Hiking Vedauwoo

Wyoming’s windswept prairie seems an unlikely place for outdoor recreation. Interstate 80 between Laramie and Cheyenne is the kind of road where you want to set your cruise control well over the speed limit and drive as quickly as you can to get some place a little bit more scenic and a lot less windy.

Vedauwoo

But just sixteen miles east of Laramie a remarkable pile of gigantic Sherman Granite boulders rise out of the desolate prairie. The rock formations, which geologists believe are over 1.4 billion years old form a place known as Vedauwoo.

Vedauwoo is a variation of the Arapaho word, “bitto’o’wu,” meaning “earthborn” which has evolved into “Land of the Earthborn Spirit.” It is believed that Vedauwoo was a sacred place to the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Sioux, Shoshone and Ute tribes who once roamed the region. Young warriors would seek visions and challenge themselves with various coming of age rituals at Vedauwoo.

Today, Vedauwoo is a modern day climbing mecca. It’s the kind of place that attracts climbers from all over the world, each coming to conquer it’s mysterious rock formations.

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While Vedauwoo is well known for it’s epic wide crack climbing, it is known to a much lesser extent as a hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding destination.

Vedauwoo offers over twenty miles of trails that navigate their way around mighty granite formations, many of which are precariously perched on top of one another. The most popular trail is Turtle Rock Trail but there are miles of stock trails, game trails and old roads to explore. Each trail navigates it’s way around the mighty granite boulders and through dense pine and aspen forests.

Trails at Vedauwoo range in elevation from 7,840-8,420 feet and cover a wide variety of terrain, from easy flat sections to steeper more technical climbs. While hiking at Vedauwoo it’s common to see wildlife, especially early in the morning or in the evening. The area is home to deer, moose, elk, coyotes, beavers, badgers, antelope, and mountain lions.

Vedauwoo is the kind of place that is magical and beautiful even to us “locals.”At Vedauwoo aspen tree’s constantly sway in the breeze, light dances off the boulders and crevices hide deep, dark shadows. It’s a remarkable oasis of beauty just minutes from a busy interstate.

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To get there:

From Laramie, WY, head south on  I-80. Take exit 329 for Vedauwoo Rd. In less than a quarter mile, turn left onto Forest Service Rd 700/Vedauwoo Glen Rd. Follow Vedauwoo Glen Rd for 1.2 miles. Turn left onto US Forst Service Rd 720 for less than a mile.  Turn left to stay on US Forst Service Rd 720.

 

 

 

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About the author

Rebecca Walsh is a native of Bozeman, Montana where she grew up hiking, fishing, mountain biking and competing in cross-country skiing and biathlon. Rebecca served in the Army for 7 1/2 years before trading her combat boots in for hiking boots and a slobbery kid in a baby carrier. Rebecca lives in Laramie, Wyoming and blogs about trails in Southeastern Wyoming and Northern Colorado at http://www.justtrails.com

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