Laramie, Wyoming overflows with opportunities for epic mountain biking. Laramie mountain biking stands out not only for the quality and variety of trails but especially for the overall convenience of the location. By this, I mean that some trails literally start in town, while many others are just a quick drive away—we’re talking 15, 20, and 30 minutes for prime locations. That’s really hard to beat.
If you’re still considering whether or not mountain biking could be an activity for you, or if you’re wondering about investing more time and energy into the sport, I offer four reasons that should convince you to take up mountain biking:
Reason #1: Experience Epic Trail Systems
The mountain biking trail systems in and around Laramie are among the best you can find anywhere. Below is a description of the main trail areas around Laramie.
Formerly “The Schoolyard,” the Pilot Hill Trailhead literally departs from town, scoring this location major points for convenience. In addition to ease of access, this area shines for its unique prairie landscapes that treat riders to large expanses of limestone and sprawling views of Laramie and the Laramie Valley. Fun fact: The Pilot Hill trails lay on top of the Casper Aquifer Recharge Zone, meaning the rocks below your feet are filtering the drinking water for the entire city of Laramie.
About twelve miles east of Laramie, the Tie City / Happy Jack trail systems are notable for flowy, at times technical rides through dense and beautiful pine and aspen forests. A favorite of mine in this area is the Middle Aspen trail. This trail is rated moderate and is an incredibly fun ride. Significant work has gone into this trail over the past few seasons to ensure it is continually safe and enjoyable to ride. It is also home to Laramie's premier cycling event, the Laramie Range Epic.
Curt Gowdy State Park
Curt Gowdy State Park is a well-known and well-loved location among mountain bikers from all over the county, and it is just a quick 30-minute drive from Laramie. Home to 35 miles of trails for all skill levels, Curt Gowdy also boasts notable “play areas” where riders can climb and descend massive granite boulders. The Shoreline and Ferguson trails make loops around the reservoirs and are great for beginner riders. Middle Kingdom and Stone Temple are great for more experienced riders.
Reason #2: Care for Your Mind and Body
If you’ve found your way to this blog, then you are aware of how important it is to spend time in nature. Getting outside and moving your body helps replenish your spirits, especially after a long winter or a particularly tough day or week at work. The health benefits of consistently biking are significant and the constantly changing natural environment makes it exciting and easy to push yourself just a little further.
Mountain biking can be especially rejuvenating because it requires constant focus and therefore allows riders to access “flow.” Flow is a state of mind in which a person becomes fully immersed in an activity, allowing time and other distractions to fall away. Spending time in “flow” is good for your mind and body.
Reason # 3: Connect with Others
While you can mountain bike solo (I do a lot), you will likely enjoy it more with a friend or two. Even if you don’t know any other mountain bikers now, a trailhead is a great place to meet them. I am continually surprised to learn that a friend or acquaintance is a mountain biker by running into them on the trails.
A great way to both learn a lot about mountain biking and meet new riders is to sign up for a mountain biking skills training class. These classes are offered throughout the summer. Check in with The Pedal House or All Terrain Sports in Laramie for more information about these classes.
While it might seem crazy, signing up for a mountain biking race is another excellent way to build community. Laramie bike shops partner with other community organizations to host several races throughout the year. Expert level not required.
Reason #4: Continually Challenge Yourself
Mountain biking challenges riders to continually push themselves to be able to ride new trails and have new experiences. Trails around the Laramie area overflow with variety in terms of skill level, distance, and technical difficulty. Opportunities to hone in on a new skill, to try something different, and to expand your comfort zone are plentiful.
Mountain biking will quickly help you realize where you fall on the spectrum from risk-taker to risk-averse, and in that way, it helps you learn more about yourself, too. While mountain biking is not competitive in the traditional sense, and the real joy comes from pushing yourself to be a bit better today than you were yesterday. To me, witnessing this personal growth is one of the biggest joys of mountain biking.