Snowy Range Mountains
The Snowy Range Mountains are a true gem of southeastern Wyoming. Shaped by a rich glacial history, the high alpine scenery of this range is stunning and boasts over 100 pristine lakes amidst a backdrop of looming quartzite peaks. The months of July and August bring a gorgeous array of wildflowers, and wildlife sightings are not uncommon and may include critters such as pica, marmots, foxes, moose, and, less frequently but still prevalent, black bears, and mountain lions.
The “Snowies” lie just 35 miles west of Laramie in the Medicine Bow National Forest. Access to campgrounds, picnic sites, observation points, and hiking trails are plentiful, and high alpine lake recreation such as trout fishing, paddle boarding, or kayaking are popular attractions. The Snowies are excellent for those looking to try out new activities on relatively easy hiking terrain that is well-signed and supported by pronounced landmark navigation. More experienced outdoor enthusiasts and those looking for more of a challenge won’t be disappointed, either.
Accessing the peak area of the Snowies is relatively easy thanks to the Snowy Range Scenic Byway that cuts through the forest. If you are traveling on I-80 through southeastern Wyoming, you can reach this scenic drive by exiting from the west at Walcott Junction, 20 miles east of Rawlins (follow signs for Saratoga). Or, if accessing the byway from Laramie, you’ll take Exit 311 for Snowy Range Road. The byway does have a short season with the highest part of the highway sitting at just under 11,000 feet above sea level. The route is cleared of the snowpack at the end of May and closes back up by mid-November.
Click here for our Snowy Range Scenic Byway brochure. For maps and guides stop into the Laramie Area Visitor Center or the Laramie Ranger District. Visit recreation.gov to make reservations or find out more details about the available facilities.