Summer in Albany County means crystal-clear blue skies, gorgeous sunshine, and amazing summer water activities for the whole family. Here are some of the great ways to beat the heat and have fun in the Laramie area.
Paddleboarding on Mirror Lake in the Snowy Range
Paddle sports near Laramie are a fan favorite, with over 100 natural alpine lakes in the Snowy Range, miles of rushing water on the Big Laramie River, and scenic reservoirs including Curt Gowdy State Park.
Hiking into a remote lake with a kayak or paddleboard is its own magical experience. Envision yourself paddling in solitude beneath Medicine Bow Peak, fishing by canoe, or dipping your toes in crystal clear alpine waters.
If you seek a rush of adrenaline, the Big Laramie River runs highest in May, then offers a leisurely paddle through the rest of the summer season. The nearby North Platte River on the west side of the Snowy Range offers premier whitewater rafting in the high run months, just north of the Colorado border. Check out paddling the Big Laramie in spring with our 360 virtual reality video.
Laramie's Paddle House offers raft, paddleboard, and kayak rentals along with safety equipment, paddles, pumps, insider recommendations, and everything you'll need for a great day on the water.
Paddleboarding Lakes: North Crow Reservoir, Lake Hattie, Granite Reservoir Causeway
Canoeing Lakes: Hanging Lake, Lake Owen, Libby Lake, Lewis Lake, Rob Roy Reservoir
Kayaking Spots: Big Laramie River between Jelm and Woodslanding, North Platte River, North Crow Reservoir
Inflatable Kayaks at North Crow Reservoir
Check the weather forecast for windy and gusty conditions and make the call that is best for you and your ability level. If you can, start your trip paddling into the wind so that when you are tired and need to head back, the wind is at your back. If conditions get windy while out on the open water, get to your knees and start paddling back immediately since it will take much longer. Make sure to keep your paddle board or kayak pointing straight into the wind to avoid a wind gust catching the long side of your craft and turning you around. If it is impossible to make headway against the wind, paddle with the wind to the closest shore so that you can paddle back along the shore to safety, or walk if needed. If there is lightning, paddle with the wind to the closest shore and wait until conditions are safe again.
If the forecast shows likely wind or storms approaching soon, paddle around close to shore so you can get out quickly if need be. Paddling close to shore can be a great way to see wildlife.
Make sure to always wear a personal flotation device and/or wear your SUP leash in case you tip and the wind pushes your kayak/SUP away from you.
What says summer more than splashing into a nice cool pool or waterslide? Many Laramie hotels offer a pool, but if your lodging does not have one, The Laramie Parks and Recreation Department maintains three terrific locations to splash, swim, and cool off. The Laramie Recreation Center provides three pools, including an indoor lap pool, an outdoor pool, and an indoor pool with waterslides and a lazy river. The Recreation Center is available for a day-use fee. Washington Park in the heart of Laramie has a free wading pool open in the summer months with a lifeguard. For a little lifeguard-less fun, Undine Park Splash Pad brings tots a carefree place to cool down.
If you're looking for a spot on the river, Optimist Park along the Laramie River Greenbelt has two rock-laden swimming areas for taking a dip.
There is nothing quite like zipping over the waves in a motorboat. For those looking to ride behind a boat, our recommendations would be Granite Reservoir in Curt Gowdy State Park, Lake Hattie, or if you pack a wetsuit, Rob Roy Reservoir. Many more lakes allow motorboating for anglers, but waterskiing, wakeboarding, and tubing enthusiasts will be most satisfied with the largest three.
For anglers with a motorboat, also take a stop at Lake Owen, Twin Buttes Reservoir, Gelatt Lake, Meeboer Lake, Diamond Lake, Alsop Lake, Wheatland 3, and Crystal Reservoir in Curt Gowdy State Park for boat ramps on lakes that allow combustion motors. Pay attention to restriction signage wherever you are trying to drop in.
Always wear your personal flotation device and watch for surprise changes in the weather and wind. Share your plan and location with others before you head out. Luckily afternoon storms in Wyoming pass quickly, and you can get back out on the water in no time. Give 30 minutes after thunder before resuming activity on the water.
Watercraft Inspection Requirements
Watercraft regulations exist to protect Wyoming's wild waters. Be sure to wash and fully dry your equipment, boards, and gear between each body of water. Any watercraft transported into Wyoming between March 1st and November 30th must undergo authorized inspection prior to launch. Any watercraft that has been in water known to host zebra or quagga mussels within the last 30 days must undergo authorized inspection prior to launch EVERY month of the year.