Located just three hours north of Denver, this rocky playground is a quick escape for adventure, packed with world-class rock climbing, biking and hiking
The closest dining options are in Laramie, an easy 25-minute drive away. Laramie’s downtown boasts a number of mom-and-pop establishments, including fresh, eclectic fare at Jeffrey’s Bistro (jeffreysbistro.com). For veggie-friendly food that will also please non-vegetarians, try Sweet Melissa’s Café (307-742-9607). Quick breakfast and a caffeine fix come amidst towering shelves of books at the cozy Night Heron Bookstore and Coffeehouse (nightheronbooks.com). For a true local experience, grab drinks and people watch at The Buckhorn (307-742-3554), an historic cowboy bar decked out with everything from odd taxidermy to war memorabilia. Look for the bullet hole in the bar mirror and the two-headed calf.
Camping is plentiful around Happy Jack Recreation Area, Vedauwoo and Curt Gowdy State Park, all located 20-30 minutes from Laramie. Around Vedauwoo, you can also find dispersed camping off the side of the road. In Laramie, a number of budget hotel options are also available at very reasonable prices.
Vedauwoo, with its distinctive granite formations bubbling out of the earth, is a memorable rock climbing destination. The area is best known for its off-width climbing, featuring large, challenging routes. Those seeking more traditional climbs will also enjoy Vedauwoo’s wide selection of sport and crack routes, as well as bouldering areas (be sure to bring bug spray). Mountain bikers can ride for hours at either Happy Jack or Curt Gowdy State Park, where the singletrack varies between enjoyably easy to frustratingly technical. Still, there’s something for every rider here, and the views of the nearby reservoir and the high plains are unparalleled. We suggest the IMBA Epic route, Stone Temple Loop for an intermediate ride, and Mo’ Rocka if you’ve got some serious skills. For directions, trail conditions, maps and bike service, stop by The Pedal House (pedalhouse.com) in Laramie. For a fun day hike, try Box Canyon Trail, which offers scrambling, room to explore and stunning views from the top of Glen Dome.