in late May, and the flower gardens are at their peak July and August.

Lions Park and the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens tend to be the most accessible locations I offer, both for families with young children, as well as extended family sessions. They’re easy to find, a short drive, and have ample parking. They’re my go-to location for families who want a natural setting at an in-town location, in all seasons.

Cheyenne Botanic Gardens Conservatory

The Shane Smith Cheyenne Botanic Gardens Conservatory is located in Lions Park, in the large orange building next to the Paul Smith Children’s Village. It includes a variety of tropical plants, both big and small, as well as some beautiful architectural lines.

  • Available year round, recommended for November through April
  • Morning sessions only (starting between 8-9 am)
  • Great for families of all ages
  • Tropical plants
  • Indoor, accessible, does require reservations
  • Located in Cheyenne

The Grand Conservatory requires a reservation for photography sessions, as well as a photo permit ($10-75). All sessions must take place before the conservatory is open to the public, so all photo sessions are scheduled to start between 8-9 am. Reservations are only available Tuesday through Saturday, when the conservatory is open and available.

I typically only use this location in the winter months (January through April). The 9 am start time can be a challenge for families with small children, and the water features inside are a very, very persistent distraction for toddlers and preschoolers!

This location is very popular with photographers between mid-November and early March, so I would recommend scheduling your session no later than September 15 if you want a Saturday reservation in the conservatory.

Curt Gowdy State Park

Curt Gowdy State Park is located 24 miles west of Cheyenne, on Happy Jack Road. It includes ponderosa pines, aspens, and small foothill shrubs, as well as a few rock formations.

  • Best for mid June through mid October
  • Late afternoon/evening sessions
  • Great for families of all ages, small extended family sessions
  • Long grass, evergreens, aspens
  • Mostly accessible to “for the adventurous”
  • Approximately 30 minutes west of I-25

Curt Gowdy State Park is one of the easier locations to access for mountain sessions. Most session locations are within a 5 minute walk of the parking area, although more challenging hikes are available for the adventurous (just ask)! I suggest closed toed shoes due to cactus, yucca and rose bushes, as well as bringing a small bag with waters and snacks.

Curt Gowdy State Park does require a day use fee ($7 resident, $12 non-resident), which will need to be paid prior to your session. It can be paid either at the visitor center or at a credit card kiosk near the entrance to the park. Annual passes are available for purchase online, and are good at any Wyoming state park.

Dogs must be leashed due to cows, moose and deer.

For more info on a family session at Curt Gowdy State Park, check out my in-depth location guide!

Happy Jack Recreation Area/Tie City Trailhead

The Happy Jack Recreation Area and the Tie City Trailhead (aka I-80 Summit) are located approximately 45 minutes west of Cheyenne, and 20 minutes east of Laramie. Both locations have a more “true” mountain feeling, with lots of aspens and alpine fir trees.

  • Early July through mid October
  • Late afternoon/evening sessions only
  • Great for families of all ages, small extended family sessions
  • Evergreens, aspens
  • Mostly accessible to adventurous
  • Approximately 45 minutes west of I-25

Both have session locations that are accessible on foot from the parking area. That said, these locations can be somewhat challenging for clients with small children, as it is a long drive from Cheyenne. There is an indoor rest area located at the I-80 exit.

During the summer months, we may have wildflowers. But wildflowers means moisture, which also means awful (and I mean awful) amounts of mosquitos! You will absolutely want to bring mosquito repellent for any July or August sessions.

Cell service can be non-existent at the Happy Jack Recreation Area, so you will want to know where we’re meeting before leaving Cheyenne or Laramie. The two locations are only about 2 miles apart, but if you aren’t you’re in the right spot, you may not be able to reach me to ask. If you aren’t 100% sure where we’re going, just ask!

Both Happy Jack Recreation Area and Tie City Trailhead require a day use permit for the USFS. Those can be paid at the trailheads near the parking areas.

Wyoming State Capitol Building

The Wyoming State Capitol Building is a fantastic option for families who want an in-town session somewhere less park-like. Since my sessions at the Capitol are during the evening, in summer or early fall, it can be a surprisingly quiet location for a family session! Kids love getting to jump off the steps, and there are a million architectural details to work with.

This is also a great location for families traveling in from out of town! I’ve had several visiting families request this location so they have a record of visiting the state capital of Wyoming.

Along with the Botanic Gardens, this will be one of the best locations for anyone with a family member with mobility issues (wheelchair, walker, etc).

  • Best for late May through early November
  • Evening session only
  • Great for families of all ages, as well as extended family sessions
  • Lawn, hardscape, buildings
  • Very accessible
  • Located in Cheyenne

High Plains Arboretum

The High Plains Arboretum is located at 8301 Hildreth Rd, about 10 minutes west of I-25, off Happy Jack Road. It is owned by the City of Cheyenne. There are a small cluster of city-owned buildings near the west end of the arborteum, but these are scheduled to undergo renovation in the coming years, so I can’t guarantee their availability.

  • Best for late May through mid October
  • Evening sessions only
  • Great for families of all ages, no dogs
  • Long grass, spruce, cottonwoods
  • Accessible
  • Located 10 minutes west of I-25

Fall is my preferred time for family sessions at the High Plains Arboretum. The cottonwoods typically start turning in late September, and depending on the city’s mowing schedule, there can be long grass. Mosquitos can be an issue during the warmer months, depending on the weather and the city’s irrigation plan, so bring bug spray!

No dogs are allowed (even leashed).

This is a great choice for family clients wanting an easy location that isn’t in-town. It’s a relatively easy drive from Cheyenne, and while quite a few photographers use it during the fall months, it’s fairly quiet otherwise.

Cheyenne Greenway

I am always finding new locations along the Cheyenne Greenway! The bike path follows various flood plains and creek beds in Cheyenne, so it’s a mix of willows, cottonwoods, and long grass.

  • Best for July through early December
  • Morning and evening sessions
  • Great for families of all ages, small extended family sessions
  • Long grass, cotttonwoods, willows
  • Accessible

It’s a perfect location for a family wanting an easy, in-town session. Kids love exploring the various dirt trails along the creeks!

This is my favorite location for morning sessions in the summer and fall.

Vedauwoo Recreation Area

Vedauwoo Recreation Area is located about 40 minutes west of Cheyenne, off I-80. It includes large rock formations, as well as aspens and pines.

  • Best for July through late September
  • Evening sessions only
  • Best for families with school age children
  • Aspens, pines, rock formations
  • Somewhat accessible to adventurous

While absolutely gorgeous, this location can be a challenge to photograph, due to the location of the Turtle Rock rock formation and the evening sun (Turtle Rock faces west, into the setting sun). Parking can also be a challenge, with the day use area filling up quickly with hikers and picnickers.

While I am open to photographing clients here from July through late September, I usually push my family clients to a more private location on the nearby USFS lands.

USFS day use fees are required for this location, and can be paid at the entrance.

Medicine Bow National Forest

This covers the Pole Mountain area of the Medicine Bow National Forest, located between Laramie and Cheyenne. It’s usually accessed either from I-80 or Happy Jack Road. Most locations are 45-60 minutes from Cheyenne, and will require driving on gravel roads.

  • July through late September
  • Evening sessions only
  • Great for families of all ages, depending on location
  • Aspens, pines, rock formations
  • Adventurous

Over the last couple years, I’ve spent the off-season scouting new session locations with my dog. Not surprisingly, there is no shortage of gorgeous locations on the Med-Bow!

You’re welcome to bring your dogs, but keep a leash handy. I’ve seen moose at multiple sessions in the Medicine Bow NF (and almost watched a dog – not my clients’ or my own – get trampled by one).

Many of the roads in the forest are closed during mud season (February through late June/July), and are only accessed from parking lots along Happy Jack Road.

Note: while Lake Marie is in the Medicine Bow National Forest, it is not included as a standard location in my family session packages, and will require an additional travel fee.

At Home

In-home sessions or backyard sessions are always an option for families! Available year-round, both during the morning as well as the late afternoon/evening. This is a wonderful way of documenting all aspects of your family at this stage of your life.

  • All year
  • Morning, late afternoon, evening sessions available
  • Great for families of all ages
  • Extremely accessible

Depending on your house, as well as the time of year, this session can take place indoors, on your front porch, in your backyard, or a mix of all three!

This is an excellent option for winter family sessions, as well as sessions with babies under six months of age.

Other Locations

By no means is this a comprehensive list. Depending on time of year, weather, and schedule, I have other locations available. Some locations require reservations, and I will need to check on availability prior to scheduling.

I am also available for sessions in the Fort Collins area. Due to the slightly lower elevation, they have earlier blossoms and later fall color. It’s an easy way to avoid the wind and cold in Wyoming! Watch my blog for an upcoming article on my favorite places in Fort Collins for family photos!

How To Book Your Family Session

You can find more information on my family sessions at this link! I recommend scheduling your session approximately three months in advance, although I do occasionally have last second availability.

Questions about a location? Shoot me a message!

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