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Northern Wyoming is a point of convergence. Here mountains meet prairies, forests meet ranches, and country towns meet Western cities. Most settlements have no more than a few hundred people; only three surpass 10,000 residents. Casper, on the banks of the North Platte River in the center of Wyoming, is on or near five of the major pioneer trails of the mid-19th century, including the Oregon and Mormon trails. Gillette, in the Powder River Basin near Devils Tower National Monument, and Sheridan, on the edge of the Big Horn Mountains 104 mi to the northwest, are both in Wyoming's energy country, although ranching (both dude and cattle) are mainstays of the communities. Cody, with about 9,100 residents, is the largest community between the Big Horn Mountains and Yellowstone National Park, a convenient stop for visitors on their way to the natural treasures farther west.
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