Star Valley Area Guide

Star Valley is located in northern Lincoln County and includes twelve vibrant mountainside communities teeming with life including Afton, Thayne, Alpine, Star Valley Ranch, Freedom, Etna, Grover, Bedford, Smoot, Fairview, Auburn, and Turnerville.

Four of these towns are incorporated, though all residents share a common bond and pride in their Wyoming home. Lincoln County is home to roughly twenty-thousand residents and is considered one of the most diverse geographic regions in Wyoming with mountain deserts, forests, lakes, streams, and rushing rivers.

The valley is a forty-five mile long strip of land at the crux of three major rivers surrounded by some of the most expansive national forests in the world as well as some of the most breath-taking mountain peeks in North America alongside U.S. Highway 89 on the border of Wyoming and Idaho.

Star Valley is world famous for its wealth of recreational opportunities, tightly-knit communal organizations, and breathtaking panoramic views of naturalistic splendor.

While each community prides itself on its own brand of rustic municipality, Star Valley itself is considered one united community and as such enjoys the shared splendor of the nation’s finest hunting, hiking, fishing, skiing, and camping.


Star Valley was first settled in the 1870’s by hearty Mountain pioneers seeking valuable pelts and big game trophies indigenous to the area. Prior to the nineteenth century, it had been inhabited seasonally by a number of Indian Tribes including Shoshones.

Many of the original settlers were robust Mormon families seeking refuge and a better life. It was these settlers who first gave Star Valley its name by referring to it as the “Star of All Valleys,” due to its naturalistic beauty and undeniable splendor.

In further personification of this honorary title, the area often enjoys star filled night skies where the Northern Lights can often be witnessed.

In the early 1800’s the Lewis and Clark Expedition passed through the area in pursuit of a new route west, later to return in part due to the prolific hunting and trapping they enjoyed while visiting. Throughout the later nineteenth century, visitors frequently passed through the trails of Star Valley.

Settlement began with the arrival of Brigham Young Jr. in the 1870’s. The courage and tenacity of these people allowed them to survive unpredictable conditions and hardships brought on by uncommonly harsh winters. By 1907, many residents in the area had electric power courtesy of Lower Valley Power and Light, which still operates today as Lower Valley Energy.

The area’s first major publication, the Pioneer, was founded in 1902. Later, the name was changed to the Star Valley Independent and today this prestigious publication works to bring local happenings and news to the greater public.

Telephone service began in the area in 1949, and in 1995, this originally named Silver Star Telephone broadened both its business and its name to include communications.

Star Valley’s first hospital was built in 1943, and later replaced thirty years later with a larger, more modern facility. Services and facilities were expanded and improved over the preceding decades to include various satellite clinics, medical centers, and other facilities.

In the early twentieth century, agriculture and farming served as primary industries, later to be replaced by tourism after the establishment of the world’s first national park. Agriculture in the region was also fueled by the popularity of its cream, cheese, and other agricultural products.

Almost upon arrival, the first arrivals to the area began to build schools in the area to foster the growth of their citizenry. Early on, students would meet in churches or private homes, though later they would attend simple schoolhouses before larger institutions were built to accommodate the growing population and academic goals on the cities. Presently, Star Valley Schools are some of the most refined in the nation, having been recognized for their numerous academic achievements.

Tourism has continued to proliferate in Star Valley leading to higher populations, more diverse public programs, and expansive opportunities of every variety!

Attractions and Activities

Lincoln County Daughters of Utah Pioneer Museum
This expansive collection of galleries and artifacts celebrates the rich history of robust men and women to have made their lives in the rugged frontier of Wyoming. The collections of this fine museum are organized, maintained, and presented in order to preserve and present the area’s rich history from all perspectives while celebrating the indomitable spirit of the Lincoln County woman!
46 E. 5th Ave.
Afton, WY 83110
Phone: (800) 426-883

Freedom Arms
Located amongst the scenic beauty of Star Valley, Freedom Arms Inc. has been producing quality firearms to celebrate the area’s rich tradition and rugged individualism for years. Home to some of the finest gunsmiths in the industry, these quality dealers realize that gun ownership is an intense responsibility and do their part to endorse and promote disciplined enthusiasm for the trade by building quality pieces known for their award-winning standards of craftsmanship, ballistics, and premier appearance.
314 State Highway 239
Freedom, WY 83120-8816
Phone: (307) 883-2468

Star Valley Cheese Factory
More than a site for delectable fare (although the food is quite excellent) this quaint sandwich shop is a beloved historic reminder of the rich history of Star Valley’s early residents, many of whom made their living producing and exporting top-qualtiy cheese. The café portion is known for its excellent food and gorgeous gift shop, while the adjoining cheese factory turns out some of the finest dairy products in the world!
132 N Main St
Thayne, WY 83127
Phone: (307) 883-2510

Aviat Aircraft
Aviators the world over know and appreciate the fine workmanship of this first-class manufacturing company. Some of the best planes in the world were designed and constructed directly in Star Valley including the Pitts Special and the Husky A-1C, each amongst the finest personal aircraft in the world. The Aviat Aircraft facility consists of over seventy-thousand square feet atop five open acres of wondrous Wyoming prairie land used for aviation innovation and experimentation!
672 S Washington
Afton, WY 83110
Phone: (307) 885-3151