6 Tips For A Successful Hiking & Backpacking Trip In Wyoming

by Dani Harrington, photos courtesy of Brian Harrington

Although I went on several backpacking trips during my childhood, as an adult my backpacking experience has been limited to purchasing a backpack and then letting it collect dust in the closet. This is mainly because I, like many people, have been somewhat intimidated by the prospect of planning a backpacking trip. Even if you are well-versed in the areas of hiking and camping, backpacking can feel like something only the super-duper outdoorsy do. In reality, the activity is much more accessible than you might think.

For the experienced and inexperienced alike, the outdoors surrounding Laramie, Wyoming offer an abundance of backpacking opportunities. The Medicine Bow National Forest sits in close proximity to the town of Laramie and includes the Snowy Range Mountains to the west and a variety of recreation areas to the east.

Once I resolved to finally get my sad, never-used backpack out of the closet and into the mountains, the first step my husband and I took in the planning process was to stop by Basecamp in Laramie. The outdoor gear shop’s slogan is literally “We Help You Get Outside,” so it seemed like a logical place to start. Because of a prolonged and especially snowy spring this year, the owner suggested that we steer clear of the Snowy Range (unless we wanted to cross country ski) and instead consider Blair-Wallis for our excursion. Blair-Wallis is located about 25 miles to the east of Laramie in the Medicine Bow National Forest. It sits lower in elevation than the Snowy Range, making it a perfect option for the first weekend of July following a late-onset summer.

Discover these 6 Tips for planning a successful adventure

Based on our experience, below are 6 Tips for planning and executing a successful hiking and backpacking trip in Wyoming, particularly if it’s your first outing:

2. Plan Your Route

Identify which trail(s) you want to explore and consider choosing a shorter, closer route for your first outing. You may be surprised by how heavy your pack can start to feel when your body isn’t used to lugging around such weight, even if you’ve done your due diligence to pack only the essentials.

3. Pack Extra Food And Water

For hiking and backpacking alike, my personal rule is to first pack the amount of food and water I think I’ll need, then pack extra. These items (especially water) are truly essential and are not the place to skimp. A quick google search will help you double-check your list of other essentials to pack, such as a tent, sleeping bag, sunscreen, flashlight, etc.

5. Plan for All Seasons

This is good advice for exploring the mountains in general, and it’s especially good advice for backpacking and hiking in Wyoming. Wyomingites often joke that you can enjoy all four seasons in a day here, and at high elevations, the temperature can change drastically from day to night. I started off the hike in a tank top and rolled up pants, sweating generously, but by nightfall, I was feeling cozy in a down coat and beanie, huddled next to a fire.

Are you feeling more confident and prepared after this post and considering giving hiking and backpacking a try this summer? Visit us in Laramie whether you’re a first-timer or a veteran of the trails and you’re sure to have an experience with memories you won’t soon forget. You can also find more planning information here.

Note: Brian and Dani Harrington are independent writers contracted by Visit Laramie. Views and opinions expressed here are their own and do not reflect those of the Albany County Tourism Board.

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