Does your vacation destination wishlist look something like this? “Camping, climbing, mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, fishing, and paddleboarding.” Your first ideas might be Yellowstone or Grand Teton National Park – but let’s face it, the hustle and bustle of National Parks during the summertime isn’t for everyone! If you’re looking for a bit more peace and quiet during your precious vacation days but still want a healthy dose of adventure, check out Laramie next summer.
This story was created in partnership with the Albany County Tourism Board, Wyoming.
If you prefer life on the water…
via Chris Bowen on Unsplash
Crystal-clear blue skies and sunshine are summer staples in Laramie, and there are plenty of opportunities to get on the water to beat the heat. The lakes, rivers, and reservoirs around Laramie are teeming with Cutthroat, Rainbow, Brown, and Brook Trout. From the high mountain streams to the Big Laramie River and plains lakes, you won’t leave Laramie without reeling in big fish. With so many options, consider booking a guided trip with a local fly shop to get the info from the experts! Curt Gowdy State Park’s beautiful scenery and three reservoirs make it an excellent spot to put in your kayak, canoe, or paddleboard. If you don’t have your own boat or paddleboard, local shops can help you get set up with rentals.
If you’re a two-wheeled traveler…
Before you hit the trail, stop by The Paddle House for any last-minute gear needs and the most recent trail information. Just 30 minutes from Laramie, Curt Gowdy State Park is a mountain biker’s paradise. The park’s extensive singletrack trail system was designed specifically with mountain bikes in mind. The 35 miles of trail feature log jumps, vertical drops, natural features, flow trails, and more; and vary in difficulty from easy beginner trails to techy expert rides.
If you’re not totally exhausted after Curt Gowdy, you’ll find plenty of other bike trails in the Laramie area! Check out the trails in the Snowy Range for challenging singletrack and stunning vistas, or Vedauwoo Recreation Area for a bit of Wyoming slickrock.
If life from a western saddle speaks to you…
Vee Bar Guest Ranch
The Vee Bar guest and dude ranch is sure to delight the cowboys and cowgirls in your family. Wranglers match guests with their own horse for their stay, and the ranch offers riding programs for all ages and ability levels, making it a perfect destination for any horse lover to have a memorable western experience.
A stay at Vee Bar isn’t just horseback rides – they also offer guided fishing, trap shooting, teepee camping under the stars, river tubing, hayrides, and the opportunity to herd cattle with their teams! Stays at the dude ranches in Laramie book up fast, so book early if your heart is set on equine adventures!
Deerwood Ranch Wild Horse Sanctuary
Up the road from Laramie along the Snowy Range Scenic Byway, you might hear the sound of hoofbeats in the distance – the sound of Deerwood Ranch Wild Horse EcoSanctuary. Even if you’re not a so-called “horse person,” an encounter with the wild horses at Deerwood is an American-West experience you won’t soon forget.
The landscape at Deerwood feels straight out of an old western film: open plains with massive peaks looming on the horizon, dotted with the 350 wild mustangs running freely on the Deerwood’s 4,700 acres of Wyoming rangeland. Deerwood is also an active, working ranch with other animals to care for, so be sure to call at least two days ahead to book your tour!
If you’d rather be climbing…
If we haven’t already said so, Vedauwoo (VEE-duh-voo) Recreation Area is a must-visit destination for all kinds of recreationists, but particularly appealing for climbers! The climbing community often refers to Vedauwoo as the “Joshua Tree of the North” because of the similarity of the rock formations. There are over 900 routes on record in Vedauwoo, including some of the best (and most difficult!) wide-crack climbing in the world.
Locals recommend bringing your tape along for the coarse-grained rock. If you need to pick some up for your climb, stop by Laramie’s Basecamp or Atmosphere Mountainworks.
To keep the climbing going into the evening, pitch a tent in Vedauwoo’s camping area! Vedauwoo has plenty of options for responsible dispersed camping among the otherworldly rock formations, including a few spaces for RVs and camper trailers.
If you’re a well-rounded adventurer…
If you prefer to dabble in a little bit of everything, the Snowy Range is calling your name. Located within Medicine Bow National Forest, the Snowies are truly a land of many uses: cabin rentals, National Forest campgrounds, secluded fishing spots, challenging hiking and biking trails, horseback riding, ORV riding, and more. Spend your day exploring the mountains, then make the short drive back to Laramie to satisfy your cravings with a pint from one of the local breweries and some of the best burgers in Wyoming.