Hiking in Wyoming

Spring and Fall Hikes at Guernsey State Park

For spring hikes nothing in southeast Wyoming beats Guernsey State Park. If you think you know the place, popular for its camping, swimming and water skiing, but have never been up on the cliff tops, think again. During the 1930’s the young men of the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed six interlocking trails that reach from the […]

Fishing for Fossils near Fossil Butte, WY

Over the holiday weekend we went fishing near Kemmerer, WY. At Fossil Lake.  But Fossil Lake dried up 50 million years ago.  The fish? Herring and bass. Dead, flattened, buried and fossilized. Pressed between layers of limestone like flowers in a book. Fishing in rock, yet fishing it was. Our rod and reel? Hammer and chisel […]

Cottonwood Draw Falls: Not for everyone

This waterfall isn’t for everyone. It’s out of the way. On no maps. Not that big. And it requries a real bushwack to reach. Plus it’s seasonal, flowing well only during the wet spring. But waterfalls with a sheer drop are rare in our part of the state. So for waterfall aficionados I’ll let you […]

Reese Mountain: Saved for You!

(Note: This piece was written for the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and published on Jun 22, 2006 along with a companion article by Cara Eastwood. Shortly following its publication, for unknown reasons, Mr. Broe thankfully ended his long effort to acquire the mountain. It’s yours! Enjoy the wildest place in Southeast Wyoming!) Reese Mountain belongs to […]

Boars Tusk: By any other name….

Give it a more captivating name and this ancient volcanic plug just might be a tourist destination. How about the Black Cathedral or perhaps Druid’s Throne?  It is dark, mysterious, a weathered old ruin rising on a circular dais, jabbing the heavens, more ready to curse than bless… Or the Dark Flame?  That captures its shape and […]

Crystal Reservoir Loop: For the Insatiably Curious

Are you a person that just has to see behind the familiar?  To peer beneath the everyday and common place?  When you were six was Curious George an inspiration rather than a warning? If so, you have something in common with Albert Einstein.   “I have no special talents,” he wrote in a letter.  “I am only […]

Pole Mountain Surprise: The Death Crotch

I thought I knew all the paths of Pole Mountain and Vedauwoo.   Prided myself in my superior know-how and know-where.  So I was surprised when my friend Shan showed me a map produced by the Pedal House, a Laramie bike shop.   It showed a trail called “The Death Crotch” climbing the west side of Pole Mountain. […]

The Medicine Bow One Hundred

 The One Hundred Mile Backpack Route through the Medicine Bow National Forest of Wyoming Cheyenne backpacker Shan Holyoak likes a long trail. One hundred miles at least. Six times he has hiked the Centennial Trail, 111 miles through the Black Hills, as a spring get-in-shape warm-up for bigger things. Those things include the Superior Hiking […]

Vedauwoo Area Maps from “Just Trails”

“Just Trails” publishes new hiking maps for Vedauwoo and Snowy Range  Al and Rebecca Walsh of Laramie have produced a new series of maps of the Snowy Range, Pole Mountain and Curt Gowdy trails. They did it the old fashioned way—by walking every step—and the high tech way—logging each of those steps by satellite to […]

Sand Creek National Natural Landmark

Min-ument Valley: The Topple Blocks of Sand Creek National Natural Landscape Due south of Laramie, where Wyoming meets Colorado, there, or so it seems, is a piece of Southern Utah. It is as if a Utah rock garden has been teleported, spread along five miles of meandering Sand Creek.  There are rock chimneys, hoodoos and […]

Pole Mountain Aspens

Where do you find a glimpse of heaven on our rocky mountain earth? In soaring granite spires glowing with sunset? Shimmering cutthroat rising from the depths? Maybe a bull elk stepping through silver mist into a meadow aglow with morning. Yet is there any place as heavenly as a fall grove of towering aspens? Gold above, […]

Finest Waterfall in SE Wyoming: Duck Creek Falls

Where is the finest waterfall in southeast Wyoming? Our geography holds many glories—the Snowy Range, Laramie Peak, the sculpted rocks of Vedauwoo—and many fine rivers—the North Platte, the Encampment, the Laramie. But we are not big on waterfalls. Our land shuns a shear drop. The most famous, Green Mountain Falls in the Sierra Madres, is a […]

A Pole Mountain Secret: the Hidden Trail to Point Crawford

The long ridge line of Pole Mountain slopes several miles from the summit toward Cheyenne ending in a distinct point, Point Crawford. From there it cascades down to ever smaller points until the mountain is finished. Long ago a walking trail was made leading up to Point Crawford along the gentlest route, rounding these points. That […]

Snowshoe or Ski In Cabins

Just imagine. Before turning in you step outside. The cold is bracing, refreshing. Listening intently, you quiet your breath. There isn’t a sound, just the faint stir of wind in snow laden pines. As eyes adjust to the night the sky becomes alive, rivers coursing through the pulsating glow of the Milky Way. Orion hovers above, […]

Turtle Rock Trail at Vedauwoo

The trail circling Turtle Rock at Vedauwoo is undoubtedly the most popular trail in the Cheyenne, WY, area. And for good reason. It’s close, easy and fascinating in its mix of geological artistry and biological wonder. On any given weekend throughout the spring, summer and fall it’s thrumming with college age kids, seniors and young […]

Leapfrogging the Teton Crest

The Teton Crest Trail draws trekkers from all over the world. It’s one of the top ten alpine hikes anywhere, Switzerland, New Zealand and Patagonia included. But it hadn’t drawn me. Something got in the way.  Permits. I’m from Wyoming. I like my freedom. I want to camp where I want to camp when I […]

John and Annie Woodhouse Recreation and Wildlife Habitat Area

Spring, in our foothills, is the metallic call of the sleek and shining redwing blackbird perched on the flaking old tuft of last year’s cattail. It’s the full out, web-extended urgent brake of the northbound teal throttling down to rest a night in an overfull pond. The nose of a spotted fawn peering up through […]

Hidden Secrets of Vedauwoo and Pole Mountain, Part 2

The Pole Mountain area, now a scene of play and renewal, has a history of struggle and tumult. For decades warriors trained, grunted and groused; “readied, aimed and fired“, detonating explosives that tore the quite high country air. Civilian Conservation Corpsmen sweat and labored, building roads and planting the forest we enjoy today. Miners blasted […]

The Secrets of White Rock Canyon

There is a canyon on the north end of the Medicine Bows that few know. Its shadowed walls hold hidden secrets, discretely placed, hushing those who encounter them. Here the solid remains of an ancient dune field, nestled into the granite range, have been exposed by tumbling waters. The creek has carved a canyon, filled with […]

White Rock Canyon

Highlights: A sandstone canyon sporting two tall rock pillars inscribed with glyphs from the cowboy era, a laughing stream and a lush growth of pines. Location: Near Arlington on the north edge of the Medicine Bow Mountains. Total Distance: One to two miles down and back. Elevations: Rim, 8280’; Floor 8060’ Maps: USGS White Rock Canyon quad; Medicine Bow […]

Cross Country Skiing at Happy Jack Ski Trails

“Shooshhh, shooshhh, shooshhh,” the snow whispers to the skis. “Shooshhh, shooshhh, shooshhh….” A gentle compress of snow hovers on each fir’s flat needles, as if to cool the overheated exertion of a summer’s growth. This forest, dry and rocky and ignored in summer, has been enchanted, spell bound. The sun, gazing soft and low from the southern […]

Rock Creek – Deep Creek Trail, WY

Highlights: A lovely, long trail following the creeks of a deep, shady canyon.  It’s a popular place to stretch out because it’s so easy to get to, so well constructed and the surroundings are so peaceful and expansive.  The trail was given National Recreation Trails certification back in 1979 and along with the recognition received […]

The Shelf Lakes

Highlights: A high alpine lark from lake to lake – seven in all — cutting through and along the great white granite of the Snowy Range. Location: West of Centennial near the high point of Hwy. 130 in the Medicine Bow National Forest. Elevations:  Trailhead, 10,785’; The Gap, 11,040’; 4th Shelf Lake, 10,860’ Distance: Approximately 2 miles each way. […]

A “Treasure Hunt” of the Weird and Wonderful at Pole Mountain, WY

Veduawoo and Pole Mountain is Cheyenne’s back forty. We love to play up there, all with our different passions: fishing, four-wheeling, camping, hiking, climbing, hunting, skiing, sledding or just messing around on the rocks. The rocks are monumental sculptures, painted with lichens in green, orange and black. The beavers have crafted jewels to reflect the sky. […]

The Angel at Devils Gate

Highlights: This short hike is long on attractions: interesting geology, abundant moose and beaver, boiling brookies, but most of all, fascinating archeology. Location: In the southern Snowy Range, west of Foxpark, entering the Platte River Wilderness Elevations: Official, four wheel drive trailhead, 8,850’; Douglas Creek:7,950’. Two wheel drive trailhead on FS 580, 9,188’; Douglas Creek:7,950’. Distance: From official trailhead, […]

Huston Park Continental Divide Trail

Highlights: This hike is a resplendent walk along the Continental Divide Trail where it weaves together a succession of verdant meadows, each a vast, rich, colorful carpet of wildflowers rimmed with pines, rising and falling along the gentle crest of the southern Sierra Madre Mountain range. Location: West of Encampment, Wyoming in the Huston Park Wilderness […]

Sheep Mountain Trail, Centennial, WY

Highlights: This is the mountain that everyone sees but few explore, the eastern most spur of the Medicine Bow Range. While from the road the mountain simply looks like a narrow ridge the top is a pleasant surprise, a long basin with flowing streams, wetlands and floating mat bogs. The 19,238 acres of Sheep Mountain […]

Curt Gowdy State Park: The Chameleon

Visit the Chameleon, the ruler of Curt Gowdy State Park. You’ll find him and Hidden Falls by taking Crow Creek Trail, looping back on Mo’Rocka. Highlights: A lovely little spring or late season trek following Middle Crow Creek to its mysterious Hidden Falls. An optional loop back climbs to the plateau where a great megalith–the Chameleon–rules […]

Albany Trail, WY

Hike of the Week: Mysterious Albany Trail Highlights: This is a secret trail, not shown on any maps and without trailhead markings, yet someone has blazed most of it with white triangles. It leads to crystalline beaver ponds, up weathered granite hills to sweeping views of the Laramie Plains, and marches on to overlooks down into […]

The Gap: North Gap Lake Trail, Sugarloaf Recreation Area, WY

Highlights: It’s the season for a foray into the Snowy Range, the high country of the Medicine Bow. This trail takes day hikers through the gap between Medicine Bow Peak and Browns Peak, past several crystalline lakes into the expansive tundra behind the range. The fish are jumping and the flowers are high. Location: The high […]

Savage Run, Medicine Bow National Forest, WY

Highlights: A walk across the length of the 1st Wilderness Area in the Medicine Bows, established in 1978. The trail passes through three distinct areas. The first is through one of the few remaining old growth lodgepole forests in the area with huge trees and a park-like savannah in between. The second crosses some large […]

Encampment River Trail, Medicine Bow National Forest, WY

Highlights: This trail – a glorious walk along the Encampment River – is a gem, a sapphire. The river is a turbulent, wrestling rush of water, splashing its course down the narrow canyon. The upper reach is in the deep shade of fir and spruce, the lower runs through an open hillside of sun and […]

Rainbow End, Medicine Bow National Forest, Laramie Range, WY

North Laramie River Trail Highlights: A rather boring hike to a destination that truly has it all: scenery, wildlife, good stream fishing, a swimming hole and the interesting remains of the old Rainbow End, a lodge and string of cabins that was a popular resort for those seeking cool canyon solace and leaping rainbows from the […]

Headquarters Trail, Sherman Mountains, Medicine Bow National Forest, WY

Highlights: A mountain trail that follows the spine of the Sherman Mountains, traveling through conifer forests and open meadows, passing rugged rock formations with frequent expansive views. Location: Near the summit rest area of I-80, on the eastern side of the Pole Mountain Unit of the Medicine Bow National Forest. Elevations: Summit Trailhead 8689′, high point 8856′, […]