The Laramie area has many beautiful trails. The area near Centennial, Wyoming (about 30 miles west of Laramie) is particularly beautiful. Nestled in Medicine Bow National Forest in the Snowy Range Mountains are a huge variety of trails for hiking, biking, and more. Explore these top five hiking trails west of Centennial.
Best Views - Medicine Bow Peak Hike
The stunning view from the top of Medicine Bow Peak (photo credit Anne Schriner)
One of the best reasons to hike is to get up close and personal with nature in a way that you just cannot do from your car. This includes wildlife and plants, of course, but what would a hike be without a beautiful view? You absolutely cannot beat the views from Medicine Bow Peak at an elevation of 12,018 feet it is the highest point in southern Wyoming. Standing on the summit of Medicine Bow Peak one can see the stunning vistas of the Snowy Range Mountains, Laramie Peak to the northeast, and the towering heights of the front range of the Colorado Rocky Mountains to the south.
There are three routes that lead to the top of Medicine Bow Peak. Medicine Bow Peak Trail is the shortest route, but it is also the steepest. To access this trailhead, follow Highway 130 west from Centennial, and turn right on Forest Service Road 346. There is parking at the Lewis Lake Picnic Area.
Best for Kids - Lake Marie Trail
Exploring off the trail at Lake Marie (photo credit Leah Veinbergs)
Hiking with small children is a challenge, as any parent knows. Their little legs get tired, they want to stop to explore every 10 steps, and they are never far from a possible meltdown. Hiking in the area around Lake Marie is a great way to introduce kids to hiking without losing your sanity in the process. The Lake Marie Trail is a partially paved path with close proximity to Hwy 130. It begins at Mirror Lake Picnic and Fishing Site and affords hikers access to Lake Marie and stunning views of Medicine Bow Peak and many photo opportunities. It is a wonderful hike to do with kids because it is short and easy, and there are many opportunities to explore along the shore of Lake Marie. Just across Hwy 130 is the Lake Marie Falls Trail which can be added on for a bit of an additional challenge and views of Lake Marie Falls
The West Lake Marie Trailhead parking area is located just off Hwy 130. Park at the Mirror Lake Parking and Picnic Area (slightly to the northeast) if you want to hike the West Lake Marie Trail and then the Lake Marie Falls Trail. If you only want to hike one or the other, park at the Lake Marie Trailhead.
Best Interpretive — Miner’s Cabin Loop
The remnants of Miner's Cabin (photo credit Elizabeth Williams)
The Miner’s Cabin Loop is a short interpretive trail that is less than 1 mile. There are interpretive signs about the history, flora, and fauna of the area. The loop takes hikers to an old miner’s cabin and the remnants of the Red Mask Mine. This is a wonderful, short hike for those who appreciate some history with their nature. The rustic old log cabin is steeped in the rich mining history of the region. Here you can experience a glimpse into the rugged history of life long ago.
To access the trail park at the Miner’s Cabin Trailhead just off Hwy 130 (just past the Libby Flats Observation Site), and follow the signs.
Best Mountain Biking – Libby Flats Loop
A view of the Libby Flats area (photo credit Leah Veinbergs)
For those who prefer to add some wheels to your mountain adventures, mountain biking in the Snowies is a great option. Whether you are a beginner who prefers to stick to well-traveled and level roads or an experienced rider who wants the thrill of a technically difficult singletrack, there is a trail for you. Most of the Forest Service roads and many of the hiking trails are wonderful places to mountain bike as well. The Libby Flats Loop is a particularly popular route due to its accessibility, variety of terrain, and abundance of views.
The 22.1-mile track begins at the Centennial Visitor Center where there is plenty of parking. Take Ehlin Road (FR 338) to Jim Creek Road (FR 343). Go right toward Libby Flats/ Nelson Park. From Jim Creek Road take another right onto Libby Flats (FR 336), another right on Bear Lake Road (FR 396), and then get on the singletrack Libby Creek Trail. From Libby Creek Trail, head right on Barber Lake Trail/ Barber Lake Road and back to Hwy 130. Go right on Hwy 130 to the Snowy Range Visitor Center. More details about this route can be found here.
Best Wildlife Viewing – Little Laramie Trail System
A family of moose in the area near the Little Laramie Trailhead (photo credit Leah Veinbergs)
Imagine walking along a quiet trail, with only the sounds of the mountain birds and the wind. Suddenly, a rustle in the brush draws your attention to a family of deer just before they dart away. Hikers may see wildlife just about anywhere in the Snowy Range. Deer, elk, moose, foxes, and more are prolific. There are also many opportunities for birding. The Little Laramie Trail System is a great place to see wildlife—particularly deer and moose. The area is frequented by hunters in the fall as well.
To access the Little Laramie Trail System, park at the Little Laramie Trailhead, off of Hwy 130, near Sand Lake Road.
Of course, these are only a small fraction of the gorgeous trails in the Centennial area and an even smaller fraction of the hiking trails in the entire Laramie area. To find more information and see maps of the trails visit the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest Homepage or check out the helpful U.S. Forest Service Interactive Map. Take advantage of the beautiful weather and get out there to explore the trails.
You may also enjoy: Best Places to Stay in the Snowy Range Mountains, Best Places for Viewing Wildlife in the Laramie Area, Top 5 Scenic Overlooks, Top 5 Mountain Bike Trails in Laramie, Wyoming, How to Spend a Summer Weekend in Centennial, and Top 5 Tips for Hiking with Kids in the Laramie Area.