Casper is the the largest city and county seat of Natrona county, located in central-eastern Wyoming. The city occupies a valley created by the junction of the North Platte river and the Laramie mountains. Casper is the largest city between Cheyenne and Billings, and between Rapid City and Salt Lake City. The city is the financial and administrative center for a vast region of Wyoming that encompasses some of the state's most important mineral producing areas, especially the oil and gas fields located nearby. If you're passing through the state, Casper is a likely choice for an overnight stop or as a place to find food and supplies before heading to the national parks in the state's northwestern corner or to the forests located to the southeast or to the north.
Only Cheyenne, the state capital, is larger. Casper is nicknamed "The Oil City" and has a long history of oil boomtown and cowboy culture, dating back to the development of the nearby Salt Creek Oil Field. In 2010, Casper was named the highest-ranked family-friendly small city in the West, and ranked eighth overall in the nation in Forbes magazine's list of "the best small cities to raise a family". Casper is located in east-central Wyoming at the foot of Casper Mountain, the north end of the Laramie Mountain Range, and along the North Platte River. The city was established east of the former site of Fort Caspar, which was built during the mid-19th century mass migration of land seekers along the Oregon, California and Mormon trails. The area was the location of several ferries that offered passage across the North Platte River in the early 1840s. In 1859, Louis Guinard built a bridge and trading post near the original ferry locations.