Hike Your Way through Laramie, Wyoming
Deep glacial lakes, alpine meadows carpeted in wildflowers, the awe-inspiring peaks of the Snowy Range, historical sites, wildlife, and great food to keep you going. All in Laramie, Wyoming.
Whether you’re headed west to Yellowstone or north to Montana, if you’re traveling through Wyoming, there’s nowhere better to rest your head than Laramie—and find some adventure along the way! Bordered by soaring peaks and brimming with western history, there’s plenty to discover in the Laramie area.
This itinerary has been created in partnership with Visit USA Parks.
Day One: Hike the Turtle Rock Trail
On your way into Laramie, take a quick detour off I-80 to check out Vedauwoo Recreation Area. Vedauwoo (pronounced VEE-duh-voo) might be one of Wyoming’s most underrated recreation destinations. A network of trails weaves through the park, and has opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, ATVing, horseback riding, climbing, and camping – and that’s just during the summer!
Vedauwoo is home to countless towering rock formations, including Turtle Rock. The Turtle Rock Trail is a quick-yet-scenic day hike. The 3-mile loop is the perfect opportunity to stretch your legs on a road trip. The trail encircles Turtle Rock, winding in and out of the woods around the giant granite formations, which are 1.4 billion-year-old rocks! Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife and wildflowers along the way. There are plenty of opportunities to explore in Vedauwoo – you could easily fill a whole day exploring the area.
After you’re finished hiking, find a spot for a quick snack on the sun-warmed rocks. Pack up and jump back in the car for the 20-minute ride to Laramie. If you’re camping, it’s worth noting that there are black bears in the area, so be sure to follow bear-safe food storage.
You’ll find plenty of options to rest your head around town – everything from cozy cabins and B&Bs to Dude Ranches and camping. If you’re looking for a bite to eat, follow your cravings. Laramie has dozens of diverse restaurant offerings, including western-inspired American dishes, Japanese, Thai, Italian, and more!
Day Two: Find Inspiration on Medicine Bow Peak
An exciting day of hiking awaits, but first, coffee! Stop into J’s Prairie Rose for a delicious breakfast burrito and a cup of joe. Before you hit the road for the day, stop in Laramie’s Basecamp for anything that might be missing from your backpack. For a unique Laramie experience, swing by Atmosphere Mountainworks and check out their selection of one-of-a-kind, handcrafted apparel and gear. Once you’re geared up, grab some snacks, fill up your water bottles, and get ready to hit the trail!
Medicine Bow Peak lies in the heart of the Snowy Range, about 45 minutes west of Laramie via the Snowy Range Scenic Byway. This hike is one of the most-loved in the area not only for its stunning scenery but also for its notoriety as the highest point in Southern Wyoming! The Peak tops out just above 12,000 feet with panoramic views of the Snowy Range and surrounding valleys waiting at the summit.
The most popular route to the summit is the Lake Marie loop, measuring in at about 7 miles. The trail can be hiked both clockwise and counterclockwise, but we recommend clockwise for the best views. If you’re feeling ambitious, start the trail from Lewis Lake. The steep trek to the summit climbs 1,200 feet of elevation in just 1.6 miles! While you hike, be on the lookout for marmots and pika – charismatic little critters that live amongst the rocks in the high alpine.
If you’re visiting later in the summer, consider picking up a wildflower guidebook in town. The trails in the Snowy Range are flanked by meadows bursting with wildflowers – it’s easy to get distracted by their beauty!
The Snowy Range Scenic Byway
If you’ve got more time in the area, here are a few more trails to consider along the scenic byway:
- Browns Peak Loop, 12.2 Miles (a great backpacking option!)
- South Gap, North Gap, and Cutthroat Lakes Trail, 7.1 Miles
- Lookout Lakes Trail, 5 Miles
When it’s time to hit the road, continue westward along the Snowy Range Scenic Byway to get back to I-80. Take your time and savor the scenic drive – it’s only open a few months a year, from late May to mid-November. The winding drive will take you past deep glacial lakes, alpine meadows carpeted in wildflowers, and the awe-inspiring peaks of the Snowy Range, along with a number of historical sites. Keep your eyes peeled for animals as you drive. You might see red foxes, moose, mule deer, and elk as a form of “goodbye!”